WWW Halloween Edition: Real Vampires
In honor of the month of October, all Weird Wildlife Wednesday posts will be Halloweenish.
On the menu today is… you- because our theme is vampires.
Bats are the only flying mammals. The vampire bat is the only mammal that lives entirely off of the blood of other animals. They typically feed on livestock like cows and horses, but despite what your third-grade teacher told you to not freak you out as a kid, they have also recently been known to feed on humans. This is not typical however and is thought to be related to deforestation and habitat loss.
Actually known as the water deer, I’m not sure if this one looks cute or terrifying. The name vampire deer is a more of a nickname. These deer don’t suck blood at all; like most deer, they are vegetarian. The tusks indicate that this species is very primitive compared to most deer; tusks were a primary defensive mechanism in deer before antlers evolved.
The scientific name is Vampyroteuthis infernalis which translates to “vampire squid of hell.” They are not technically true squids, but named thus because of the webbing between their arms. The vampire from hell bit comes from their deep reddish color. With features of both octopuses and squids, this creature falls somewhere between the two groups. Interestingly enough, as the vampire squid grows, it develops a second pair of fins to replace their first, at which point the swimming method changes from jet propulsion to fin propulsion. The vampire squid also has the largest eye-to-body ratio of any known animal on earth.
Found in southern Europe, east Africa, and southeast Asia, and eastern North America, this moth has a big needle-like appendage that it uses to pierce the skin of fruits and sometimes the skin of mammals. Researchers think that this moth can change its behavior to feed on blood or plants depending on regional availability.
Image Copyright of Encyclopedia of Life
Don’t let the innocent little bird act fool you, the razor-sharp beak of this little finch is used to sometimes drink the blood of blue-footed boobies. Typically this species feeds on insects and seeds, but when food is in short supply, they turn to the boobies. The boobies apparently don’t mind, it is thought that the behavior evolved from the finches grooming parasites off of the larger birds.
Also known as the candiru, this little fish has given a lot of people nightmares. A myth made famous by an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where it was referred to as the “penis fish,” after it swam up the urethra of a man who had eliminated into the Amazon river, causing the candiru to swim up the urine stream and lodge itself in the poor guy’s junk. It is also quite an internet thing. As you are probably feeling rather skeeved out right now, it is likely all bullshit. There is a “documented case” from Brazil in 1997 but the information surrounding the case is very suspect though you can be sure it was reported as factual in an episode of River Monsters on Animal Planet. This fish actually does attach itself to the inside of a host fish’s gill and feeds on the blood that flows through.