It is the week for tricks and treats and all things that go bump and boo in the night. Of course I am talking about the wonderfully wicked holiday of Halloween, where the chocolate flows and the screams are in abundance. This holiday seems to bring the fear out in most people and have them on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary that might be a scary symbol of bad omens. It is unfortunate that certain animals have come under this scrutiny because they have become symbols of this holiday.
|Spider: Golden Orbweaver|
Spiders, for instance, are hung from trees and webs are stretched over windows as Halloween decorations. I have to admit I wouldn’t want to walk through a real spider web, but I don’t think they should get the bad reputation they have. Spiders generally don’t bother people and try to make their beautiful webs out of the way of people and in the most advantageous spot in order to catch their food source. Most spiders aren’t dangerous to humans if they do happen to bite. All spiders will bite to protect themselves, but a majority of the time it is as harmless as a bee sting (unless you have allergies). Spiders also do good for our environment by eating insects that might otherwise infest certain areas of habitat or even our houses and they are even considered good luck in some cultures.
|Snake: Pygmy Rattlesnake|
Another not so scary animal is the snake. Now some of these creatures can definitely pack a bite and in our area of Florida there are a few that are venomous. However, the snakes are not trying to break into our homes and slide up inside next to us in bed. I am sure they would much rather prefer to be left alone. This is one of the reasons that humans get bit -- they enter the snake’s territory and scare the bejesus out of them, causing the snake to strike. If you aren’t careful, you can step on one hiking in the woods or doing work in your yard. We share the habitat with these creatures and it is wise to read up on what species may be making their home in your neighborhood so you can be informed about what you can do in your yard to avoid being bitten.
The other day while hiking through the woods, I saw a Praying Mantis; the first one I have ever seen in the wild. It is an unassuming bug that was actually trying its hardest to blend into the brown handrail. Unfortunately, it caught my eye, even though it wasn’t moving. In true praying form, this creature was standing still with its legs together in a praying gesture. Could this be why it is called a “Praying” Mantis? If you want to get down to the scary factor on these creatures, the female is known to bite off the head of the male when they are finished mating. Talk about scary stuff!
I have learned over the years that things aren’t always what they seem and most things that you are scared of are just misunderstood.
This Halloween, keep your eyes open for what creatures may lurk in the darkness; give them the benefit of the doubt because they aren’t all bad.
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