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13 vampire animals

By: Russell McLendon on Oct. 1, 2010, 11:30 a.m.
Kissing bug

Photo: Arizona Department of Health Services

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Kissing bug

Their name may not sound very scary, but "kissing bugs" can be even worse than bedbugs. They're bigger and more aggressive, for example, and often bite people's faces to drink their blood. They attack while you're asleep, but unlike bedbugs, they can also spread disease — namely the parasite that causes Chagas disease.

Chagas is most common in Latin America, and while U.S. outbreaks are rare, kissing bugs have still caused trouble lately in Southwestern states like Arizona and Texas. Aside from spreading Chagas, their bites can spur allergic reactions including swollen-shut eyes, blistered skin, breathing difficulties and even seizures. The best way to control kissing bugs and other so-called "assassin bugs" is to close any entry points to a house, such as gaps under doors, windows and walls.

To see how brutal assassin bugs can be, check out this video of them attacking bats, including a fellow vampire: