|VAMPIRE BAT (Desmodus rotundus)
Also unlike other bats, rotundus has a long, clawed finger (or thumb). It allows the bat to push off from the ground, with the help of strong back legs, and launch itself up to 3 feet in the air so that it can take off (many bats can’t take off from the ground). The claw also helps it hold on to animals as it feeds.
Vampire bats make their homes in warm, dry or tropical caves, buildings and tree cavities. They live in Mexico, Central and South America. They are usually social creatures, preferring to live in groups. In fact, living together can help them survive. They can’t go for more than 2 nights without eating or they will die. So, if they are new mothers and can’t get out to feed, or if they just couldn’t find food, their “friends” will sometimes share a meal, regurgitating some blood for them to eat. New mothers have been seen eating from a friend for up to 2 weeks. Although they only have one young at a time, they nurse them for several months. Females and young usually form large groups, often with a dominant male, but other males are more solitary.
In addition to heat sensing, they also have excellent eyesight – homing in on a cow from over 130 metres (430 feet) away. In the dark! And don’t forget bats’ most famous tool – echolocation. Since they fly on average about 3 feet off the ground, this sense is vital to keep them from bumping into trees, shrubs, etc.
With its wings outstretched, Vampire Bats measure up to 8 inches across, but their bodies are only about an inch wide.
Owls are one of bats’ predators – they can see just as well, or better, in the dark!