Halloween Animal Myths Debunked

Late for Halloween, but still an interesting three-minute diversion. On this Good Morning Yahoo video, a zoo educator from Connecticut's Beardsley zoo debunks some Halloween animal myths:
  • Can the horned owl turn its head all the way around? (No)
  • Are tarantulas deadly? (No)
  • Do bats get caught in your hair? (No, but they do fly close to people's heads to catch mosquitoes.)
  • Are black widows deadly? (No, but they do have strong venom)
  • Do scorpions glow in the dark? (Yes)
(Thanks, Big Gary!)


Posted on Tue Nov 03, 2009


I learned many things from that video, including how lame "Fox and Friends" is. Those sound effects were really unnecessary and hokey. Also, why did they cut off the presenter when he was mentioning that "Only 1% of people..." I had the feeling that was an important statistic. Oh, well. Despite Fox's shortcomings, I did learn something.
Posted by Disappointed...  on  Tue Nov 03, 2009  at  07:58 PM
Well, statistically it's reported that 1% or less of people bitten by black widows die, so that's probably what he was going to say.

Really, they weren't quite right in all that they said, but I suppose that they were just trying to reassure people.

Tarantulas can be deadly. For one thing, the term "tarantula" is often used by ordinary people for just large spiders in general, and some of them (such as the Brazilian wandering spider) can really be bad news. Then there are the spiders more properly referred to as tarantulas, Theraphosidae spiders. While their bites aren't venomous enough to kill even a small, sickly person, they can potentially cause a person unlucky enough to be allergic to them to go into anaphylactic shock. . .which can be fatal. So while tarantulas aren't really dangerous enough that most people ought to worry about them, all types are not totally harmless to all people.

As already mentioned, black widows can also be deadly. But it's not very likely unless the victim is very young, very small, very sick, or elderly. And since the amount of venom that they inject with each bite can vary all the way down to none at all, even a sick stunted newborn could survive a bite. A healthy adult isn't going to die unless he's completely mobbed by black widows.

And scorpions don't actually glow in the dark; they glow in the light. Ultraviolet light, that is. You can see in the video if you look closely that they're waving a UV light over the scorpions. If you were to put them in a darkened room with little or no UV light, they'd not show up.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Fri Nov 06, 2009  at  01:24 PM
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