Vampire Bats at Silver Bay

In August of 1934, the first-ever film footage of Central American vampire bats was screened at Silver Bay with narration by Dr. Raymond Lee Ditmars of the New York Zoological Park (today’s Bronx Zoo).


A noted American herpetologist, Dr. Ditmars was a legend among snake fanciers but also an expert on insects and mammals. Prior to his Silver Bay appearance, Ditmars had published Strange Animals I Have Known (1931), Snakes of the World (1931) and a revised edition of his Reptiles of the World (1933).

He followed his Saturday evening vampire bat talk with a Sunday evening lecture on The Story of Creation, illustrating “the divine arrangement of the Four Seasons” with motion pictures of birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. It has been said that many herpetologists fell in love with reptiles through reading Dr. Ditmars’ books; I have a feeling he inspired his fair share of nightmares as well.


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