Vampire Bats :
Vampire: The first thing that pops in mind as soon as you hear this word is the cold-blooded killer, the nightmare of children – Count Dracula. Of course, this bloodsucker is a work of fiction, however, we do have the vampires of the real world; the Vampire bats.
But these bloodthirsty creatures aren’t as scary-looking as Count Dracula, they are the innocent-looking scouts of the night sky searching for their victims to quench their thirst for blood.
Vampire bats are found in warmer regions of central and South America, living in deep dark places like abandoned buildings, caves, hollow trees, and old wells.
Image credit: Flickr/Josh More
They venture out from their hideouts only when it’s completely dark in search of their blood-filled prey to satisfy their thirst.
Their prime targets are sleeping mammals and birds. Vampire bats once locating their prey stealthily approach and find the sweet spot to gnaw a hole and feast on its victim’s gushing blood.
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Recently scientists have discovered a new feeding behavior of vampire bats. These bloodthirsty creatures happily share blood with their friends. Usually, in most creatures, fights are common over food.
Vampire bats while roosting form a close bond with each other through hanging out together, grooming and sharing regurgitated blood.
But scientists are skeptical whether these long-term social bonds were formed just within the family groups or also outside.
“They’re flying around out there, but we didn’t know if they were still interacting with each other,” said Gerald Carter, an evolutionary biologist at Ohio State University, Columbus.
To find an answer to this, the team conducted an experiment. Sensor chips were attached to source 50 bats in Tolé, Panama to record the social behavior when not roosting and were searching for food and found that Vampire bats from the same group rarely left the roost together, proving that they don’t go foraging for food in a group.
However, the bats from the same group met more constantly than meeting with strangers, and their hang-outs lasted longer. “These are more or less haphazard encounters,” said carter.
Most of the time, they search alone, but whenever they encounter a bud on the same victim, instead of starting a fight or flying away to find a new food source, they go into the same wound to fill their tummies.
The research report was published in PLOS Biology.
Scientists stated that they are excited to learn and discover new things about these night-dwellers.