A little lick and a slurp, and now we’re friends!
Common vampire bat looking very friendly. Photo by Dr. Gerry Carter at the Carter Lab. Check out the lab's great work at socialbat.org.

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week!

In an earlier post I wrote about how Vampire bats have best friends that they help out. Recently scientists have found out that there is a bit more to the story. Due to their diets, even three days without eating can mean death to a Vampire bat, so by regurgitating food one Vampire bat can save their buddy. Because food is such an important part of their life, these bats will only help another bat they have very close relationships with. To study how Vampire bats form these tight unions in the first place, scientists took bats that hadn't met before and watched them form the same relationships that they would in the wild. However, in order to see if the bats would help each other out they fasted a bat, safely making sure that they wouldn’t die, and kept them with stranger bats. Over time the bats began grooming each other and formed tight bonds. After the bats became close, the grooming became more vigorous and frequent. Through research the scientists found out that, by grooming, the bats “test the waters” of their friendships. If bats reciprocate with the grooming then the relationship can progress. Eventually the bats begin sharing food. These relationships last lifetimes.

If you want to read more about this study, you can do so here.

[We want to send a shout out to Dr. Gerry Carter, friend of Save Lucy, for his wonderful work with vampire bats.--Ed.]

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