Animal Picture of the Day:
Vampire Bat

Vampire bat

Vampire Bats. The name conjures images of Count Dracula and other vampires, eerie creatures of the night that suck blood from their victims that turn into vampires themselves. What would Halloween be if there were not these scary bats to frighten us? In reality, vampire bats are not very scary, but just as fascinating.

Fossil records show there used to be more species of vampire bats. Today, there are just three species. Two species prefer avian blood and are less abundant. These bats are the white-winged vampire bat (Diaemus youngi) and the hairy-legged vampire bat (Diphylla ecaudata). The most abundant and most studied vampire bat is the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), which prefers mammalian blood. All three are found in the new world tropical and subtropical regions (Central and South America) and are considered medium sized bats.

~ From “Natural History of the Vampire Bat” by Denise Tomlinson

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Animal Picture of the Day:
Spotted Hyena

spotted hyena

Photo by Yathin S Krishnappa

Despite the image of the hyena as a scavenger living off the kills of other predators, the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) or “laughing hyena” is actually a top predator on the savannas of Africa. In fact, it’s now known that lions will scavenge off hyena kills, while the hyenas have to wait for the larger animals to get their fill. The hyena social structure is female dominated, with the females larger than the males and the females being the leaders of the packs. Less glamorous than the wolf, the hyena is an often misunderstood, but very interesting animal.

Animal Picture of the Day:
Spectacled Bear

Spectacled bear

The spectacled bear is the only South American member of the bear family. Spectacled bears have black to dark brown fur with white-yellow markings around the face, hence the name “spectacled.” The species occupies habitats that include coastal and inland deserts, dry forest, rain forest, cloud forest, steppe, and paramo.

There are an estimated 2000 to 2400 remaining spectacled bears in the wild. CITES lists them in Appendix I – “Most restricted; species threatened with extinction.”

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