As a special Halloween treat, we’ve cooked up a factoid scarefest about some of the world’s creepiest—and not so creepy—animals:
- The black mamba may be the world’s biggest, fastest, and deadliest snake, with venom that kills humans often in less time than it takes to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, but they are actually shy animals who prefer to use their speed to escape predators rather than attack. Many Africans even consider them to be guardians of the forest.
- There’s nothing that makes me jump like seeing a tarantula on a path in the Los Angeles hills, but tarantulas’ appearance is far worse than their bite—for humans, that is. Tarantulas—who can live to be 30 years old in the wild—feast mainly on insects, and some species use a filament of silk as a trip wire to let them know when a meal is approaching.
- It’s a myth that touching a toad’s skin can give you warts, but toad skin is unusual. The skin doesn’t grow, so every now and then, toads pull it off and eat it, revealing a brand-new skin.
- What’s scarier than a zombie? How about a zombie cockroach? One wasp species injects cockroaches with venom that makes them unable to move on their own, allowing the wasp to steer the cockroach to her burrow, where she lays her eggs on the cockroach. The wasp larvae then eat the cockroach alive.
- And while we know that flesh is for zombies, there’s nothing that black vultures—who mate for life—enjoy more than a romantic meal for two over a nice carcass. Black vultures will attack any third wheel who gets too cozy with a vulture’s partner.
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I might open the door to my burrow in a tarantula costume when this year’s trick-or-treaters knock, but check out some other last-minute costume ideas.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan