Just in time for Halloween, we present for your reading enjoyment, some of the scariest creepy-crawlies alive today. From vampires to zombies, the animal world is full of spooktacular critters.
Attribution: Desmodus; Wikimedia CC 3.0
Bats of all kind tend to be feared, but none so much as the vampire bat. This is probably because vampire bats feed exclusively on blood. They are native to the Americas and range from Mexico to South America. They have developed special features that help them to survive. Their front teeth are razor sharp for cutting and piercing, and they have thermoreceptors on their noses that help them locate areas where the blood flows close to the skin.
When vampire bats go in search of food, they find a sleeping animal and then use their canine teeth to shave away the hair before biting. A vampire bat’s saliva contains anticoagulants that will keep the victim’s blood from clotting, allowing the bat to eat until full. A vampire bat must search for food often because they can only survive about two days without a meal of blood. On occasion, donor bats will regurgitate a small amount of blood to help sustain other colony members. Although vampire bats mostly feed on animals like cows, goats, and birds, they will sometimes bite humans. The biggest concern with these bites is the transmission of rabies. It doesn’t happen often, but in 2010, four children in Peru died from vampire bat bites.
Attribution: Snakecollector; Wikimedia CC 2.0
The Goliath Birdeater Tarantula
The largest spider in the world by size and mass is the Goliath Tarantula. It is so big that it can eat small animals and birds. With a whopping 11 inch leg span and a weight of over 6 ounces, the Goliath can be quite a scary critter to run into. They are native to the rainforests of South America and are considered a delicacy by some native cultures. The tarantula is said to have a shrimplike flavor when roasted between banana leaves.
When Goliath birdeater tarantulas are threatened, they will rub their legs together to make a hissing sound. They can then release their hind leg hairs, which act as severe irritants to skin and mucous membranes. If the hissing is not enough, the spider can sink its inch long fangs into its attacker. Luckily, its venom is relatively harmless to humans, and bites are usually only in self defense. It is unlikely that you will ever meet a Goliath Tarantula in the wild, but if you hate spiders, it may haunt your nightmares.
Attribution: Sharadpunita; Wikimedia CC 3.0
The emerald cockroach wasp is a parasite that uses a cockroach to reproduce. A cockroach is much bigger than the wasp, so it has developed a unique way to gain control over the cockroach. The female emerald wasp stings the cockroach two times. The first sting paralyzes the cockroach’s front legs. The second sting is in a precise area of the cockroach’s brain that blocks the ability of the cockroach to initiate movement. This does not mean that the cockroach can not move, only that it can not decide to move on its own. The emerald wasp then manipulates the cockroach’s behavior, basically turning it into a zombie that will do what the wasp wants. The emerald wasp will bite off the ends of the cockroach’s antenna and will lead the cockroach back to its burrow.
Once in the burrow, the wasp will lay an egg on the cockroach. After it is hatched, the larva will chew its way into the abdomen of the cockroach, eating the internal organs in a specific order so that it can keep the cockroach alive long enough for it to form a cocoon. During this whole process, the cockroach remains under the wasp’s control and will not seek to escape. A full grown wasp will eventually emerge from the remains of the cockroach and leave the burrow to go make its own zombie cockroach.
Lucky for us, none of these particular creatures live in Oklahoma. There are, however, plenty of species of bats, spiders, wasps and cockroaches that are native to our area. These household pests can be both annoying and dangerous. If you are tired of creepy crawlies in your home, call Midwest Pest Control. We are a family run business and pride ourselves on the values of loyalty, excellence, and courtesy. WIth a 100% satisfaction guarantee, you have nothing to lose. Happy Halloween from Midwest Pest Control!