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Vampire Bat exhibit opened Oct. 18

On Oct. 18, 2014, the Toledo Zoo opened a new vampire bat exhibit at its award-winning children’s zoo, Nature’s Neighborhood.

Vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) are incorrectly notorious for their “Hollywood reputations.” Although they do drink blood – most commonly from livestock -- these small mammals rarely kill their prey, and their teeth are so sharp that prey often don’t even feel the bite.

Native to Mexico, South America, and Central America, vampire bats are remarkably adapted for this specialized feeding behavior. They rely on unusual elongated “thumbs” and heat sensors in their noses to find the best place to feed on an animal. Their powerful hind limbs help them navigate on their prey, and this even enables them to walk and run – something most other bat species cannot do. Once the meal is finished, those same powerful limbs help the bats take flight afterward.

Contrary to what movies often show, vampire bats prefer blood from cows or goats rather than humans, and they pose very little threat to people. Vampire bats are social, intelligent animals who form long-term cooperative bonds within their group, grooming each other and sharing meals.


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Revised: 10/21/14 17:04:15 -0700.




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