Sunday, December 3, 2023
Contact    |    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon  
Unexplained Mysteries
You are viewing: Home > News > Nature & Environment > News story
Welcome Guest ( Login or Register )  
All ▾
Search Submit

Nature & Environment

Vampire bats now have taste for human blood

By T.K. Randall
January 13, 2017 · Comment icon 16 comments

Vampire bat skeleton showing the animal's distinctive fangs. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 Mokele
Researchers in Brazil have warned that some vampire bat populations have started targeting humans.
The infamous flying blood-sucking mammals typically only ever feed on large birds such as chickens, but now several of the bats living in Catimbau National Park in north-east Brazil have shown worrying signs of expanding their diet to include human blood as well.

The discovery was made by Enrico Bernard and colleagues from the Federal University of Pernambuco who analyzed samples of scat to determine what the bats had been eating.
Normally vampire bats are only able to process the fat of bird blood and will rather starve than attempt to feast on the high-protein blood of mammals.

The change is a significant concern as vampire bats are responsible for the spread of rabies in the region and if they are starting to attack humans then it could lead to new outbreaks.

"They are adapting to their environment and exploiting the new resources," said Bernard.

Source: New Scientist | Comments (16)

Other news and articles
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by Mr.United_Nations 7 years ago
I agree with you guys. Many years ago on Animal planet they talked about vampire bats targeting humans in old buildings or barns
Comment icon #8 Posted by freetoroam 7 years ago
I also knew about bats targeting humans, but these are bats who normally feed off birds:     and here is the reason why the bats have to change its menu:  so the humans have taken away the bat`s food, so the bats  feed off them instead....seems fair to me.     But human encroachment may be driving the species to try new blood. The park is now home to several human families and the bat’s usual prey, such as guans and tinamous, are disappearing due to deforestation and hunting.
Comment icon #9 Posted by aka CAT 7 years ago
That no testimonies of people whom have actually been bitten by bats was included seemed almost suspect in that I had to wonder about people's, perhaps, not even noticing such a thing.  So, I sought a personal account-- And to think I thought elderly people tended to sleep light and (@)(@) wake even easier than do I.    
Comment icon #10 Posted by AustinHinton 7 years ago
  On rare occasions yes they have been known to parasitize* humans. But they do not nip off the big toe. Desmodus bites are usually just small incisions. They teeth are sharp, but not "sever big toe painlessly" sharp. Vamipre Bats did not evolve to feed off of domestic cattle, before the widespread introduction of cattle, they fed primarily on forest-living herbivores. It would make sense that they would again switch to a new species of abundant mammal: us.   *In the sense of feeding directly off another organism at its expense.
Comment icon #11 Posted by glorybebe 7 years ago
From what I read humans would bring cows in to where they slept so that the bats would go after the humans.  It was not like there were clouds of bats converging on towns and attacking humans.  It was small villages that the bats figured out easier meals could be found. And I never said nip off the big toe.  They would make incisions in order to make the toe bleed.
Comment icon #12 Posted by AustinHinton 7 years ago
Well no kidding, this isn't an Asylum film.   Oh, sorry then, I must have mis-read your post. The point I was trying to make was that bats had switched prey species before, so it didn't surprise me that they have started to switch to humans.  
Comment icon #13 Posted by MWoo7 7 years ago
Nice, yeah hummers were probably not always sugar eaters / nectar .... next it will be the insides of eye balls reported at all hummmingbird feeders, my prediction for 2017.
Comment icon #14 Posted by glorybebe 7 years ago
I really think humans don't give animals enough credit.  They learn  and change their habits or tastes to what food is available.  It is just like sharks. People said that humans tasted bad to sharks. I thought that sharks would figure out an easy food source with so many humans in the oceans now.  And low and behold a documentary (can't remember which one, will try to find it) had a marine biologist state the same thing.   Animals really are more aware and able to learn, not just adapt to their surroundings.
Comment icon #15 Posted by MWoo7 7 years ago
YEah their not stupid.  People can't belief one of our dogs little blacky, tries to climb trees, if you as for show ITS ACTUALLY KIND OF SCARY , she'll stand on her hind legs and like JUMP up and down and CLACK! CLACK! SNAPSNAPSNAP and one sees tons of WHITE TEETH !  I should have filmed it, never seen a dog do anything close to that.  So, anything animals do like bats changing their feeding/FOOD LIKES really doesn't surprise me.
Comment icon #16 Posted by ChaosRose 7 years ago
Cows are much easier prey for them. I can't imagine many are trying to feed off of humans.

Please Login or Register to post a comment.

Our new book is out now!
Book cover

The Unexplained Mysteries
Book of Weird News


Take a walk on the weird side with this compilation of some of the weirdest stories ever to grace the pages of a newspaper.

Click here to learn more

We need your help!
Patreon logo

Support us on Patreon


For less than the cost of a cup of coffee, you can gain access to a wide range of exclusive perks including our popular 'Lost Ghost Stories' series.

Click here to learn more

Recent news and articles