Climate change is pushing vampire bats toward the U.S.

As the bats move northward, incidences of rabies rise

Vampire bats are heading northward, researchers found, and may reach the United States within a matter of decades. Vampire bats are currently only found in Latin America as far north as Mexico. But In a study published in Ecography, researchers found climate change is pushing the bats northward. Within 27 years, parts of the United States may offer a suitable home. With them comes a risk of rabies.

“What we found was that the distribution of vampire bats has moved northward across time due to past climate change, which has corresponded with an increase in rabies cases in many Latin American countries,” said TWS member Paige Van de Vuurst, a PhD student at Virginia Tech and lead author of the study.

The Virginia Tech team plans to identify and track the bats in Colombia to help contain the spread of rabies.

Read more from Virginia Tech.

Header Image: Climate change is pushing vampire bats northward. Credit: Paige Van de Vuurst