Questions for ‘Sucking blood isn’t an easy life, even for vampires’


The common vampire bat doesn’t suck up blood; it licks it. Razor teeth nick flesh so the bat can lick up the gently welling blood.

Uwe Schmidt/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

To accompany feature “Sucking blood isn’t an easy life, even for vampires”


Before Reading

1.  What is a vampire? What makes a vampire special/different? How many vampire animals can you name?

2.  What is blood? What are its components? And what is its purpose in the body?


During Reading:

1.  What is a fruitarian?

2.  List four types of animals in which vampire species can be found.

3.  Based on what you read in this article, what are two dangers of the vampire lifestyle?

4.  Why is it dangerous for humans to drink blood?

5.  What does the kissing bug have in its gut that helps it digest blood?

6.  How much protein would a human consume if it ate like a vampire bat?

7.  What is hemoglobin?

8.  What are two bodily functions that require B vitamins?

9.  Where can a hungry vampire bat find a snack if it fails at finding a full meal?

10.  Where does the jumping spider Evarcha culicivora find its blood meal?

After Reading:

1.  Human vampires are a staple of fiction. Pick a vampire from fiction. Compare and contrast it with one of the vampire animals found in the article.

2.  Write a short story about a vampire. Base your vampire on one of the species in the article. Where does he/she find its blood meal? How does this individual consume it? And how does it manage to not get ill from consuming all of that blood?


1.  The story says that if a 70-kilogram adult downed the same proportion of protein as a vampire bat, that individual might have to consume 6 kilograms of protein per day. On a percentage basis, how big an increase in protein consumption is that from the 50 to 100 grams that most adults eat each day? Show your work.

2.   If a cup of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) contains 12 grams of protein, how much would a human need to eat to down 6 kilograms of protein from that source? If the protein content of human blood averages 16.4 percent, how much blood would a “human vampire” have to drink to achieve that 6 kilograms of protein each day? Show your work.