Behaviour and Life Cycle of the Spectral Bat

The spectral Bat also known as the vampire bat, Linnaeus False Vampire Bat or spectral vampire bat is the largest ever known carnivorous bat species in the world and the most common bat in the world. The bat is mostly found in parts of Southern America and Mexico including Suriname, Ecuador, Brazil, Guyana and Trinidad Island. It has a wingspan ranging between 60 and 91.5cm while the largest ever recorded wingspan exceeded 100 cm. Their body length is about 12.5 to 13.5 cm with a mass of 145 to 190 grams. Unlike some bats, spectral bat does not have a tail though its tail's membrane is broad and long. This bat also inhibits long and rounded ears. Its feet are large, robust and equipped with claws that are long and curved. The bat has sharp teeth enclosed with a narrow and long muzzle.

The bat's body is covered with fur that are mostly dark or chestnut brown and sometimes rust orange in color. Spectral Bat is mostly found in riparian areas or roosting on a tree branch. However, sometimes they are found in man made structures such as old houses and also Neotropical forest with a ground elevation of about 5410 feet. They hunt large prey such as small mammals including other bat species, reptiles, amphibians and small birds. Surprisingly, most of their prey usually weighs between 20 and 150 grams which somehow equals to their weights. They also have a behaviour of living in groups, roosting on trees and having a strong odour. When hunting, they frequently fly low and bouncy. Before pouncing on their prey, they first stalk them and then jump or pounce on them mostly from the above in branch of a tree.

Unlike most bats, spectral bats do not forage using sight or echo. Instead, they hunt using scent. Sometimes, however, they have been found to be attracted to stress call of smaller bats during the hunting process. Their wings are strong enough to carry them in confined or narrow spaces even when carrying their prey.

This bat has a life cycle similar to other bat species. They always live with their mates in a single hollow tree. Most of their births are recorded on rainy seasons that is from May to July. The bat's gestation period usually takes up to 5 months. Their life cycle states that this pair of couples usually gives birth to young ones at least once a year to a maximum of three. The female species is the one who takes care of the offspring during the day. At night, the male wraps up both the mother and young ones as they sleep using its wings. Another fact about their life cycle states that the "couples can mate for life for as long as they live. It's reported that the pair can stay with their offspring until they reach maturity stage that is 2 to 3 years. Another instance of their behaviour includes staying in a single hollow tree for up to one year.

The Spectral bat's life span has been found to be about ten years. It's only a few of them that have been found to live more than ten years. The bat has been found to be threatened and is therefore endangered due to human settlements.