PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Flying fox fruit bat. Vespertilio vampyrus. This illustration is by Heath, from the 1800 volume (Mammalia) of 'General Zoology or Systematic Natural History' by British naturalist George Shaw (1751-1813). Shaw wrote the text (in English and Latin). He was a medical doctor, a Fellow of the Royal Society, co-founder of the Linnean Society and a zoologist at the British Museum. Shaw describes the habit of bats drinking blood, but is sceptical that such a thing would happen. He points only to the certainty with which those accounts of blood letting are described by others. In fact the true vampire bat is a different species to the one drawn here which is a harmless Pteropus fruit bat. It is thought this image inspired Bram Stoker's novel 'Dracula' (1897).
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