Monsters, ghosts and ghouls will all be upon us come the witching hour on Halloween. But sometimes spooky, scary and gruesome beasts can be found more readily in nature. Huffington Post pulled together a collection of some of the most spine-tingling flora and fauna for your macabre ‘enjoyment.’
The intimidating spikes protect against predators but also collect drinking water from any part of the body. Its skin changes from pale colors when warm to darker colors when cold.
Just one look at these ghastly fish shows you why theyâ€™re included in our list.
Weird eyes, a bony body, a lure coming out of their heads and big sharp teeth all contribute to the Angler Fishâ€™s spine-tingling appearance. Thatâ€™s not to mention its huge mouth that can expand so much that it can swallow prey twice its size. It uses the fleshy growth from its head as a lure to attract prey, much like an angler with a fishing rod.
Bees are often thought of as a mere annoyance, but when these grisly mass-murdering bees are just a little scarier. The males, on scenting a female, engage in a fighting frenzy during mating season that results in every single one of them being dying. Whole generations can be wiped out. Here, a male is pictured with the decapitated head of an unfortunate female, who often get caught in the fighting.
Greater Bulldog Bat
Whether itâ€™s vampires, darkness, death or the underworld, all over the world bats bring to mind spooky thoughts and dark imagery. When bats can be as big and as ruthless as the Greater Bulldog, itâ€™s easy to see why. With a wingspan of over three feet, sharp claws and sonar so precise that they can detect the tiniest fishâ€™s fin poking out of the water, these bats are truly fearsome animals. When they detect a fish these Central and South American bats then swoop down using their claws to snag the fish, which they take back to their perch to eat.
Very little is known about these gruesome snake-like amphibians that appear to have no eyes. In actual fact, these underground dwellersâ€™ eyes are covered by skin and they do have dark-light perception. But an eyeless eel-like creature is bound to give anyone the heebie-jeebies, especially when it can grow up to almost five feet long. Caecilians have vertebrate characteristics such as jaws and teeth, but not much is known about what they eatâ€¦creepy.
Venus Fly Trap
Carnivorous plants are often a horror film favorite and itâ€™s likely that the inspiration came from the Venus Fly Trap.A grizzly death awaits its prey, which is first trapped by the plantâ€™s lobes in 0.1 seconds, then digested over a period of ten days. Itâ€™s also unlikely that the small insects and spiders that the Fly Trap eats would ever escape once resting on it. If a different hair on the trap is contacted within twenty seconds of contact with the first, the trap shuts. The efficient Venus Fly Trap uses this mechanism to differ from raindrops and other objects with no nutritional value.
Texas Blind Salamander
These cave dwellers bear more than a resemblance to a ghost with no eyes and almost translucent white skin. Seeing this amphibian is akin to a spooky apparition in more ways than one, as less than 100 remain in the world. The Blind Salamander can go for several months without food but when something does swim past receptors in its skin can detect the slightest movements in the water to identify prey. Its strange appearance is due to losing the pigment in its skin after years in the darkness. And it is only compounded by the external gills on its head, necessary for water low in oxygen.
Giant Manta Ray
Also known as the devilfish, these massive creatures can scare due to their huge mandibles and elegant but unsettling swimming. Although they are normally gentle towards humans, last month a Giant Manta snatched a camera rig from some underwater divers, which was surely a worrying experience. The largest Manta Ray ever recorded was more than 25ft across and their curiosity around humans sees them regularly spotted swimming close to boats.
A list of scary animals wouldnâ€™t be complete without this underwater beast whose Latin name translates as â€œVampire Squid from Hellâ€. For centuries squid scared sailors, authors and many more, mainly due to their incredibly weird appearance. And the Vampire Squidâ€™s huge one-inch eyes and bright red coloring add to the mysterious fear surrounding these cephalopods. Luckily at only a foot long this particular squid isnâ€™t dangerous to humans, but it certainly has a chilling stare, and name!
Donâ€™t judge a book by its cover; the pretty and colorful Cape Cobra is one of the deadliest snakes in Africa. Itâ€™s so scary that even some snakes fear they might end up as its dinner, unless the Cape Cobra manages to snag a bird or rodent. If cornered this snake can get aggressive and if bitten, thereâ€™s more than a 50:50 chance youâ€™ll die without anti-venom.