Image Credit to The Centre for the Conservation of Specialized Species


     The diet of the common vampire bat is really quite simple. As most would assume, the common vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus, consumes the blood of other organisms.


     As the sun begins to set and day becomes night, vampire bats prepare to leave their young behind in search for dinner. Vampire bats leave their roosts and go on the hunt to find their usual prey: cows, goats, sheep, horses, and other large mammals (Delpietro & Russo 2002). Vampire bats often manage to prey on animals that are up to ten thousand times their size ( Whether or not a vampire bat will be successful in dining on a fine mammal of its choice all begins with a stealthy approach. The animals that vampire bats look to prey on are so much larger that the wrong approach could potentially leave the vampire to become the prey instead of the predator. Vampire bats have the ability to walk, hop, and run on their adapted thumbs and hind legs making it more simple for them to sneak up on their dinner (Riskin & Hermanson 2005). Once the bat is close to the animal it uses its adapted nose leaf  (to learn more see adaptations) to detect where the blood is flowing closest to the skin and where the  blood is the warmest (Gracheva et al. 2011). Once this ideal spot has been found the vampire bat uses its front two incisors (teeth) to make a small incision in its preys skin. Once the incision is made the bat uses its tongue to lap up the oozing blood. The bat feeds for an average of twenty minutes per feeding (Belwood & Morton 1991). As the bat is lapping up the blood with its tongue the bat secretes an anticoagulant into the incision to allow the wound to bleed thoroughly without clotting. In one feeding a vampire bat can consume up to half of its body weight. This may sound like a lot but a bat only weighs an average of 1.6 ounces ( The amount of blood a vampire bat takes from its prey usually equals to be about a tablespoon which is not enough to harm the animal (Breidenstein 1982). Diseases the bats may carry and the blood loss from the incision  is what can cause harm and possible death in a vampire bat’s prey. To learn more about the vampire bats relationship with other animals click here.