Spooky Species That Help Our Ecosystem

Bothered by bats? Spooked by spiders?  Don’t be! Let’s take advantage of the Halloween season to dispel misconceptions about some of the world’s “creepiest” animals!

Often disregarded as “flying rodents,” bats make up a distinct group of mammals known as chiropterans. They are surprisingly diverse, accounting for about 25% percent of all known mammal species. Some bats eat insects, others eat fruit, and yes, a few drink the blood of other animals.

Contrary to popular belief, bats are not pests; in fact, they play a very important role in controlling insect populations and pollinating tropical plants. Many of the plant-based products that we enjoy, such as bananas and tequila, would not be available without the help of bats.

Much like bats, spiders consume vast quantities of insects, many of which are agricultural pests. Very few North American species are capable of injuring humans with their venom, and those that are tend to avoid humans at all costs!

Owls have been the source of human myths, legends, and superstitions since time immemorial. Found on every continent except Antarctica, these big-eyed birds of prey are expert rodent snatchers. Owls have adapted to a variety of ecosystems, from deserts to tropical rain forests to Arctic tundra.

This Halloween season, stop by your local zoo or aquarium to come face to face with critters that go bump in the night. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you learn!

Happy Halloween!