Camazotz is formed from the K'iche' words kame, meaning "death", and sotz', meaning "bat".
In the Popol Vuh, Camazotz are the bat-like monsters encountered by the Maya Hero Twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque during their trials in the underworld of Xibalba. The twins had to spend the night in the House of Bats where they squeeze themselves into their own blowguns in order to defend themselves from the circling bats. Hunahpu stuck his head out of his blowgun to see if the sun had risen and Camazotz immediately snatched off his head and carried it to the ballcourt to be hung up as the ball to be used by the gods in their next ballgame.
One of the most horrible deities of the underworld comes from the violent and frightening cosmology of the Maya civilization of Central America. The Mayan god of darkness, violence and sacrifice was Camazotz a flying bat god who inhabited Xibalba, the Mayan hell. Originally an anthropomorphic bat monster worshipped by the Zapotec Indians of Oaxaca, Camazotz was adopted into the Mayan pantheon as a vampire killer who reveled in slaughter. The deity appears throughout classical Mayan art and sculpture. Camazotz also features in the post-classical compendium of Mayan myths, the Popul Vuh, where he is master of a house of were-bats like himself. There he (or one of his minions) claws off the heads of one of the story’s twin heroes during their attempt to defeat the lords of Xibalba in a marathon ball tournament.
Giant Bat of Central and South America.
Etymology: Zapoteco (Oto-Manguean),
“death bat ” or “snatch bat .”
Variant names: Chonchon (in Peru and
Chile), H’ik’al (Tzotzil, “black-man”), Soucouyant
(in Trinidad), Tint in (in Ecuador), Zotzilaha
Physical description: Bat like head. Large knife or
leaflike protuberance on the nose. Sometimes
depicted solely as a flying head.
Behavior: Nocturnal. Call an “eek eek” or
“tui-tui-tui.” In Mayan lore, kills dying men on
their way to the center of the earth.
Distribution: Southern Mexico to northern
(1) Much Latin American bat -demon
mythology can be traced to the Common
vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), which
feeds entirely on the blood of vertebrates—
especially cattle and horses but sometimes
on humans. It silently approaches an
animal, lands on it , makes a tiny cut in the
skin, and laps up the blood flow. It runs
and hops on all fours as well as flies.
(2) The False vampire bat (Vampyrum
spectrum) has an elongated face and a small
noseleaf, unlike Desmodus. It is also much
larger, with a wingspan of 3 feet .
(3) Spear-nosed bats (Subfamily
Phyllost ominae) have large noseleaves and
are common throughout Central and South
(4) Surviving Giant Vampire Bat
(Desmodus draculae), a Pleistocene bat
known from fossils in southeastern Brazil.