Desmodus rotundus (dez-MOH-dus roh-TUND-us)

RANGE: Mexico to Central and South America HABITAT: Found in the tropics and subtropics where livestock densities are high. SIZE: Length: 68-98 mm (2.7-3.9 in.); weight: 30 to 35 g (1-1.2 oz.): wingspan: 32 to 35 cm (12-13 in.) There is no tail. DESCRIPTION: Front upper teeth are very sharp & blade-like. Thumbs & hind legs are long and very well developed, and are used for walking or hopping when on the ground. DIET: Blood of domesticated and wild mammals; requires 1-2 tablespoons of blood each day; without enough blood they rapidly deteriorate and can starve in 2-3 days. LIFESPAN: In captivity: up to 30+ years. REPRODUCTION: Vampires breed year round; gestation is 7 months; usually one but on rare occasions, twins are born. The young are born well developed, and their eyes are open but develop slowly compared to other bat species. Mothers begin to supplement the pup’s diet of milk with regurgitated blood in their second month of life and pups can forage for blood themselves at 4 months, they are not completely weaned at 6-9 months. ROOST: Roosts most often in small colonies, though some colonies can be up to a thousand. Within the colony, stable groups of 10-20 females (usually related) form with males competing for access. They prefer to roost in near total darkness; hollow trees and caves, crevices of abandoned buildings. Vamps will sometimes move from one daytime roost to another that is closer to their prey. SOCIAL HABITS: Very social, although some squabbles over territory occur. STATUS: Common. Numbers are increasing due to the introduction of domestic livestock, which provides easy, regular food source.