Ghost Bats, Cannibal Butterflies and Other Spooky, Halloween-Ready Creatures Found in Nature

The Nature Conservancy has named three of "nature's most horrifying creatures" just in time for Halloween

Photo: Sardaka/Wikimedia Commons

Halloween is almost here, but for some critters, life can feel like October 31st all year round.

To celebrate the upcoming holiday, The Nature Conservancy shared some of their favorite spooky creatures that animal lovers can find in the wild all around the world. Sometimes nature's ways seem right out of a scary movie, but unlike goblins, possessed dolls, and vengeful demons, these critters are not figments of a director's imagination.

After meeting the living things The Nature Conservancy has dubbed "nature's most horrifying creatures," you'll agree that sometimes natural life can be spookier than fiction.

Ghost Bats

Years of vampire lore have led many to view all bats as blood-sucking fliers waiting for the perfect moment to land on your neck and bite you. In reality, only one percent of the world's 1,300 bat species feed on vertebrate prey. Ghost bats are part of that one percent. The animals earn their name due to their pale coloring and penchant for silently descending on prey seemingly out of nowhere. After these bats drop on their target, they wrap their wings around their meal, stab the prey with their teeth, and consume almost the entire organism — fur, feathers, and bones included.

Cannibal Butterflies

Matt Kane/TNC

According to the Nature Conservancy, scientists at the University of Sydney recently observed milkweed butterflies exhibiting gruesome behavior. The experts spotted the insects attacking live caterpillars with their extremities and then sucking out the wingless bugs' insides.

Zombie Ants

Katja Schulz/Flickr

Carpenter ants can sometimes become mindless vessels controlled by fungi in the wild. When picked up by a marching ant in the jungle, certain fungi spores can get into the insect's system and take over the ant's body. Under the effects of the fungi spores, social ants will break away from their colony, climb up a tree, and affix themselves to the underside of a leaf. Once the bug is clamped down, the fungi spores burst through the ant's body and drop down to the jungle floor to get picked up by new ants who will start the process over again.

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