Vampires Weren’t the First Creatures to Suck Blood

Bloodsuckers, bloodsuckers, bloodsuckers. They live all around the world—maybe even in your house.

Perhaps the most well known bloodsuckers are mosquitoes. Male mosquitoes live on nectar to survive, while female mosquitoes suck blood. Many mosquitoes also carry malaria and yellow fever.

Blood is necessary for the survival of many species, but it is an essential resource for blood-sucking animals. Blood is rich in nutrients and provides food to eggs, so that when they are born they can survive. Fleas and strange blood-sucking birds also use blood for food. Many bloodsuckers have piercing mouthparts that slice through skin. Many bloodsuckers can produce a substance to stop blood from clotting.

Lots of people think that all ticks, another type of bloodsucker, carry Lyme disease. However, only deer ticks carry Lyme disease. Most ticks leave their host’s body after they fill up on blood, which takes about one week.

Fleas are bloodsuckers. Like mosquitoes and ticks, you might worry about fleas, but there is hope! Fleas aren’t as intimidating as other bloodsuckers. Fleas don’t have wings so they have to jump to reach their prey, which can be difficult.

Birds can such blood, too! The sharp-beaked ground finch of the Galápagos Islands is also a bloodsucker. It attacks and sucks the blood of booby birds and other sea birds blood while perching. This earns them the name “Vampire Bird,” but they mostly eat insects.

These are the weirdest bloodsuckers. I hope I can avoid these bloodsuckers forever.

[Sources: How Animals Work; Lyme Disease Association]