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Article updated: 2/21/2012 8:06 AM

Vampire bats have a long, interesting history

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Bats came to be called vampire bats because the three species from South and Central America, discovered in the 1500s, survive on blood only.

Courtesy of Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society

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Second-graders in Rachel Boehm's class at Hawthorn Elementary North asked about vampire bats. "Why are vampire bats called vampire bats and what was the largest and smallest bat ever found?" The word vampire often conjures up the misty image of Transylvanian counts with ferocious fangs. The word origins are foggy -- scholars think the word could come from Turkish, Greek or Serbian.
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