The vampire bat is native to North, Central and South America, from Mexico to Argentina. There is only one positive confirmation of a vampire bat sighting in the United States.
The vampire bat belongs to the family Phyllostomidae, the leaf-nosed bat. There are three extant species of vampire bat: common, white-winged and hairy-legged. The common vampire bat has the largest range of the three species, extending from northern Mexico to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay in the south. The white-winged vampire bat has a similar range to the common but is not present in western Mexico or the Yucatan. The hairy-legged vampire bat is also absent from western Mexico but does have a presence in the Yucatan. There is documentation of a single hairy-legged vampire bat sighting in southern Texas in 1967.
Vampire bats occupy both humid and arid habitats, but warm, humid climates are preferred.
These bats are extremely social animals, sometimes forming colonies of over 100 animals. Despite a bad reputation, vampire bats form strong social bonds with other colony members. They are reciprocally altruistic, regurgitating food for hungry individuals and lactating females, and even adopting orphaned pups. Common vampire bats sometimes become a nuisance by feeding on livestock, but both the white-winged and hairy-legged vampires are avian specialists that only prey upon birds.