Desmodus rotundus - The Common Vampire Bat
Desmodus rotundus or the common vampire bat might be common, as in plentiful. But this bat has some pretty amazing adaptations.
There's a lot of general information on vampire bats on the
and the main
pages. So here, I'll focus on a couple of things that haven't been mentioned yet.
Some of the places you'll find this bat are in caves and mines in Central and South America.
I'm not sure if "host" is the right word to call the animals they take blood from as they don't exactly stick up a sign that says, "Hey come and feed off me!" but their hosts tend to be mammals and birds.
Unlike the other two species of vampire bat, their thumbs are long. This and their super strong back legs mean that they can propel themselves into flight after finishing their meals.
A common vampire bat weighs a maximum of 40 g and during a meal, can gain up to 50% of its body weight. By the time it's ready to take off, it'll have got rid of about half of this additional weight.
This is due to an amazingly quick digestive system in which the liquid part of the blood is turned into urine very rapidly.
Both of these adaptations equal a quick get away after feeding.
Females only have one baby (or pup) a year, in one of the two annual breeding seasons.
Baby common vampire bats spend a relatively long time with their mums (about 10 months). Maybe this is because of the complexity of being a flying, blood-feeding mammal.
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