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Campers targeted by vampire bats

Sept. 17, 2012 at 2:10 PM

SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- A group of friends from San Antonio said they were attacked by vampire bats while sleeping outside on a camping trip.

The group arrived at their cabin in Johnson City, Texas, and found snake skins on the floor. They decided sleeping outdoors in the bed of a pickup would be safer, said Rusten Ramsey, one of the campers.

When Ramsey awoke he found about 10 nickel-sized blood splotches on his arms. Another woman in the party had been bitten on her face. Some Internet research yielded the culprit: vampire bats.

Most disturbing, Ramsey said, was knowing the creatures had been crawling on him as he slept.

"That was by far the worst part," he told KSAT-TV, San Antonio.

The bats land and lick exposed skin. An element in the bats' tongues numbs the skin and when blood begins to show, the bats drink it as a food source. Normally vampire bats do not target humans, but the exposed campers were easy prey.

The campers have been treated for potential rabies exposure.

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