Feeding Habits of Vampires

== DISCLAIMER: the Varied Nature of the Vampire ==

There are many interpretations of the vampire myth both in folklore and legend. The nature of the vampire varies greatly from culture to culture and often from region to region with a general cultural area. There are documents available in nonfiction archives that will demonstrate some of the diversity of the legend just within the narrow geographic region of southern and central Europe. In the pages of fiction, each author has his or her own unique interpretation of the vampire. The same can be said about films concerning the vampire. The precise answer to many of the questions discussed below and on the list in general will depend on your definition of the vampire. What is written here is an attempt to distill a consensus of opinion from discussions that have taken place on the list. (VAMPYRES list ~ July 1991)

== FEEDING: Frequency, amount and animal vs. human ==

Most sources agree that the vampire need not feed nightly, nor need the vampire kill his victim. Probably the two authors cited most often on VAMPYRES are Anne Rice (_The Vampire Chronicles_) and Bram Stoker (_Dracula_). Both of these authors often show their vampires taking a relatively small amount of blood from their victims. Victims sometimes linger for days before succumbing to death. Some victims are never killed. While it is not necessary to kill the victim it always remains an option. Rice describes her vampires as experiencing great pleasure in the kill. Dracula's victims usually die eventually. The Count appears to haunt one victim continuously until that victim finally is exhausted by the constant drain of blood.

Rice occasionally has her vampires go without feeding for long periods of time, entering a state of suspended animation, sometimes for years. Her older vampires do not really need to feed at all. Dracula feeds more regularly but he also appears to be able to go without feeding for days at a time.

The folklore of Europe also makes it clear that the vampire may not necessarily kill his victim during the first attack. Victims are often described as gradually wasting away over a period of days or weeks. Other victims are reported to have been slain in a single attack.

Whether the vampire can subsist off animal blood or must feast on the blood of living humans is regularly a topic of debate on the list. As much as any other topic, the answer to this question depends on the precise interpretation of the vampire you are using. Rice occasionally has her vampire subsist off animal blood, though she makes it clear that human blood is much more desirable. Dracula is never shown subsisting on anything other than the blood of human victims.

European folklore would seem to allow the vampire to feed from animals. In many parts of Europe vampires were reported to have assaulted cattle and other domestic animals. In some regions the vampires appear to have fed mainly off the cattle and sheep herds of the peasants. In other areas, vampires are almost never reported attacking animals but seem to restrict themselves exclusively to human victims.

Author: Dragon


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