Skip to main content
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

place holder

  Chiroptera · Phyllostomidae · Diphylla ecaudata

Search the Archive
 • Species Name
 • Family Tree
 • Conservaton Status
 • Skulls
 • Bones and Teeth
Field Guide
 • Map Search
   Including search by
     • Location
     • Ecoregion
     • Species
     • National Park
 • About Maps
dotted line
   Teacher Resources
   About the Site
dotted line
Smithsonian Institution
Copyright Notice
Privacy Notice

Diphylla ecaudata

Hairy-legged Vampire Bat

Order: Chiroptera
Family: Phyllostomidae

Image of Diphylla ecaudata
Click to enlarge. (96 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Vampire bats are amazingly well-equipped to live on a diet of blood and only blood - something no other mammal in the world does. Its teeth are so razor-sharp that the bird or mammal it feeds on usually does not even feel the tiny bite it inflicts. The bat's saliva contains a chemical that keeps the blood flowing, and its tongue is grooved - the bat uses it almost like a straw. As soon as the bat feeds, it urinates. Its body retains the nourishing part of the blood but gets rid of the water, so that it does not have to fly away carrying an extra load of weight. Diphylla ecaudata is one of three species of vampire bats, all of which are found only in the New World tropics. Only one specimen of a vampire bat has ever been found in the United States, in Texas in 1967, and it probably had wandered some 700 km north from its breeding population..

Sexual Dimorphism:

Average: 83 mm
Range: 67-93 mm

Average: 31 g
Range: 24-43 g


Spix, J.  DE., 1823.  Simiarum et Vespertilionum brasiliensium species novae, p. 68.  Monachii, 72 pp.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account *
* PDF reader available here (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Diphylla ecaudata

Image of Diphylla ecaudata
Click to enlarge. (73kb)