VAMPIRE BATS by Laurence Pringle


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The subject has its sensational appeal, as Pringle recognizes in his opening mock scenario and photo of Bela Lugosi as the Count. But the book then becomes a straightforward report on the real vampire bat of Central and South America (and the other photos informative and realistic, if no less fascinating). Pringle tells of the experiences of early European travelers (Darwin among them) and then gets down to what biologists have discovered about the animal's life, roosts, and habits. Baby vampire bats, we learn, are fed by their mothers for a full nine months--the first three months on her milk and then on regurgitated blood. Much of the study, of course, has focused on the bats' night-time predation on livestock--a serious problem not for the amount of blood lost, which is usually insignificant, but because many bats now carry rabies--and on ways to counter the attacks. This is not one of Pringle's essential entries, but it's reliably on course and sure to circulate.

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 1982
Publisher: Morrow