The Most Spooktacular Species On Earth!

The Most Spooktacular Species On Earth!

Posted by Leanne Sturrock on 31st Oct 2016

Happy Halloween! While many of you around the world will be celebrating this holiday in style, adorning your homes with such creepy critters such as bats, rats, and spiders, allow us to introduce you to some of the scariest species on earth!

Box Jellyfish

Box jellyfish

How many of you remember the film 'Seven Pounds?' I remember heading to the cinema to enjoy me a little bit of Will Smith goodness, but by the time the film had finished I was absolutely traumatised - and these things are to blame for my reaction. While 'Seven Pounds' is, by no means, a horror story, anybody familiar with the film will recognise the ghostly image of a box jellyfish anywhere. In addition to its ghastly gait, it has 24 eyes (what!?) and a huge mass of tentacles - each one complete with 5000 stinging cells. And its these cells which hold a sinister secret power: interestingly, the cells react with certain chemicals found in its victim's flesh (think fish, shellfish and human beings), and this reaction triggers a lethal poisonous effect. A box jellyfish's venom causes seriously gruesome side effects, ultimately leading to a horrific fate for the victim. We'll leave it up to you to research exactly what happens after this jellyfish gets you with its sting...

Sea Angels

Sea Angel

Here we have yet another ethereal-looking creature, but don't be fooled. Contrary to its name, the Sea Angel is more of a satanic sea slug - see the devil horns on its head?! It is pretty much a cannibalistic entity, as they feed on their fellow pteropods...namely, the much less threatening Sea Butterfly. The Sea Angel grabs its pray with tentacles that COME OUT OF ITS MOUTH (seriously?!), before using hooks to pull its victim right out of its shell to gobble it whole. Too creepy.

The Sarcastic Fringehead

Sarcastic Fringehead

There ain't nothing funny about these freaky fish. Small and ferocious, this severed-head looking creature will lay in wait of its prey, concealing its body so only its ugly head is visible (and even then, its colouring makes it somewhat camouflaged to the unsuspecting victim.) As soon as food (or a threat, for that matter) becomes apparent, the fish expands its mouth to a grotesquely impressive size and will bite into its prey with sharp, gnashing teeth. The spider in the above photo actually seems to be having an easy ride, all things considered - but a quick Youtube search of these animals will show you their feeding habits in all their gory glory. Oh, and a bonus fact: two fringeheads will fight mouth to mouth over territory, which is surely enough to put anybody off of watching any romance films for the next century.

Aye Aye

Aye Aye

I feel kind of bad for including these guys, as they're pretty harmless (to human beings, anyway.) But, in the spirit of Halloween, the Aye Aye has made the list for a few of its freaky features. From its long, witch-like middle fingers to its wild-eyed gaze, the Aye Aye isn't much of a looker - and perhaps that's why this Madagascan lemur only comes out at night? Okay, now I really do feel like a bully...maybe it's time for some facts! Living high in the treetops and as a nocturnal member of the animal kingdom, the Aye Aye has adapted quite well to its lonely life, what with its rodent-like teeth and the aforementioned long fingers. It's actually with these qualities that the Aye Aye is able to feed itself, clinging to branches of trees as it pounces far and wide to find a tasty midnight snack. And once its sniffed out seeds, fruit, fungi, nectar or insect larva, the Aye Aye gets to work with claiming its dinner, tearing at bark with its teeth to create either a path to its desired food source, or to make a tiny hole for its long middle finger to slide into and claw out the goods. Yummy!


Black Widow

Black Widow

Possibly one of the most well-known creatures on this list, the Black Widow spider is perhaps the most sinister creepy-crawly on the whole planet. While it might not be the most poisonous spider (that title goes to Brazilian wandering spider, and we're not going to with argue him for it!), female Black Widows really do have a hunger for the horrific - namely, by devouring their partners. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...or, erm, is that starved?! While the widow's peckishness extends to other arachnids and small insects outside of its immediate circle (and not just their poor partners, like many people believe), reading about their feeding process is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. When prey has been enticed into the web, the widow ensnares the victim with its 'comb feet', wrapping them in a silk tomb before puncturing the prey with its fangs and injecting enzymes to liquefy the corpse. The spider then sucks up the fluid of its deceased dinner-guest. Gross.

To turn this post on its head a bit (no, not Exorcist style...), we'd love to banish a bit of the negative stigma some animals face all year round. Got a fear of snakes and sharks? Or do vampire-bats give you the heeby-jeebies? Then read on, while we give a little love to some of the most feared animals on earth!

If you're scared of...Sharks

Sharks

Okay, so sharks aren't the cuddliest looking creatures on the planet. I mean, sure they've got sharp teeth, and their faces look all scarred...but did you know that we're a way bigger threat to sharks than they are to us? If anything, they have every right to fear us humans: through activities such as shark finning, unsustainable fishing (in which sharks get caught in nets by mistake and killed), and general grotesque activities carried out by land-dwellers, we owe sharks more than just an apology. And when it comes to shark attacks, these big fish actually mean no harm to human life - in fact, when surfers (for example) are put at risk, it's actually because sharks see our silhouettes from below the water and mistake us for seals. They actually, categorically, do not like the taste of humans and therefore will never actively go on the attack with our demise in the front of their minds. And when it comes to the sheer likelihood of coming to harm at the fins of a shark...did you know that you're more likely to be killed by a falling coconut, a mosquito bite, or even a vending machine!?

If you can't stand the sight of...Snakes

Milk snake

Again, not the sweetest looking animal on earth...but snakes are, for the most part, quite harmless to humans. A large amount of snake species are really quite docile or venom-less, and other species, such as the milk snake, actually make for quite popular pets! (Just make sure not to put their pen next to Tweety Bird's cage, as they do still enjoy the odd feathery snack...) Shy and secretive, the milk snake prefers its own space but can be handled quite calmly, posing no threats whatsoever to humans. Go ahead, give this guy a cuddle...

If you can't bear to behold...Bats

Baby bat

Come on now, you're telling me that this little thing gives you the creeps?! When it comes to Halloween, there is possibly no creature quite as synonymous with the holiday than the vampire bat, and while that particular species might make your skin crawl (blood is icky, I know...), there are a huge number of other types of bat that are simply lovely and not at all threatening - take, for example, fruit bats. This particular member of the family is a vegetarian, as well being the biggest breed of them all...so if you want to get over your fears, maybe start by spending a little time with these fruit-loving friends! Want to know why else bats are awesome? Other species are actually largely beneficial to humans, and to the ecosystems that they're a part of, by being fantastically efficient pollinators of foodstuffs such as mangos or bananas. One last lovely fact about bats: they have very close family ties, with parents taking spectacular care of their young - and if anything tragic were to happen to a member of the neighborhood, Mr and Mrs Bat-Next-Door would quite possibly adopt the now parentless pups. Anyone else's heart about to burst?!


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