It wasn't too long ago that popular culture was raving about the arrival of Africanized killer bees to Texas. There were horror movies, and scary "what if" news stories.  When they arrived, there were some deadly encounters. Gradually, however, the bees mixed with tamer bees already in the region and the threat diminished.

Alexander-Cherepanov
Alexander-Cherepanov
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Now there is another threat making its way to Texas.  In fact, scientists say this threat has already been spotted within 40 miles of the Texas-Mexico border.  Vampire bats.

In fact, biologists are pretty sure that the bats have already crossed into Texas and may actually be as far north as San Angelo.

The USDA is increasing surveillance in anticipation of the bats arrival in South Texas.  These bats suck the blood of farm animals and wreak terror in the hearts of those of us who may have watched one too many Dracula movie. Scientists say the bats don't actually suck blood.  They make a tiny cut with their incisors then lick the wound like a pack of rabid chihuahuas.  These devilish creatures introduce an anticoagulant in their saliva that actually keeps the blood from clotting, which allows them to continue feeding.

Photo: Smithsonian Channel via YouTube
Photo: Smithsonian Channel via YouTube
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The biggest threat from these scary looking creatures is not the blood they manage to feed upon, it is the risk of rabies. So far, there is no cause for vampire bat induced rabies panic.  In fact, at last count authorities have surveyed over 12,000 head of livestock in Texas in the last two years, and so far not one single vampire bat.

Photo: Maybee Discovery via YouTube
Photo: Maybee Discovery via YouTube
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Farmers can't afford to be complacent.  Texas Wildlife services division of the USDA's Animal and Plant Inspection Service continue to monitor the state for telltale signs of vampire bat bits.  In the meantime, no need for garlic, wooden stakes or a crucifix. Those wouldn't work anyway. The best course of action is remaining vigilant and alert for the appearance of crimson rivulets on the back, necks or ankles of livestock.

Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash
Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash
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Once you get past these creatures morbid blood feast, they are pretty incredible animals. Scientists say the bats are very social and have an almost cute appearance. They have elflike ears and flat noses and their fur ranges in color from dark brown to rich blond.

Photo: Frankenscience via YouTube
Photo: Frankenscience via YouTube
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If vampire bats do arrive, let's hope their arrival is as anti-climatic as the arrival of the killer bees were a few decades back.

 

Maybee Discovery

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