Halloween Wildlife

Toads are not just a key ingredient in witches’ brew, they are Woodhouse Toadimportant environmental indicators. All amphibians are susceptible to environmental toxins because of their sensitive skin. They are usually the first species to die out in polluted areas. If you have healthy toad populations in your area, it’s a good sign that your neighborhood is fairly unpolluted. And no, you cannot catch warts from touching a toad.

Toads are voracious pest predators in the warm months, but go into underground hibernation by late fall and won’t emerge until spring.

Spiders, with their eight legs and multiple eyes, are creatures right Spider crossing over background of autumn sunsetout of nightmares—and their sticky webs and venomous fangs don’t help their public image either. But even though they might look scary, spiders are actually extremely beneficial predators of all sorts of insect pests. And only three species have venom considered strong enough to hurt people: the black widow, the brown recluse and the hobo.

In the fall, female spiders are guarding egg sacks which hold the next generation of spiders.

The howl of the wolf can cause either heart-rending terror or Gray Wolfspiritual inspiration. People have either vilified or glorified wolves throughout history, but the real life wild canines are neither hounds of hell or spiritual guides. In reality, gray wolves are top predators that play a key role in balancing the ecosystem. They control deer and other prey populations as well as other predators lower down on food chain, like coyotes and raccoons.

Once found throughout North America, the only remaining gray wolf populations live in the northern United States and Canada. At this time of year, they are in the process of growing their thick winter coats to guard against winter’s bitter temperatures.

Copperhead SnakeThe slithering, legless body. The forked tongue. The lidless eyes. Everything about a snake is decidedly non-human. But even though they strike fear in many people, most snake species are completely harmless. In fact, snakes are enormously beneficial, helping to control insect and rodent pests. The only time a snake will try to bite is if it’s cornered or startled. The natural reaction of all snakes to people is to get away or hide.

By late October, most snakes are moving to their underground hibernation grounds, where they will doze away the cold months waiting for the warmer days of spring.


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This post was written by qni_it on October 30, 2007

2 Comments so far

  1. Anonymous October 31, 2007 4:04 PM

    that stuff is cool. thanks

    angie from rockton

  2. Jeff Davis November 4, 2007 4:57 PM

    As you are a fan of amphibians, would you consider doing a post on Amphibian Ark? I have a lot of postings about that very important conservation campaign on my blog, http://frogmatters.wordpress.com. And the Amphibian Ark Web site is http://www.amphibianark.org. Thanks for considering.

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