More from Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl. The Common Vampire Bat is a small flying mammal that lives in central America. Obviously their most famous trait is their thirst for blood. Vampire colonies usually have between 20-100 members, though there can be up to 2,000. The main social unit is the female group of 8-12 related bats. Males sometimes have “bachelor” groups that roost in the same places as the females.
Females often mate with several males, although a vaginal plug forms after the first mating so only one of them is likely to inseminate her. When not in heat the females refuse to mate at all, and they’ll defend their refusal with as much violence as is necessary. They also exercise their prerogative to refuse males whose approaches they deem too aggressive.
Vampire Bat (Desmodus rotundus)
Homosexuality: Female & Male Behaviours: Affectionate, Sexual, Pair-bonding Ranking: Moderate Observed: Wild, Captivity
(See It’s Gay Animal Fortnight for an explanation of this box.)
Overt sexual behaviour between females has not yet been observed, but they do form lasting bonds with each other or with several other females. These companionships can last for up to ten years and the pair will huddle together, groom each other and share blood by regurgitating it for their partner. It’s really romantic.
Males, on the other hand, get sexy when they groom each other. They eagerly lick each other’s genitals and masturbate themselves or their partner. Vampire bats in captivity seem to show a preference for homosexuality, since they’ll bypass females if they have the chance of sex with another male instead.
PS: The Grey-Headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) is not that closely related to Vampires apart from being another type of bat, and it lives in Queensland, Australia, but a group of Flying Foxes is called a Camp. I thought you should know.
Next time on Gay Animal Fortnight… Pink swans.
Original Vampire Bat image from Wikipedia Commons.