It’s officially spooky season! With Halloween fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to talk all things creepy-crawly with some Halloween animal facts! From actually vampiric bats that survive off of the blood of cattle to the plethora of cannibalistic insects that eat anything – including their own mothers! This world is full of spooky creepy-crawlies, here’s just a few of our favourites.
Some bats do suck blood!
Believe it or not, there is actually a breed of bat that sucks blood! In fact, the Vampire Bat is the only mammal that feeds entirely on blood. It lives in the tropics of Mexico, as well as Central and Southern America. They usually hunt on sleeping animals like cattle and horses, although they have been known to feed on humans too! It even has a heat sensing nose which leads the bat towards a spot just under the animal’s skin where warm blood is flowing. The teeth are razor sharp to help them bite and their saliva helps to prevent the blood from clotting. They never remove enough blood to significantly harm the host, though!
Fatally green lizards?
There are species of lizard that are completely green! From their blood and circulatory system all the way to their bones, muscles and even tongue; their entire body is a brilliant green. Native to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, there are five species of skink lizards with this emerald colouring, and they belong to the genus Prasinohaema which is, funnily enough, Greek for ‘green blood’. What causes this ghoulish green is a pigment called biliverdin, which can actually cause jaundice in humans, but is not an issue for the skinks. The lizards have 20 times more biliverdin in their bodies than humans have ever been recorded to withstand. The highest recorded level in humans was fatal and scientists are looking into whether these viridescent lizards could help provide new insights into illnesses like jaundice and malaria.
Some insects are cannibals
It’s a tough world out there and some insects have to do whatever they can to survive, including eating each other. Adult ladybirds, for example, will often eat new-born and freshly moulted ladybirds, and young harlequin ladybirds often eat other ladybird eggs to help them survive. There are also some species of spider that eat their own mothers! This is called matriphagy and mainly occurs in a species native to South America. The mothers, and often virgin females too, begin producing a fluid once the eggs begin to hatch. It’s incredibly nourishing and will slowly use up all their natural resources. They feed this to the baby spiders via mouth and once they are almost completely depleted, the babies will crawl onto them and begin eating them.
The platypus looks rather cute, but they are actually very dangerous and venomous animals. While most venomous animals secrete their venom through teeth or fangs, platypuses have a more inventive way to protect themselves. Male platypuses have spurs on the backs of their ankles that measure half an inch long and are filled with venom. Scientists believe that they are used to fight rivals during mating season. Luckily the venom isn’t dangerous or life-threatening to humans, but they are intensely painful and can be lethal to small animals. The venom contains over 80 different toxins and is similar to venomous snakes, sea anemones, and even spiders.
So, as you can see, the world is full of animals with some super spooky habits. We hope you’ve enjoyed delving into the world of creepy-crawlies with us, and keep your eyes peeled for part “boo” of this blog for more frightening facts.