As I asked the question about whether or not modern day vampires were merely super heroes, it got me wondering:

Where is the first depiction of a vampire who does not kill humans? In other words, a vampire who must drink blood to survive, but has enough of a conscience that he or she takes steps to avoid killing anyone.

There are three possibilities for this, one is that they drink blood without killing the person (drinking human blood from blood bags would fall into this category). Another is drinking from animals. The last is a technological solution, such as having synthetic blood as a replacement for human blood, or any other workaround that is built out of engineering.

The main issue is who is the first vampire to not want to kill humans to survive, so any of the three methods would count. However, as a bonus, it would be interesting to know the first occurrence of each.

Also, it has to be a vampire who not merely regrets killing humans, but actually survives somehow without killing humans.

Any media counts - books, movies, TV, short stories, comics...

Traditional folklore, if it applies, would be interesting to note, but the focus of this question is on specific nameable works of fiction, since folklore is so malleable.

Also, we're looking for a character that is undeniably a vampire. Damphirs (half human, half vampire), humans infected with vampire blood but not fully realized vampires (perhaps not undead yet), or other variants don't count. Yes, I realize there could probably be a lot of debate on what counts as a "true" vampire, but let's try our best to come to a consensus on it.

  • If someone wants an easy bunch of rep (well, not EASY), a good list of relevant works is tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VegetarianVampire . Date and sort away. Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 15:19
  • look at the content. The name of the trope was ironic - it includes vampires that refrain from drinking blood on principle Commented Feb 18, 2012 at 15:27
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    Would Count Duckula count? He was a vegitarian because they used ketchup instead of blood,by mistake, when creating him. So he's a vegetarian vampire!!
    – AidanO
    Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 14:18
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    Count Duckula first aired in 1981 in the Danger Mouse cartoon before he got his own show around 1988. I would have loved if this was the answer!!
    – AidanO
    Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 16:20
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    +1 for a great question, one of the more intriguing ones that I've encountered on this site.
    – FoxMan2099
    Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 3:16

9 Answers 9


La morte amoureuse a.k.a. The Dead Woman in Love short story written by Théophile Gautier in 1836.

It does fit one of your points:

There are three possibilities for this, one is that they drink blood without killing the person

From La Morte Amoureuse, aka The Dead Woman In Love, aka Clarimonde:

"One drop, only one drop! One ruby at the end of my needle.... Since thou lovest me yet, I must not die!... Ah, poor love! His beautiful blood, so brightly purple, I must drink it. Sleep, my only treasure! Sleep, my god, my child! I will do thee no harm; I will only take of thy life what I must to keep my own from being forever extinguished. But that I love thee so much, I could well resolve to have other lovers whose veins I could drain; but since I have known thee all other men have become hateful to me...."

  • Thanks Joe for the edit. The answer improved so much.
    – Mitra
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 18:04
  • Just curious, why doesn't this answer fit the question? It seems to be exactly what's being asked and pre-dates the accepted answer by 100 years.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 18:06
  • Because the answer which was picked is from more than one year ago (the question is from 3 years ago) and I have just proposed a new one now? ;)
    – Mitra
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 18:08
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    that's not a problem, that happens all the time. If your answer is correct, it will get upvotes and, depending on the OP, they may even switch their answer.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 18:10
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    @Joe: Well since the writer is French, it isn't a big surprise. He is one of "the classic writer" you should know about if you happen to be French (which I am) He was a friend of V. Hugo and I think he is mostly known for his poetry and for being the master of the 'Parnasse' mouvement (which counts Baudelaire for instance)
    – Mitra
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 18:28

1956: "She Only Goes Out at Night . . ." by William Tenn (pseudonym of Philip Klass), first published in Fantastic Universe, October 1956, available at the Internet Archive, is about a young lady vampire named Tatiana Latianu

He came back about eleven-thirty, looking as old as his father. I was right, all right. When he'd wakened Tatiana and asked her straight, she'd broken down and wept a couple of buckets-full. Yes, she was a vampire, but she'd only got the urge a couple of months ago. She'd fought it until her mind began to crack. Then she'd found that she could make herself invisible, when the craving hit her. She'd only touched kids, because she was afraid of grown-ups—they might wake up and be able to catch her. But she'd kind of worked on a lot of kids at one time, so that no one kid would lose too much blood. Only the craving had been getting stronger . . .

and the country doctor who cures her:

The only thing none of us counted on was Doc. Not enough, that is.

