MERLIN TUTTLE / BAT CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MERLIN TUTTLE / BAT CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) in flight. This bat inhabits forests and scrubland from Mexico to southern South America. It feeds only on blood. To feed, it lands near its victim (usually a large mammal) and gently crawls onto it. It is the only bat that can walk and run on the ground, for which it uses its large thumbs (seen at the mid- point of each wing) as a pair of limbs. Once on its victim, it pierces the skin using its sharp teeth. Its saliva contains an anticoagulant that prevents the blood from clotting, allowing it to feed for a long time. It lives in colonies in caves or hollow trees.
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