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No species has contributed more to the misunderstanding and fear of bats than the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus). Public perception and movie portrayal of them as huge, creepy, blood-sucking killers is sensationalist and incorrect. The common vampire bat in fact rarely kills its prey and is relatively small and ordinary looking, although it does possess some fascinating adaptations to its specialized feeding behaviour. The thin, broad, pointed, blade-like incisors are so sharp that the victim seldom notices the incision into its flesh. Heat sensors on their nose are also an adaptation to help the vampire bat find a good spot on an animal’s body to feed. Strong hind legs and a special, elongated and robust thumb help the bat to climb around on its prey and to take off after feeding. The coat is dark greyish-brown to reddish to golden, paler on the stomach and females are usually slightly larger than males.

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