Halloween always includes specific animals like bats, cats and spiders with huge webs - this can sometimes help promote the idea these animals are scary and creepy! We want to set the record straight and highlight what makes these animals interesting, cool and even adorable.
Black cats have an unfortunate reputation for bringing bad luck, but all feline lovers know they are just as sweet and loving as all other cats. Black cats are linked with Halloween due to their historical association with witches, some people used to believe witches could even turn into black cats! However, while many of you will have heard that ‘a black cat crossing your path is bad luck’, did you know that in Scotland a black cat in your home is actually a sign of good things to come and in Japan, if a black cat crosses your path it means good luck!
Unfortunately for black cats (and black dogs) they often have a harder time getting adopted from shelters as some people overlook them for more unusual fur colorations. So if you get the opportunity to get a new pet, please consider how wonderful black furred companions can be!
Tarantulas comprise a group of large and often hairy spider categorized in the arachnid family; Theraphosidae. To date, there are approximately 900 species that have been identified! With a huge number of people in the US reportedly suffering from arachnophobia, tarantulas are often singled out for being especially creepy. This is likely due to their relatively huge size, and from their negative portrayals in films and TV shows.
One key fact that people are often surprised by, is that there isn’t a single tarantula species bite that is lethal to humans. Of course, if you provoke a tarantula it would likely bite you, and while this would hurt the effect would be only as bad as a bee sting (for the vast majority of species). Instead of worrying about tarantula attacks, it is much more interesting to learn about their cool abilities, such as; when tarantulas molt, they also replace internal organs, such a stomach lining and can even regrow lost legs!
Bats are famously linked to Halloween, for their association with blood sucking vampires. However, the vast majority (of around 12,000 species!) of all bat species stick to insects and fruit, this means they can be an excellent natural ‘pest control’ eating billions of mosquitos!. The one exception is the unsurprisingly named ‘vampire bat’, these three species live primarily in South America. These bats do live exclusively off blood, but rarely pose a risk to humans – livestock and birds are more impacted.
Bats have some interesting behaviors: they can fly up to 60mph, sleep upside down and can navigate and hunt at high speed in complete darkness (using ecolocation). A fun fact: the title of "smallest mammal in the world" is part owned by a bat – the teeny tiny one inch long bumblebee bat found in Thailand. We believe this proves that bats can be completely adorable!
Rats have long been associated with dirty environments, disease transmission and as pests. However, anyone who has interacted with a pet rat can tell you how intelligent, clean and affectionate they are. Rats are super smart little rodents that can learn their names and can even learn how to do some tricks. They are also incredible swimmers! Domestic rats are super snuggly, very social and they are great companion pets.
Can you think of any other animals that had an undeserved bad reputation?
Prediction of Adoption Versus Euthanasia Among Dogs and Cats in a California Animal Shelter
Merry Lepper, Philip H. Kass & Lynette A. Hart
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science Vol. 5 , Iss. 1,2002