As Halloween arrives again (and it's time to put on that scary costume), it's creepy to think that, just as cannibals are real, there are real vampires too (in the animal kingdom, at least).
Vampire Bats are the critters that most of us think about when we think about REAL vampires. They are found only in the Americas from Mexico down through Argentina. These bats feed exclusively on the blood of other animals. The common vampire bat typically goes for mammals, including domestic cows and horses, while the other two species prefer to feed upon birds. Human attacks are rare, but they've been known to occur. They can't kill you, although their wounds CAN become infected.
Mosquitoes are vampires, and it's the females who do the blood sucking, since they need the protein in order to lay her eggs. Another vampire insect is bed bugs. Nearly eradicated in the North America for 50 years, bed bugs are back (probably due to so much international travel) with a blood-sucking vengeance, showing up everywhere from high-end hotels to college dorms to rural bedrooms. After their victims fall asleep, bed bugs emerge from their hiding places in cracks and crevices and insert their sucking mouthparts in a series of bites along the blood vessels, drinking as they go and leaving as series of red, itchy welts.
Few animals evoke as much revulsion as leeches do with their slimy squirminess and their faceless, legless bodies. When such a creature also feeds upon human blood, it only adds to the horror factor. These parasitic worms attach themselves to their host and bloat themselves on blood. While most leeches are external parasites, some species will swim into nasal cavities and stay there, feeding and growing. Capable of holding undigested blood in their stomachs, parasitic leeches can go months between feedings.
No movie director could think of anything as creepy as these critters! As for us here at unknowncountry.com, the creepiest thing WE can think of is someone who listens to our radio shows and reads our edge news every day but doesn't support us: Is that YOU?
Art credit: Dreamstime.com
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