Close-up of a vampire bat showing teeth

Common vampire bat

Common vampire bats need to feed on blood almost daily to avoid starvation. They are are not the fearsome, blood-sucking creatures portrayed in the movies, however, but rather ordinary-looking, medium-sized bats with a highly evolved feeding method. They don't actually suck blood, but lap it up from cuts made by their razor-sharp incisors. A chemical in the saliva stops the victim's blood clotting and numbs the wound. Vampire bats live in large colonies in Central and South America where they feed mostly from the abundant livestock.

Scientific name: Desmodus rotundus

Rank: Species

Common names:

Vampire bat

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The Common vampire bat can be found in a number of locations including: Amazon Rainforest, South America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Common vampire bat distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Stable

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Mammals
  5. Bats
  6. Phyllostomidae
  7. Desmodus
  8. Common vampire bat

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