Attack of the Bloodsuckers!
Ecotarium, Worcester, MA
EcoTarium, a small zoo and natural history museum in Wooster, Massachusetts, needed a model of a vampire bat for an exhibit entitled, Attack of the Bloodsuckers! It was a small job with a very limited budget, but the challenge of sculpting such a tiny and detailed animal appealed to George.
Wildlife Preservations begins every job with research. George consulted Bat Conservation International, (BCI), in Austin, Texas, and went online to search for photo and video reference. A reproduction skull and mandibles of a common vampire bat was purchased from Skulls Unlimited in order to expedite the sculpting process. George began adding the features of the head by applying epoxy modeling material directly over the small skull. The facial details were shaped with fine sculpting tools, and the tiny ears were formed from thin sheets of aluminum.
The basic form of the body was carved out of styrofoam. The foam was then covered with moleskin. Flock made from kangaroo fur served as the lighter colored belly.
George fabricated the wing bones and feet of the bat out of various gauges of brass wire. A Dremel tool was used to shape the toe bones and the claws on the end of each wing. The thin membranes of the wings were created with ordinary clear packing tape covered with a thin coating of Modge Podge.
It took George only three and a half days to finish the vampire bat model. The curators and staff at EcoTarium were overjoyed by the terrifying results, as were the visitors to the exhibit.
To see more images of the vampire bat, click here
To view or download a PDF of an article from Breakthrough Magazine that describes this project in greater detail, click here
To learn more about this exhibit, click here