Vampires have long been a part of our legends -- and with stories like Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries, they've made a new popular surge into our culture. While we may not have to worry about Dracula coming to suck our blood in the middle of the night, there are real-life bloodsuckers that roam the Earth. Some even live under your bed...
U.S. and Canadian agencies are joining forces to battle sea monsters -- lampreys, which have infested the Great Lakes. The fight against these blood-sucking beasts has cost at least $400 million, the Weather Channel reported recently.
Of all the vampire animals, the vampire bat is probably the most well known. Bats are very often associated with vampire lore, though out of about 1,000 species of bats, only three suck blood. Two of these three prey mostly on birds, but the common vampire bat expands its prey to livestock and even humans.
Though the bite is not dangerous, the bat may be a carrier of rabies, which can pose a serious health problem -- even death.
They lurk in the dark by day and emerge to suck blood by night. This may sound terrifying, but it's an actually description of the behavior of the bedbug. Though they are not known to be harmful, their bites can be painful -- and an infestation is easy to get and hard to get rid of.
The leech's blood-sucking lifestyle has been used by humans in medicine. The use of leeches was once very popular, though they fell out of use during the 1800s along with blood-letting. A leech bite can reduce clotting and relieve pressure because of the anticoagulants it injects when it bites. In India, many still believe they remove tainted blood from the body.
The vampire finch -- seen here in frame from a National Geographic video -- is one of the strange species of the Galapagos Islands. Most finch species eat seeds and migrate to more hospitable climates in the winter months. TWhe vampire finch does not migrate, rather it supplements its diet with blood. Their main prey are seabirds on whose backs they perch and peck at to gain access to their blood.
The name may sound sweet, but these bugs are aggressive. They attack while you sleep, biting peoples faces to gain access to blood. Their bites can cause allergic reactions that may lead to breathing difficulties and even seizures. They also carry the parasite that causes Chagas disease.
Ticks may be small, but that doesn't stop them from getting their fill of blood. These creatures are capable of drinking up to 600 times their body weight in blood because of their outer shell, which stretches as they drink.
With a Latin name that literally translates as "vampire squid from hell" (that's (Vampyroteuthis infernalis, of course) you might expect this creature to be highly dangerous. But the vampire squid does not actually suck blood, rather it gets its name for its cape-like webbing that it uses as a shield.
Unlike mosquitos who fly away after snacking on your blood, fleas prefer to find a host and hang onto them.
Vampire bats sound scary, but they hardly alone: There are a surprising collection of critters on United States soil and surf that drink blood.