Once he'd been introduced to Tatiana and heard her story, his shoulders straightened and the lights came back on in his eyes. The sick children would be all right now. That was most important. And as for Tatiana—

"Nonsense," he told her. "Vampirism might have been an incurable disease in the fifteenth century, but I'm sure it can be handled in the twentieth. First, this nocturnal living points to a possible allergy involving sunlight and perhaps a touch of photophobia. You'll wear tinted glasses for a bit, my girl, and we'll see what we can do with hormone injections. The need for consuming blood, however, presents a somewhat greater problem."

But he solved it:

They make blood in a dehydrated, crystalline form these days. So every night before Mrs. Steven Judd goes to sleep, she shakes some powder into a tall glass of water, drops in an ice-cube or two and has her daily blood toddy. Far as I know, she and her husband are living happily ever after.


If you don't include experiments, the first one I can think of is Interview with the Vampire which was initially published in 1976. Louis chooses to drink animal blood rather than kill humans.

  • @DaveMG I would say that if you are excluding Vampires like Blade who weren't full vampires to begin with then Louis would be the first.
    – Legion600
    Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 18:33
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    Well, if a tie-breaker is needed: Interview with a Vampire was published in April 1976, and Blade didn't become a full-fledged vamp until July of 1976.
    – Meg Coates
    Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 21:08

Using the TVTropes link the earliest would be Marvel's Blade: the Vampire Hunter who first appeared in Tomb Of Dracula #10 in July 1973.

Although Blade began as only a Dhampir due to his mother being bitten while she was giving birth to him and he did not have had the need to feed on blood but he also only had human strength. This all changed when he was bitten by Morbius: The Living Vampire in issue #8 of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man (July 1976).

Because Morbius' vampirism was derived from an experimental treatment of a rare blood disorder rather than a bite, this led to Blade gaining many of the traditional vampire powers without gaining any of the weaknesses. However, he does have a need to drink blood but chooses to fight the urges. In the movies this led to his using a serum that killed the cravings.

  • @DaveMG Yes, but he is now a full vampire apart from the ability to walk in daylight. Then again, Dracula was able to walk in full daylight as well. The sun limited his ability to transform at will to only dawn, noon, and dusk. At night he could transform at will.
    – Legion600
    Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 4:39

Barnabas Collins, Dark Shadows TV series 1966-1971. When the vampire Barnabas Collins was released from captivity after 172 years, after he bit the character that released him, he originally fed on cows and calves. Later he fed on humans. When he was originally cursed he fed exclusively on humans.

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    This would be a more useful answer if you added some details. (Which of the three options was he? When and why did he start not killing humans? And so on...)
    – Micah
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 14:46

Perhaps it was Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko in 1998. Night Watch has a whole category of "good" vampires that drink blood from blood banks or animals rather than prey on humans. It's the earliest example of "good" vampires I've read.


The vampires in The Saga of Darren Shan don't kill people when they feed on them. Their cousins, the vampaneze, do. Desmond Tiny is responsible for this, as he is responsible for their sterility and being nocturnal. The same is true in Twilight. I'm sure there were stories that came out about vampires letting their victims live before Darren Shan and Stephanie Meyer were born, but their stories are the only ones I could think of off the top of my head. Darren Shan's vampires breathe out a gas that makes victims unconscious, but it wears off after a few hours, making people unaware that vampires fed on them.

  • That series was published between 2000 and 2004. There are much older examples in other answers.
    – user41830
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 4:56

Draculaura from Monster High doesn't feed on humans or animals. She is a vegan vampire, which means she feeds on plants. So does Bunnicula. If more vampires were like them, then people wouldn't fear them.

  • Monster High was first published in 2010, decades after several works mentioned in other answers. Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 0:13

The 2000 children's movie "The Little Vampire" was based on the books of Angela Sommer-Bodenburg. The movie version had the vampires looking for a magic amulet that would restore their humanity, and they refused to drink human blood, opting instead for cow's blood. In the books, the vampires never wanted to become mortal. The movie was a sweet story, starring Jonathan Lipnicki, Rollo Weeks, Richard E. Grant, Alice Krige, Dean Cook, and a host of others.

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    The accepted answer is October 1956. Since your answer is 2000 it is not very helpful. The book the movie is based on is from 1979 which is better, but still much too late. Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 3:45

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