Although many cultures have stories about them, vampire bats have only recently become an integral part of the traditional vampire lore. Indeed, vampire bats were only integrated into vampire folklore when they were discovered on the South American mainland in the 16th century. Although there are no vampire bats in Europe, bats and owls have long been associated with the supernatural and omens, although mainly because of their nocturnal habits, and in modern English heraldic tradition, a bat means "Awareness of the powers of darkness and chaos".
The three species of actual vampire bats are all endemic to Latin America, and there is no evidence to suggest that they had any Old World relatives within human memory. It is therefore impossible that the folkloric vampire represents a distorted presentation or memory of the vampire bat. The bats were named after the folkloric vampire rather than vice versa; the Oxford English Dictionary records their folkloric use in English from 1734 and the zoological not until 1774. Although the vampire bat's bite is usually not harmful to a person, the bat has been known to actively feed on humans and large prey such as cattle and often leave the trademark, two-prong bite mark on its victim's skin.
The literary Dracula transforms into a bat several times in the novel, and vampire bats themselves are mentioned twice in it. The 1927 stage production of Dracula followed the novel in having Dracula turn into a bat, as did the film, where Béla Lugosi would transform into a bat. The bat transformation scene would again be used by Lon Chaney Jr. in 1943's Son of Dracula.
Other articles related to "vampire bats, bats, bat, vampire bat":
... Common vampire bats display a high amount of cooperative behavior ... Bats display reciprocal altruism by sharing food when a bat is unsuccessful in feeding it solicits food from a roost-mate who regurgitates blood to feed its neighbor ... This behavior likely evolved to combat starvation, as a bat cannot survive more than three nights without feeding ...
... The common vampire bat feeds primarily on mammalian blood, particularly that of livestock such as cattle and horses ... Vampire bats feed on wild prey like the tapir, but seem to prefer domesticated animals, and favor horses over cattle when given the choice ... Vampire bats hunt at night, using echolocation and olfaction to track down prey ...
... The common vampire bat is short-haired, with silver-gray fur on its undersides, sharply demarcated from the darker fur on its back ... The bat averages about 9 cm (3.5 in) long with a wingspan of 18 cm (7 in) ... It has the fewest teeth among bats ...
... Vampire bats, which primarily feed on livestock or other vertebrates, must obtain a meal every 48–72 hours or face starvation ... An altruistic bat may refuse to regurgitate blood for another bat that has not given blood to others in the past ...
Famous quotes containing the words bats and/or vampire:
“Bats have no bankers and they do not drink
and cannot be arrested and pay no tax
and, in general, bats have it made.”
—John Berryman (19141972)
“If Ive killed one man, Ive killed two
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.”
—Sylvia Plath (19321963)