“The common vampire bat feeds on large animals, such as cows and horses. Occasionally people get bitten when they sleep out in the open or near cattle,” Carter said. “The bite itself is a tiny little wound, often on the toe; people often have trouble finding the wound, and notice it only because they wake up with bloody sheets. The bat takes only a tablespoon of blood, but the wound can bleed a bunch, at least for its size, because the bat’s saliva has an anti-coagulant in it.”
First U.S. Death by Vampire Bat: Should We Worry?
I’ll never forget the first time I read about a vampire. It was in a Bomba the Jungle Boy novel. The bat perches on the sleeping Bomba’s toe. Ten or twelve years old, I was horrified: as I was intended to be. I was an adult before the cannibalism and vampirism of Christianity struck me: the deicide comes so early we don’t notice it.
A couple of decades ago I tried an Anne Rice novel: well written, too damn will written, for rubbish. I attribute the popularity of the genre the crap seems to be all over TV, to saturate Hollywood, to the same sort of psychology that allows a boy to associate himself with Babe Ruth: dreaming we’re big and bad, when we’re small, sniveling petty klepbots. But the phenomenon reminds me of an experience with anticoagulant blood suckers I’ll share with you:
Up in Maine, 1967 or so, I went wading in a stream crossing the road just outside Waterville. The bank was steep, I had to slog through many yards of muck before I reached the clear running water. I then had a wonderful time with my new fly rod and some dry flies I’d tied myself. I caught pan fish, no trout, one smallmouth bass, tiny. I headed back through the muck, was proud of how I climbed the steep muck bank, and was very pleased with myself, this New Yorker in Maine, as came up to my new Saab station wagon. With the tail gate up I proceeded to strip off all my clothes down to my bathing shorts. Then I sat on the tail and started to remove my sneaks. Uh oh, how come pink water was running out of my shoes?
I took off my right shoe first. My foot was quite flayed. Blood was seeping from every part of it. Black stuff, like wood ear fungus in Chinese hot and sour soup was also flowing out of the sneaker and onto the road shoulder: squashed and pulverised leeches! I was more careful with the left shoe. It was the same: flayed, bleeding, polluted with dead leeches.
Euew! I relived the scene in the African Queen where Bogey comes up with leaches, only his were on his upper body, not minced in his shoes: climbing the steep muck, the skier, mountaineer New Yorker.
But I hadn’t felt a thing! Still didn’t.
Bomba’s vampire had numbed his toe too.