Vampire bats are a species of bat native to the Americas that live on blood as their main food source. They do not suck blood but lap it from wounds inflicted on their prey. The common vampire bat feeds on mammals, even humans, puncturing the skin with razor-sharp incisor teeth that make a 7mm long and 8mm deep cut. The bat’s saliva contains anticoagulants that prevent the blood from clotting, prolonging the creature’s feeding time. Vampire bats only hunt at night, when it is fully dark.
Fictional vampires share attributes in common with the vampire bat. Like the bats, vampires hunt at night and bite the skin of their prey to draw blood. Many fictional vampires can also transform themselves into a bat, or even a flight of bats, and will often do so to access difficult to reach areas. In Stoker’s novel, Dracula is capable of shapeshifting into many different forms, including a bat, a dog, a large bird, a wolf, tendrils of mist and motes of dust.