Episode 44 – Vampire Bat: The Spooky Sky Rat

“And today we are talking about a dark and mysterious creature that’s the subject of frightening folklore and spooky stories. But more on the later.”

Creeping quietly through the night

A vampire finds its hearts delight

Breathing softly in its sleep

The prey knows not what’s in the deep

With slash and prick, the wound is cut

The sanguine morsel in its gut

Is not enough to satisfy

This parasite, the rat that flies

But those who trade in scarlet know

That darkness causes fear to grow

And rest extracts a heavy fee

In Life, Death, and Taxonomy


Fast Talkin by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100590

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  • The vampire bat is a small short-furred bat with big ears and a impetuous attitude.
  • Their fur is brown and they have grey underbellies.
  • Their signature aquiline features inspired the facial features of Bram Stoker’s dracula.
    • The have short conical faces with snubbed noses that turn up like a pig.
    • Their ears are long and stand straight up.
    • Their small black beady eyes are less formidable then their ears when it comes to making their way through the darkness, guided toward a beating heart.
    • Though the have relatively good eyesight.

Measure Up

Wingspan – 18 cm (7 in) – How many vamp bat wingspans go into the height of Michael Keaton (5’9” or 175.2 cm)? Hint: Michael Keaton turned down $15 million to play the world’s broodiest detective in Batman 3 because he thought the story “just was awful.” Answer: 9.7 bats

Hunting range –  5 to 8 km (3.1 to 5.0 mi) from their roost – 7 km (4.3 miles) – How many vamp bat ranges go into Singapore Airlines Flights 22/21, the record longest scheduled commercial flight by great circle distance. (15,344 kilometers; 9,534 mi)? Hint: This flight happened 12 days ago. Answer: 2,192 bat flights

Fast Facts

They are nocturnal and spend most of the day sleeping in caves, trees, abandoned buildings, wells, and mines. They are social animals and live in colonies. Male bats will fight for and guard roosting sites that attract females. Top females will get the best roosting sites. So the elites get eliter. Females give birth once a year. Females raise young and only leave to hunt. Babies will join mom when they are six months old.

Bats will share food by regurgitation.They share with family members and friends (other bats they are associated with). They also groom each other and may share food in exchange for grooming. Some have suggested that they examine each other belly size to decide if their grooming partner could use some of their food.

Most of the rabies cases in the U.S. are caused by bat bites. However, only 6% of bats that are caught (usually because they are sick) have rabies.


Long before the vampire bat was taxonomize in 1810, bats were deeply entrenched in folklore as spiritual omens. Along with owls, their nocturnal natures gave them a mysterious quality that lent itself to tall tales and scary stories. They weren’t specifically attached to vampires until the discovery of the vampire bat. Bram stoker was the first to have vampires drain life in a way that’s similar to a vampire bat. Older vampire stories had them draining life by osmosis or simply by being around them.