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Biologist Says Warm Winters May Lure Vampire Bats

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AUSTIN (AP) - A Texas biologist says recent milder winters may attract some new, bloodthirsty wildlife to South Texas.

Vampire bats are native to South and Central America and Mexico. Texas State University biologist and wildlife disease expert Ivan Castro-Arellano tells the Austin American-Statesman that if the mild winters continue, colonies of the nonmigratory species could resettle in Texas in 50 years or less, and the state should prepare.

The biologist is one of more than 40 scientists working with the Institute for the Study of Invasive Species in Huntsville grappling with the potential threat.

The concern is the cost to livestock, since the bats feed off the blood of mostly sleeping mammals. Castro-Arellano says Vampire bats cost Mexican ranchers millions of dollars in losses annually.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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