Encyclopaedia of Cryptozoology

Illustration of Desmodeus draculae by Andrea Maraldi.

The giant vampire bat (Desmodeus draculae) was a species of vampire bat, 30% larger than the extant vampire bat (which is not a very large animal to begin with), native to Central and South America from the Pleistocene until at least the Holocene. Some remains are subfossil, and the youngest, from Argentina, is believed to be only 3,000 years old. Based on recent sightings of very large vampire bats in Brazil and Argentina, some cryptozoologists speculate that it may still exist.[1][2][3]

Physical evidence[]


In August 2000, palaeontologists Ulises Pardiñas and Eduardo Tonni announced that they had discovered an upper left canine of Desmodeus draculae in an owl pellet in Centinela del Mar cave in Miramar, Argentina, dating back to only 300 to 500 years ago - as noted by Angel Morant Forés, "this means that the upper left canine of Centinela del Mar belonged to a contemporary bat of the Spanish conquistadors, between the 15th and 18th centuries". Tonni believes that the giant vampire bat went extinct in the 19th Century, due to climate change, as temperatures dropped by 2°C.[4]



In 1976, R. H. Pine and A. Ruschi gathered anecdotal reports from Espiritio Santo, Brazil, suggesting the existence of a second species of sanguinivorous leaf-nosed bat, besides the vampire bat. These reports were collected 12 years prior to the discovery of Desmodeus draculae.[4]

Locals in the Vale do Ribeira, in southeastern Brazil's São Paulo State, reported that their cattle and horses were frequently attacked by "unusually large" vampire bats. The Vale do Ribeira is also a source of Desmodeus draculae fossils, but a search of caves in the area revealed no living giant vampire bats.[5]

A Brazilian cattle dealer named Joãos Ribas Leite claimed to have seen a "giant bat" or "gigantic bat" attacking one of his cows in Sorocoba. He fired at the bat with his pistol, and scared it off. Leite thought the animal was a chupacabra.[4]


According to a Mexican newspaper report published on 6 January 1969, a "giant vampire" weighing five or six kilograms was at that time terrifying the population of La Quebrada de Humahuca, a mountainous valley in Argentina's Jujuy Province. A cowherd named Meliton Juárez was supposedly attacked by this bat, which tried to drink blood from the throat of his mule, and was forced to defend himself with his whip. The report also claims that other "raids" had occured in the valley recently, and that "two monstrous vampires" had also killed a woman and a man in Mexico whilst they slept.[4]

Angel Morant Forés regards this story as dubious, as the original report misspelled "Jujuy" as "Jupuy," describes the enormous Quebrada de Humahucaas a "picturesque valley," and contains no details regarding the bat.[4]

Notes and references[]

  1. Eberhart, George M. (2002) Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, ABC-CLIO, Inc., ISBN 1576072835
  2. Shuker, Karl P. N. (1995) In Search of Prehistoric Survivors: Do Giant 'Extinct' Creatures Still Exist?, Blandford, ISBN 9780713-724691
  3. Shuker, Karl P. N. "A Supplement to Dr Bernard Heuvelmans' Checklist of Cryptozoological Animals," Fortean Studies, Vol. 5 (1998)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Forés, Angel Morant "Desmodus draculae: la chauve-souris vampire géante est-elle vraiment éteinte?," Institut Virtuel de Cryptozoologie cryptozoo.pagesperso-orange.fr [Accessed 27 June 2019]
  5. Trajano, E. & de Vivo, M. "Desmodus draculae (Moran, Linares, and Ray, 1988), Reported for Southeastern Brazil, with Paleoecological Comments (Phyllostomidae, Desmodontidae)," Mammalia 55 3 (1991)