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A study has revealed the secret eating habits of vampire bats and how they often eat with friend groups. This study was conducted with bats that had formed friendships in captivity and continued to spend time together.

Researchers strapped tiny backpacks to 50 vampire bats, some of which had lived in captivity together. The data showed that the bats often roosted together in the same area, going out to hunt alone.

Many bats reunited with one another while hunting, however. Leading the researchers to conclude that these friendships helped the bats to work together to find good food sources instead of competing with one another.

Study co-author Gerald Carter, assistant professor of evolution, ecology, and organismal biology at The Ohio State University, said, “Everything we’ve been studying with vampire bats has looked at what they’re doing inside of a roost. What nobody has really known up until now is whether these social relationships serve any function outside the roost. Understanding their interactions with a completely different group of bats out on the pasture can help us understand what’s going on inside the colony. If every time they leave the roost, they’re getting into battles, that can increase the amount of cooperation within the colony.”

The data collected from these 50 bats also helped researchers to see the after-effects of captivity on this species. Whether or not they could hunt as usual with wild vampire bats was not a problem as the bats quickly assimilated to their new wildlife.

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