Vampire bats sound scary, but they hardly alone: There are a surprising collection of critters on United States soil and surf that drink blood.
U.S. and Canadian agencies are joining forces to battle sea monsters — lampreys, which have infested the Great Lakes. The fight against these blood-sucking beasts has cost at least $400 million, the Weather Channel reported recently.
Of all the vampire animals, the vampire bat is probably the most well known. Bats are very often associated with vampire lore, though out of about 1,000 species of bats, only three suck blood. Two of these three prey mostly on birds, but the common vampire bat expands its prey to livestock and even humans.
Though the bite is not dangerous, the bat may be a carrier of rabies, which can pose a serious health problem — even death.
Source: Pascual Soriano
They lurk in the dark by day and emerge to suck blood by night. This may sound terrifying, but it’s an actually description of the behavior of the bedbug. Though they are not known to be harmful, their bites can be painful — and an infestation is easy to get and hard to get rid of.
Male mosquitos stick to a vegan and nectar-based diet. Female mosquitos drink blood. Though mosquitoes themselves are not actually dangerous, they are the cause of more human deaths than any other animal, carrying and transmitting a number of diseases such as yellow fever, malaria and West Nile virus.
Source: Nikon Small World
The leech’s blood-sucking lifestyle has been used by humans in medicine. The use of leeches was once very popular, though they fell out of use during the 1800s along with blood-letting. A leech bite can reduce clotting and relieve pressure because of the anticoagulants it injects when it bites. In India, many still believe they remove tainted blood from the body.
The vampire finch — seen here in frame from a National Geographic video — is one of the strange species of the Galapagos Islands. Most finch species eat seeds and migrate to more hospitable climates in the winter months. TWhe vampire finch does not migrate, rather it supplements its diet with blood. Their main prey are seabirds on whose backs they perch and peck at to gain access to their blood.
The name may sound sweet, but these bugs are aggressive. They attack while you sleep, biting peoples faces to gain access to blood. Their bites can cause allergic reactions that may lead to breathing difficulties and even seizures. They also carry the parasite that causes Chagas disease.
Source: Arizona Department of Health Services
Ticks may be small, but that doesn’t stop them from getting their fill of blood. These creatures are capable of drinking up to 600 times their body weight in blood because of their outer shell, which stretches as they drink.
With a Latin name that literally translates as “vampire squid from hell” (that’s (Vampyroteuthis infernalis, of course) you might expect this creature to be highly dangerous. But the vampire squid does not actually suck blood, rather it gets its name for its cape-like webbing that it uses as a shield.
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Vampires have long been a part of our legends — and with stories like Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries, they’ve made a new popular surge into our culture. Fortunately, they aren’t among the real blood-sucking creatures we have to worry about when we turn out the lights at night. Some of us will worry regardless.
Lampreys spend most of their lives as harmless larvae; it can take them seven years to mature. But when they do become adults they become vicious, successful hunters. Lampreys latch on to their victims with hook-like teeth and drinks their blood as it swims. Lampreys tend to only terrorize their underwater homes, but will attack humans if starved, though this is rare.