The Case For Vampire Bats

Bats have a scary reputation even though most of them are actually harmless But there is one species that causes big problems: The common vampire bat. In Latin America, vampire bats are destroying
lives and livelihoods They prey on pigs on calves on children and sometimes, sick bats carry rabies It’s a horrifying disease – once someone exhibits symptoms it’s too late to save them. Ranchers want the government to exterminate
vampire bats. which raises a question: Should humans completely wipe out
this deadly species? ♫ GOOD QUESTION ♫ To try and wrap my head around this problem I headed down to a major battleground in the human vs. vampire bat war. Panama This country is bat paradise “The entirety of the United States has about 47 species of bats” “And Panama, which is much smaller, has 120 species of bats” This is May Dixon – she’s something of a walking bat encyclopedia And she told me there’s a lot of confusion about bats. “A really huge one is that people think that all bats are vampires” And that couldn’t be further from the truth. The vast majority of bats don’t drink blood
and don’t actually harm anyone. To prove it, May insisted I meet some. “So what kind is this?” “I’ll tell you in a moment I can’t tell yet” “So this is a Jamaican fruit bat” “You want to feed it?”
“I can try” “Wow … thirsty!” You wouldn’t want to kill these bats, and
not just because they’re cute Bats are the secret heroes of the jungle “See ya later” You’ve got fruit eaters like the Jamaican fruit bat that spread seeds and replant the forest Bats with long tongues that drink nectar and pollinate flowers “Including agave – which is important because without it we wouldn’t have tequila” Bats who use echolocation to catch bugs the bugs that bite us and eat our crops We met lots of amazing and useful bats – but … “None of those are vampire bats, no not one” And that’s the species I’m really interested in Luckily for me, May works with a guy who keeps
a vampire bat colony in a big shed Yep, that’s a bucket of cow blood “So each night, each bat is
taking about a tablespoon of blood” “which is no that much” “but when you have 36 bats it adds up” “I often think of vampire bats as kind of the super bat.” They’re stealthy mammal finding, blood drinking little ninjas Their noses have these infrared heat sensors
so they can detect warm veins beneath the skin “They have low frequency hearing” It’s like they’re specially evolved to hear
the breathing of big animals “They have these canines for cutting away
hair and feathers And their front biting teeth are so sharp
– prey don’t feel a thing, And unlike most bats … … they can run. These guys are great at what they do
but as far as we know they don’t play any important role The jungle would be just fine without them Now, for thousands of years, vampire bats
did their thing and weren’t much of a problem There weren’t that many of them, and there
were enough peccaries, tapirs and capybara to satisfy their thirst for blood. Then, everything changed. In 1493, Columbus brought a new blood source
across the sea Cattle! Colonists destroyed jungles and replaced them
with pastures. The herds multiplied – and vampire bat populations
shot up with them. And that’s when they started causing problems
for ranchers. This is still still going on today
This map shows where trees have disappeared in just the last 15 years In many of these places ranchers are trying to make a living on the very edge of vampire
bat territory The town of Pueblo Nuevo is a perfect example … so decided to pay it a visit Here, life revolves around softball, fishing,
and most important – the vampire bat’s favorite food. Where are the bats? They’re waiting for sundown in the hills just
outside of town. A guide named Austin Garrido
agrees to take me into the bat caves “They’re this view into an alien world.” There are so many kinds of bats here
but the vampire bats shrink away from our head lamps We have to use infrared light to get a good look at them Every night, when darkness falls,
the vampires leave their caves to search for blood. Rabies costs farmers in Latin America $30 million dollars a year and kill dozens of people. They explained the Panamanian government actually
does try to poison the vampire bats here and there They spread a toxic paste on the back of a bat and when that bat returns to its roost the poison spreads through the whole colony But here’s the thing – nearby bats just come in to take their place. And new research suggests that all this may
just increase the spread of rabies. Now in an ideal world – you’d find a way to
just get rid of the rabies virus itself But that would take a hugely expensive vaccination
program – you’d have to get all the people, cows, pigs, even the bats! So as far as the ranchers
and the government are concerned The best thing to do is just keep on killing vampire bats Try and drive them to extinction! Which brings me back to our question. Back in town, I asked Gerry what we would
lose if we did wipe out vampire bats. “When I give talks to the public one of the
most common questions I get is ‘How are vampire bats useful to us?’ “And I tell this story about the anti-coagulant “that vampire bats have in their saliva” It’s like a drug that keeps the blood of their prey from clotting “It’s a better chemical anti-coagulant for treating stroke than anything weve synthesized “But that’s not really a honest answer of how I feel “My feeling is that vampire bats are inherently valuable “I seem to vaguely recall thinking
that vampire bats were ugly “but now their faces just look like a person’s face to me.” He says they behave like people. When one bat is starving, another one comes to feed it They wrap each other in these weird hugs – mothers
and daughters, brothers and sisters, and even bats who aren’t related to each other,
but have what scientists call “enduring cooperative social bonds” in other words FRIENDS It’s those friendships that make that poison
spread so quickly through a colony The bats love to cuddle. And that makes this question about what to
do with them really difficult. The way that I think of it is sort of analogous to
how we relate to wolves now Wolves were a problem for farmers and ranchers
just like vampire bats and for long stretches of time people just
wanted to eradicate wolves But now we see wolves as these beautiful, charismatic, intelligent animals that we can relate to I don’t think we have that kind of relationship
with vampire bats But I think if people new all the things that I know about vampire bats You would look at them differently – As beautiful intelligent animals

