The Ethiopian Deathbird, also known as Deathbird, is an unknown bat of East Africa. It has a wingspan of 12–18 inches and is said to feed on the blood of animals and humans by causing puncture wounds and debilitating sickness. It is found in Devil’s Cave, somewhere near Nek’emte, in the Welega division of Ethiopia.
In the 1930s, Byron de Prorok explored a cave said by the locals to be haunted by hyena-men and a deathbird. The hyenas proved real enough, and so did the deathbirds, in the form of a huge swarm of bats. De Prorok noted that goatherds in the area looked very debilitated, and they blamed their condition on bites from these bats.
- The only known sanguinivorous bats are found in Mexico, Central, and South America. Infected bites from parasites carried by the bats might be mistaken for bat bites.
- Fungal spores from guano or Leptospira bacteria causing Weil’s syndrome, which produces liver and kidney problems, meningitis, and vomiting, could be mistakenly blamed on bat bites.
- African vampire legends might also exaggerate a normal bat’s activities.