Vampire Bats Physical CharacteristicsAs many already know, vampire bats are the only bat species that feed solely on blood. That alone makes them amazing, yet there are plenty of other unique and interesting characteristics. Firstly, vampire bats are medium sized microbats. The three species reach wingspans of up to 320 to 350 mm, and weigh about 30 to 40 grams. They are larger than most of the microbats in the world, yet they are still much smaller than the macrobats of the world. This factor contributes to the misconception that bats are large and terrifying. This could never be the case, as an animal who feeds solely on blood could never be large.
Facially, it may be easy to see why the vampire bat appears to be so scary. The bat has razor sharp upper incisor teeth! These teeth also lack enamel, making it much easier for them to stay sharp. And they need to stay sharp, if the bat plans to continue to bite its prey. The vampire bat also has a heat sensor on is nose leaf. This permits them to detect where the blood flows close to the skin. The bats tongue is also pretty scary, as its saliva consists on three active ingredients that promote bleeding, one of those being an anticoagulant which counters the clotting process. The second keeps red blood cells from sticking together and the third inhibits the constriction of veins around the wound. Yeah, let’s just say this little creature packs quite a punch!
Unlike most other bats, vampire bats can walk on all fours and jump forward and back or sideways! They can even leapfrog over each other! These talents are vital to their survival, for if a sleeping victim were to wake up, the leap could save the vampire’s life. This is especially true because a vampire bat is very small compared to the cows, goats, and chickens it drinks from.
Also unlike other bats, the common vampire bat has a very long thumb. This thumb is crucial to the bats ability to take off after a feeding. Secondly, because of this, they are able to drop down from their feeding perches and take flight without launching themselves from the ground.