In this 2002 file photo, a white-winged vampire bat pup is seen. (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf, File)
Human intervention usually means bad news for a certain kind of (recent examples are the giraffes and cheetahs), but a mammal seems to be fighting back. Researchers say that the hairy legged vampire bat has adapted surprisingly quickly from the drinking of the blood of birds to that of humans in order to survive, reports the Telegraph.
In the journal Acta Chiropterologica, scientists report that they extracted DNA from 15 samples of stool in a colony in Catimbau National Park in Brazil and discovered human blood in three of them.
“We were quite surprised,” says a researcher, per New Scientist. “They are adapting to their environment.” Vampire bats have evolved to process bird blood, which is higher in fat than the blood of mammals.
They have even been found to quickly and starve when only pig and goat blood is available, but their main prey of guans and tinamous are dying out due to hunting and deforestation.
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The research team says that it expects that the bats feast in the night, entering the bedrooms through open windows and holes in the roofs, and say that it is time to monitor for diseases they are known to carry, including rabies, and hantavirus.
For now, they are reaching out to residents for more information about how, when, and where they are bitten. (This man died of rabies in the united states after a vampire bat bite him in the heel.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Vampire Bats are Now Feasting on Human Blood