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10 Interesting Vampire Bats Facts

These vampire bat facts are bananas!

Beano Team
Last Updated:  November 24th 2022

Vampires may not be real, but vampire bats are! With supersonic hearing and a taste for blood, these bats are super interesting! And if you thought these vampire bat facts were spooky, check out our Halloween hub for more spine tingling stuff! And if you think vampire bats seem really cool, we've got loads more animal facts here!

1. Vampire bats come from Central and South America

Vampire bats can be found in South America, not Transylvania! They only started to be associated with vampires after the book Dracula came out in 1897

2. Vampire bats really do drink blood

Yup, vampire bats really live up to their name! They don't drink human blood though - they prefer sheep, cows and other mammals. And they don't drink nearly enough to do the animal any harm. Oh, and don't worry, they don't have vampire powers, so you won't see any vampire sheep flying around! 

3. Vampire bats feed on sick!

Ok, not exactly...but if a vampire bat is hungry and hasn't had anything for a few days, sometimes the female bats will generously reguritate blood to share with her friends. Do you fancy eating your mates half-digested dinner? No, didn't think so...

4. Vampire bats don't suck blood

Unlike Dracula, vampire bats don't suck blood out like they're using a straw - instead their fangs make a small hole and then they lap the blood up as it comes out. Aw, cute! Sort of...

5. They have amazing hearing

Like most bats, vampire bats have incredibly good hearing - much better than yours! They can even hear their victims breathing from very far away. That's pretty impressive. 

6. They are the only mammal that survives only on blood

No other mammal survives only on blood, making the vampire bat unique! Other animals like mosquitoes also drink blood, but no other mammals do it unless they have to. Vampire bats must feel very special! 

7. Vampire bats wee and drink at the same time!

Because they survive only on blood, a liquid, vampire bats need to make room in their tiny bodies for more liquid, which means getting rid of any wee thats in there. Often they can be seen weeing and drinking at the same time! Do you like the idea of having your dinner on the toilet? It would save some time!

8. They have big thumbs

Vampire bats have  hooked thumbs at the end of their wings, to help them move around when they're not flying. Their thumbs are twice as big as most bats. They use their thumbs to get off the ground as well -after a big blood meal vampire bats will be very full and heavy, so they use their thumbs to push off from the ground.

9. They can run

Bats are flying animals who don't spend much time on the ground, but vampire bats can run, when they need to. They propel themselves forward with their thumbs and then pull their legs forward to catch up, so it's a bit like running on your arms. It's pretty cool, but they probably won't win any Olympic races any time soon. 

10. They can only survive a few days without food

Vampire bats need lots of blood to keep them going, and they can't even miss more than a couple of meals or they'll die. That's why the 'sick' sharing is so important - the colony will get together and support any bat who needs extra food. Aw!