100 thoughts on “The Case For Vampire Bats

  1. Should we exterminate vampire bats? No. And there's no reason to think it would be possible. But we should do everything we can to protect people and livestock from rabies.
    This is great work being done on preventing rabies outbreaks:
    More on vampire bat social life:

  2. Europe found money to use anti-rabies program, which made entire Europe free of this infection. If goverments here decided it worth it I cannot see why similar procedure cannot be used in South America too. Entire world could be rabies free, the tools we already have for it.

  3. Vampire bats should definitely should not be killed off yes they might kill livestock but they are very helpful to the environmental just like other bats

  4. "How are vampire bats useful to us?"…' I would answer with another question: What would it do to us,as humans, if we took them to extinction?, Do we want more blood in our hands?, Is that how we deal with problematic living beings?, "if it's not useful then it has to go"… The conservation of vampire bats is useful because it help us maintain our humanity.

  5. its kind of insane that we want to wipe out an entire species because they carry an illness… the solution should be to protect yourself from them rather than trying to destroy them.

  6. When feeding their relatives or friends, bats risk their own life, because if they don't feed in the 24h, they simply die… they're the most altruistic beings on earth… nobody has the right to disseminate a population, bats or others

  7. These are wonderful animals. No, they shouldn't be driven to extinction. It's terrible how people have to do this nonsense.

  8. I don’t think killing them is a great solution but most of the people saying that the bats aren’t doing anything and the farmers are dumb, you put yourself in the farmers position. Those animals are basically how they are living, feeding their families, surviving. If the bats bite the animals and possibly transmit Disease they lose money that they already barely have. Just think about it from all points if view first before you say something

  9. If it was entirely up to me I would wipe out every vampire bat on the planet , today , before sun-down !!! aaargh !!

  10. No vampire bats have a right to live here too they are not a dangerous species you're an idiot if you think that

  11. I actually enjoy all types of species of bat I enjoy learning about them I even try to build bat houses for them

  12. no vampire bats are awesome they don't deserve to die out also its not fair for us to do that they lived here longer than us fuck those people that want to eradicate the vampire bat spices there must be another way

  13. They take away all of the old blood that causes disease and sickness and sense all of the blood builds up they help make new blood for you and be healthier

  14. Kill vampire bats but I think their important for controlling the productivity and balance the growth of animal and human population

  15. All the cidiot consumers complaining about saving bats when their own cities are becoming 3rd world hellscapes full of disease, drug needles & feces all over the place are lecturing those that live in well-maintained, rural paradises on how to care for their land & animals…
    Clean up your own messes & consume less. You are the real polluters of the planet that are consuming way too much food for farmers to supply just for city dwellers that basically do nothing with their lives & don't even contribute to a healthier planet though they moan endlessly about pollution while doing almost nothing to reduce it on their end.
    Extinction isn't the answer, but populations of animals (& humans) are culled from time to time to re-balance the environment.

  16. The vampire bats are actually better than us humans.
    For us to survive everyday either a plant or animal must die all the bats have to do is just take a little blood and the host keeps on living.

  17. This video is making crying because seeing a vampire bat trapped in a cage and another vampire bat coming in and feet it this is such a beautiful scene

  18. Human answer to everything: Kill it. And FYI, wolves are still suffering eradication issues from ranchers too lazy to use non-lethal means od deterrence. So the government comes in and wipes out a pack or two. They're right back on the brink of extinction. All that work to bring them back, only to be slaughtered again. Humans are idiots. And want easy outs rather than learning how to best live with nature. As it is, humans are set to create the next mass extinction. Frankly, it's already been set in motion. It's just a pity we're taking every other animal and plant out with us.

