Vampire Bats and Prey Recognition

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Vampire bats recognize individual prey by the unique sounds of the preys breathing according to a study in BMC Biology. Researchers examind the ability of vampire bats to detect breathing cues from prey items.


This is how it was done:

Vampire bats were trained to discriminate three sequences of breathing sounds recorded from three different subjects. A spectrogram of a recorded breathing sound is shown in Fig. 2. Once the vampire bats had learned this task, additional breathing sounds, recorded under different experimental conditions from the same three subjects, were randomly interspersed. The spontaneous association of these test sounds with the learned training sounds was assessed.

Results indicated that vampire bats were significantly better at this association than humans were. The researchers suggest they may be effective at this (depending on masking sounds) at up to tens of meters.

Update 1: I am closing the comments on this thread.

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13 Responses

  1. Next questiion: To what degree can vampire bats determine the current alertness of potential prey?

  2. I’d speculate that if they can tell one prey – specifically humans – item from the next, they can tell the difference between awake and asleep. The study was based on breathing frequency and since humans breathe at different frequencies while awake and asleep I expect bats could detect that…

  3. I have a question which im serious about. Is it possible to have a vampire bat as a pet? And if so how?

  4. No, it is illegal (in the USA anyway). Also, vampire bats belong in the wild and it would be cruel and inhumane to keep them in cages.

  5. What r vampire bats ?

  6. Can vampire bats heal people who have hit by a stroke and how?

  7. Arthur – There is some research under way concerning the use of bat saliva to dissolve blood clots but as far as I know it has not resulted in any kind of treatment yet.

  8. I just had a bat in my bed room and Im wondering why it was there. Is it possible ..because we have sattlite Tv that the sattlelite had gotten their direction confused with them?

  9. It is not normal for a bat to be found in the human occupied area of a house. If you did find a bat in your bed room, and you were asleep in that room with the bat, you should get a rabies shot so you don’t die. Rabies is a horrible death, and it is possible to miss bat bites because they are small and usually painless.

  10. Can I know about Dreadlord?

  11. Is it true that vampire bats really bite their prey and the others wait until the first is done and the others come in one at a time and feed?

  12. Can you have any bats as pets?
    If so do they make good pets?
    What kind of care do they need?

  13. I have already answered those questions. See above…

Comments are closed.

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