Halloween is the time of frights and screams as ghouls and monsters pop out of the woodwork. But when it comes down to it, we know most of these haunts aren’t real. So what can be scarier than some of the real-life creepy insects and animals in the world?
As I was doing research for this article, I really started to get creeped out! I’m not one for being afraid of many things these days. When I was younger, I didn’t see a scary movie until I was almost 16 years old. I remember vividly my first scary movie: Amityville Horror. It was at a friend’s Sweet 16 birthday party. Everyone was enjoying the movie, but I sat there horrified and finally asked to call my parents so I could go home. When I got home and went to bed, I lay there in the dark and all of a sudden just freaked out! My dad heard me scream and came running and I literally leapt into his arms. So that night I slept with the lights on and my little sister in bed with me for comfort (i.e. protection). I didn’t watch any scary movies again until I was in my early twenties. Then something just clicked and I wasn’t affected by them at all. To this day I can pretty much watch anything scary, gross, disgusting, and disturbing without affecting how I sleep or feel about things. I guess knowing it’s “just a movie” helps.
But these things are real! So, yes, I’m a little creeped out now! EEKS!
Here we go: ten of the creepiest animals or insects in the world. We’ll start at number ten.
#10 – Lobster Moth Caterpillar
This creepy caterpillar is found in the British Isles. It has a large head with four long thoracic legs that give it the appearance of a spider from the front, and a large anal segment that rears back to look like some sort of alien (that’s the lobster looking part). I guess the sheer form of its larval stage grossed me out. Definitely on the creepy side if you ask me!
#9 – Hagfish
This thing looks like something out of a science fiction movie! I can see it now, the giant hagfish waits as its minions bring innocent children as offerings and it devours them. These guys are covered in slime, and can produce it fast enough to clog a predator’s gills. They can also tie themselves in knots and weird ways to confuse predators. The best thing about them is they’re mostly deep sea creatures—I think I’ll stay far away!
#8 - Giant Long-Legged Katydid from Malaysia
I picked this one for its sheer size! Holy Katydid Batman! These insect-eaters are the largest katydids in the world. They’re closely related to crickets and can grow up to 6 inches in length. That’s around the size of your hand! Thank goodness that despite their size and looks they’re gentle creatures. I don’t know about you, but I’d still be running the other way!
#7 - Maggot of a Bluebottle Fly—found worldwide
This thing is born in feces and eats feces, and they don’t mind dead things either—uh, gross! It doesn’t look any better, either. Maggots are already disgusting to see, but the view with an electron microscope is worse. After a few days living in the larvae state, they burrow into the ground and form a cocoon. Two weeks later you get a fly! Take a look at it here!
#6 - Brazilian Treehopper
These things are alien looking! Found in Brazil, hence the name, they adorn some serious headgear! Think it’s not real? Google it!
#5 – The Poodle Moth
This moth was discovered in 2009 in Venezuela and is thought to be a new species. Not much is known about it, other than that it’s trippy looking!! The Creator sure has a sense of humor! The photographer who discovered this new moth is pretty much the only one to have taken a photo of it. See for yourself on his flickr page!
#4 – Naked Mole Rat
The naked mole rat is native to East Africa. It only is about 3–4 inches long and about 1–2 oz in weight, but it sure packs a punch in the ugly department. They are adapted well to living underground (thankfully!) and use their teeth for digging. Personally, I’d run the other way if I saw it in the alley!
#3 – Scotoplanes Globosa or Sea Pig
These are also known as the abyssal sea cucumber, or more recently the Cthulhu Larva, and spend their entire lives in a colony scouring the depths of the ocean. They can inflate and deflate their feet with water, which is odd enough, but to me they just look like fangs, and more fang-like growths are on top of their body for what reason? See what it looks like here!
#2 - Trogloraptor Spider
I. Hate. Spiders. They give me nightmares just hearing the word! Millions of people are probably the same way; otherwise the movie “Arachnophobia” would never have been made. I didn’t see that movie. Heck no! And I wish I hadn’t seen this spider nor heard of it. I won’t be visiting Oregon caves, EVER! The Trogloraptor Spider is a cave dwelling spider in the Oregon region that can reach a size of three inches with hook-like claws on the last segment of their legs. They hang from cave roofs on a few strands of web, waiting to snag some flying prey. Run the other way!
#1 – Tarantula Hawk
Normally a spider probably would have been my number one on the creepy list (and I know I wouldn’t be alone), but this one, well, it trumped all others because it eats spiders. But it doesn’t eat just any little spider. No, these guys eat tarantulas! The Tarantula Hawk is a ginormous, spider eating wasp! Their legs are specially made for grappling with their victims and they even have a stinger that’s a third of an inch long. Tarantulas aren’t the only ones who’d best avoid these wasps though. The Tarantula Hawk’s sting is apparently the second most painful insect sting in the world.
Now we can enjoy Halloween knowing there are some real scary creatures out in the world. And if we’re lucky, we’ll never meet most of them.Lobster Moth Caterpillar photo: Wilhelmhelmut on Wikimedia CommonsHagfish photo: NOAA Photo Library on flickrGiant Long-Legged Katydid photo: andytang20 on flickrBrazilian Treehopper photo: © Troy Bartlett on Nature CloseupsNaked Mole Rat photo: Jedimentat44 on flickrTrogloraptor Spider photo: Griswold, Charles; Audisio, Tracy; Ledford, Joel on ZooKeys and NCBITarantula Hawk photo: Julio.ospinao on Wikimedia Commons
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