  19. “Deadly species” 1, they rarely try to get blood from humans. They prefer blood from other animals. 2, it’s very unlikely to get rabies from a bat. They shouldn’t be killed, it’s not like they are evil or anything. Blood is their natural diet, and they NEED it to survive. Sure they aren’t that important, but they don’t deserve to be killed. They haven’t done anything wrong. Just because to some people they are creepy, that doesn’t mean anything. They are just innocent mammals.

  20. they make it sound like vampire bats are the dangerous species… I mean, we are the ones creating the problem, humans are the most invasive species known so far, in our solar system. We eradicated other species because they hunted our live stock, and now look at us. Wishing they were still here, if we eradicate these wonderful species, then it will only spell for disaster and sorrow

  21. 8:04 that's the problem, people got over the wolves' problem because of fences, tall walls and another obstacles, but bats can FLY

  22. Great video! I love bats and think they're cute (no I'm not goth or live a vampire lifestyle lol). This video gets a like and I'm subscribing just for this video!

  23. Why not put nets over the cows so bats cant get to them? I would worry more about cross species blood born pathogens than rabies though .. . I do see where ranchers have had ecological destruction . I saw a man made lake with tree stumps like the ones they had were the shore meets the ocean/lake?. the land eroded after they cut down all those trees making the water come in further and that's a big problem as well.

  24. I know people have a right to make a living, but, to destroy the land, change the ratio of animal life, then think it's ok to exterminate a species because of its feeding habits, smacks as silly to me. I for one, believe ALL animals have a right to survive. We humans have already destroyed so much of our planet, I am ashamed to think how future generations will judge us. While we have forever changed the dry parts of earth, we are changing the oceans and rivers too. Shame on us.

  25. these vampire bats still better than human they suck blood of other animals and feed each other care for each other
    we suck each other blood and even not feed our poor ones

  26. Bats in general are so unique and important to human culture, u truly gotta be heartless to think there as to be a beneficial effect of bats on human civilization to let them live, they are intelligent and important animals and should be free.

  27. people need to stop eating them! china… ASIA! and leave them alone. stop eating everything that moves.flies.. go Vegan./ vegie!! dam! wash ur food.. grow food, in ground.. help save life!!!im going to make a video and upload it, on all of the great resources of foods u can grow, or thats already out there, to eat..non animal!!

  28. Yeah it's pretty nice for urbanites to think of wolves as charismatic Noble animals, but ask someone who lives in Siberia and they'll tell you the truth. Yes the bats should be destroyed, keep some in zoos if you wish, but human needs trump those of beasts. Your only argument for the continuation of a parasitic species is that they hug their young and display social characteristics. I'm sure that comforts the farmers at night while they worry about their children and their animals that keep them alive. Westerners are unmatched in their egotism.

  29. Should humans exterminate an entire species? YES, not bats, but bed bugs, German roaches, ticks and tape worms and mosquito to name a few species are animals that have no natural value to nature nor do they provide any benefit to any other animal. they are purely parasitic and nature would not be missing anything nor any balance thrown off, should they be exterminated.

  30. Hello everyone, Here is what I can say, Bats are created for some reasons in this world, people should not sell or eat these kinds of species., as some people knows the nature and danger of these birds??? so why don't we leave them alone, until the end of their time??? only the creator knows when to get rid of them. and please don't eat them or sell them for money there's a lot of clean food in this world where we can eat, sell and make money…God Bless you all!

  31. If you want to get rid of Bats, you have to talk to Batman and Robin about it first, then let me know what will they say??? just kidding

  32. Yes humans should Wipeout mosquitoes vampire bats little children and human beings die because of these useless deadly pests. Why do we have rats in 2020?


  34. You know it's funny how some people here are saying that vampire bats should be killed off because they serve no purpose to the environment. Going by their logic humans should be wiped out as well because we do nothing for the environment and actually we kill the environment slowly because of our pollution and trash. Freaking hypocrites

  35. If there was a way to exclude the vampire bats from populated areas, this would be understandable even if it meant less of them around. The tricky thing is to do it without affecting harmless bats or other wildlife. Could feeders be invented that vampire bats would always choose over, well, vampiring? Can vampire bat repellents be formulated? If they are biting people and livestock, they are being a nuisance whether or not there is a rabies problem too.

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