Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
VI. Through the Highland Wilderness of Western Brazil
WE were now in the land of the bloodsucking bats, the vampire bats that suck the blood of living creatures, clinging to or hovering against the shoulder of a horse or cow, or the hand or foot of a sleeping man, and making a wound from which the blood continues to flow long after the bats thirst has been satiated. At Tapirapoan there were milch cattle; and one of the calves turned up one morning weak from loss of blood, which was still trickling from a wound, forward of the shoulder, made by a bat. But the bats do little damage in this neighborhood compared to what they do in some other places, where not only the mules and cattle but the chickens have to be housed behind batproof protection at night or their lives may pay the penalty. The chief and habitual offenders are various species of rather small bats; but it is said that other kinds of Brazilian bats seem to have become, at least sporadically and locally, affected by the evil example and occasionally vary their customary diet by draughts of living blood. One of the Brazilian members of our party, Hoehne, the botanist, was a zoologist also. He informed me that he had known even the big fruit-eating bats to