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(Desmodus rotundus)

OBC is home to about 40 Common Vampire bats. These animals are native to Central America, South America and Mexico, and yes, they do drink blood! The Common Vampire bat is a true blood feeder. They do not have a need to eat or drink anything else--they prefer blood from livestock like cows and goats rather than human blood.

At the “Bat Zone,” our Common Vampire bat colony came to us due to overpopulation at another facility. The individuals in OBC’s colony vary greatly--some are very young while our oldest individual “Barnabus” is more than 30 years old! They all need to be fed a strict diet of blood. Thankfully all of the blood that we feed our Common Vampire bats is donated to us from local meat processors. A byproduct of their industry is a food source for our animals. Talk about recycling!

Vampire bats are smart!
For their body size, vampire bats have one the largest brains among bats. The neocortex is about twice the average size of all other bats. The neocortex, which is extremely large in human beings, is the part of the brain linked to social intelligence and social complexity.

Vampire bats have complex social lives
Individual female bats form long-term cooperative social bonds, much like dolphins, elephants and primates. The Vampire bats invest in these bonds by clustering together for warmth, grooming each other and sharing food. In the wild, when a female bat fails to obtain a blood meal, a friend will regurgitate a portion of her own blood meal to feed her. This extemely generous food-sharing will occur commonly, even between genetically unrelated adult bats, which is unique outside of humans. In the wild, adult males do not share food, but in captivity, they will form social bonds and share food with each other as well.

These delicate and social animals are an important part of OBC’s mission to teach people about the amazing world of bats.

Common Vampire Bat Natural History

Help directly fund the care of our vampire bats by symbolically adopting one of our Vampire bats today! “Adopt” Me


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