Bloodthirsty vampire bats have been spotted just 30 miles outside of Texas and ... trends now
Swarms of tiny, bloodthirsty vampire bats are spreading their wings further northward toward the US-Mexican border.
Scientists led by a team at Virginian Tech have said they expect an 'invasion of vampire bats to US soil between five and 20 years in the future,' with sightings now just 30 miles outside Texas.
Colonies of the two-inch-long creatures have long plagued cattle ranches south of the border, parasitically extracting blood from livestock.
The bats cost Mexican ranchers over $46.7 million per year due to the deaths of rabies-infected animals, according to a 2020 report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Researchers believe warming temperatures make North America more hospitable to the bloodthirsty creatures.
Scientists led by a team at Virginian Tech now say they expect an 'invasion of vampire bats to US soil between five and 20 years in the future.' The bats could cost lives as rabies-infected specimens climb up the North American continent, spreading the fatal disease
Conservation scientists pooled over a century of climate data, records of cattle deaths from rabies, and vampire bat 'catches' to see if their spread northward was linked to climate change. Above, in red (left), estimated vampire bat distributions from 1901 to 2019, with the deeper reds showing the highest likelihood, based on the researchers' confidence in their data and models. In blue (right), an 'uncertainty map' revealing potential areas of vampire bat expansion
Past reports by the USDA estimate that the entry of vampire bats into south Texas could drain between $7 to $9 million out of the local livestock industry in terms of rabies deaths alone.
But the bats could also cost lives as rabies-infected specimens climb up the continent, spreading the fatal disease.
'It's a difficult situation that we'd like to address as soon as possible, so vigilance is crucial,' a spokesperson for the Texas Farm Bureau, Gary Joiner, told Wired.
'This bat species causes a lot of concern in agriculture due to its ability to transmit diseases, injure livestock, and cause infections,' Joiner said.
'Rabies is the most obvious issue because of livestock welfare and potential to infect humans.'
While human deaths from rabies are currently rare in the United States, killing only one to three people a year according to the US Centers for Disease