Vampire Bat Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Common Vampire Bat

Scientific Name:

Desmodus rotundus

Wild Status:

Least Concern


Warm & Humid climates, tropical/subtropical woodlands


Various countries across South & Central America, and Mexico


Trees & Caves

Life Span:

9-12 years


Roughly 3-4 inches long with a 7 inch wingspan

Cool Facts:

  • Vampire Bats practice hematophagy, meaning they primarily feed on the blood of livestock.
  • The Common Vampire Bat feeds primarily on mammal blood, while the other two species of vampire bat primarily feed on birds.
  • These bats participate in mutual grooming - two bats will groom each other together, often strengthening their social bonds, and sharing food with those they groom.
  • Females give birth to only one baby during each pregnancy.
  • Vampire Bats tend to be the most dominant at roosting sites, and have been known to roost with 45 other species.
  • The special properties of Vampire Bat saliva have been found to have medicinal purposes. One drug was created using this saliva to help increase bloodflow in stroke patients.


The Common Vampire Bat is an animal many are familiar with, often fearing because of their portrayal in media. Like any wild animal, these bats should not be handled, and approached with caution. However, much of their fear comes from myth. These bats are very cooperative with each other, with food sharing and mutual grooming being a very common trait. They have a widespread distribution and can roost in a variety of places from trees and caves, to abandoned buildings and mines. The Common Vampire Bat does practice hematophagy, so they will feed on the blood of livestock at night. Combined with the ability to carry rabies, these animals are often considered pests for farmers and rural areas.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Chiroptera Family: Phyllostomidae Genus: Desmodus Species: D. rotundus

Conservation & Helping:

The Common Vampire Bat is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. These bats can tolerate a variety of habitats and are distributed over a fairly broad area.

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