Forget Dracula—these Nosferatus of the animal world would make our blood curdle if they didn’t seem so impossible.
Vampire finch: Somehow, the thought of adorable birds hanging around drinking blood is just about the eeriest thing ever. The sharp-beaked ground finch in the Galapagos has the annoying and creepy habit of pecking at other birds until they bleed and then sipping their blood.
Vampire bats: Yes, yes. We all know about these sharp-teethed exsanguinators. But did we know that if the vampire bat Desmodus rotundus goes for two nights without a blood meal, it will starve to death? They need to consume at least 50 percent of their body weight in blood each night and will vomit blood into their less-fed friends’ mouths to keep them alive. We’ll keep company with fruit bats instead, thank you.
Vampire squirrels: Okay, this is local legend, but folks say the little-understood Bornean tufted ground squirrel (Rheithrosciurus macrotis), known to us as Mr. Bushytail Deluxe, attacks larger animals, severs their jugulars, and scarfs down their innards. Go get ‘em, Bushytail Deluxe!
Vampire spiders: The vampire spider (Evarcha culicivora) wants to drink your blood—but only if it’s in the belly of a mosquito. The small East African jumping spider looks for blood-fed mosquitoes to slurp down as its favorite meal.
Dracula ants: Hmmm. What would make a delicious and nutritious meal for a hungry ant queen? How about her own children’s blood? When dracula ant (in the genus Adetomyrma) queens feel peckish, they gnaw holes in their children’s skin and drink their blood. Their legless babies just sit there, horrified and helpless.
By Roar and Devin Cremins. Devin is a graphic designer working in the Raleigh, NC area with a love of science and illustration. Visit octopusoddments.com to see more of her work or follow @octopusoddments on tumblr.