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Do vampire bats drink blood?

Bats are an iconic symbol of Halloween and vampire bats in particular have earned themselves a ghoulish reputation.

But are they really the bloodsucking fiends they're made out to be?

Bats are the only mammals capable of powered flight and there are over 1,100 species of these winged animals.

It's no surprise that these creatures have earned a spooky reputation. Clawed wings envelope them like a cape and most species only fly in the depths of night.

It also doesn't help that three species feast on blood.

Despite their diet, bats are incredibly important to their ecosystems. Some species pollinate plants and eat vast numbers of insects, helping to keep populations under control.

Bats are also not alone in feeding on blood - there are many species of bird, insect and fish that do the same.

Do bats really deserve their Dracula-esque reputation? Mammal curator Louise Tomsett takes us through the truth behind the legend.