Vampire bats are a pretty scary concept. Bats that feed on the blood of mammals? No, thank you. That’s a bit too Dracula for our taste. Doesn’t help that they hunt in the dark and live in desolate, creepy caves.
Well, it’s a very real reality, one that comes with not one, but three variations of the bat. The common vampire bat, the white-winged vampire bat, and the hairy-legged vampire bat. The latter two are thought to only feed on the blood of birds, while the first is a bit more lecherous. The common vampire bat feeds on the blood of mammals, including humans.
Now another species of vampire bat is sucking on us. Researchers, headed by Enrico Bernard from the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil have discovered that the hairy-legged vampire bat has a taste for the two-legged. When scientists studied these bats located in the North-East region of the country, they found something odd.
Per an article by Science Alert: “Genetic analysis of 15 faecal samples contained bird DNA as expected, but 3 of those samples contained a mixture of human and bird DNA – evidence that these particular individuals had been feeding on both.”
This occurrence is strange since that particular species of the bat should find human blood impossible to digest. They simply didn’t evolve to eat it. Their bodies are more adept to eat fat-rich avian blood.
The reason behind this seemingly miraculous change is thought to be our fault, the researchers say. Populations are moving further into the bat’s habitat and disrupting their feeding habits.
Yet another reason why we are never going outside again.
Loaded staff writer Danielle De La Bastide has lived all over the planet and written for BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog as well as print publications throughout the Caribbean.