Science: Last Licks

In the legends of Eastern Europe, the vampire took many horrendous forms, but south of the Rio Grande vampiro means just one thing: a tiny bat that sucks the blood of humans and animals and carries rabies, the deadliest of infectious diseases. Despite its minuscule proportions—an adult may weigh as little as one-half ounce and seldom more than 1½ ounces—the common vampire has made it economically impractical to raise cattle or horses in large areas from central Mexico to central Argentina. Efforts to destroy Desmodus rotundus by such crude methods as dynamiting or...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!