Amy Crawford, MGS Funded Museum Engagement Officer

Looking for some creepy crawlies to get you in the Halloween spirit? You’ve come to the right place. Our D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum has no shortage of strange, creepy and haunting preserved creatures.

Here are a few creatures classically associated with Halloween. They get progressively creepier the further down the list you venture – scroll at your own risk, we did warn you!

1. Cat (felis rubiginosa)

So this first choice isn’t necessarily creepy or crawly but where would a witch be without her cat? While this one might look like a skeleton of a common household cat it is in fact a wild cat, the Rusty Spotted cat to be precise. They are actually smaller than the common house cat and are extremely endangered in their home countries of Sri Lanka, India and Nepal as they are often mistakenly killed for resembling Leopard cubs.

Cat (felis rubiginosa) DUNUC 1932

2. Toad (Bufo columbiensis)

Toads are pretty synonymous with Halloween. Where there is a witch or a potion brewing, a toad is sure to be near by. Toads and frogs have recently received a boost in popularity due to the new Cottagecore Tiktok trend.

Toad (Bufo columbiensis) DUNUC 1240

3. Pit Viper (Bothrops alternatus)

Snakes are usually somewhere on most people’s fear list. The venomous Pit Viper from our collection is a pretty deadly snake but is usually gentle unless provoked. Their beautiful markings help them to camouflage them into their environment. They have the presence of a heat-sensing pit organ located between the eye and the nostril on either side of their head.

Pit Viper (Bothrops alternatus) DUNUC 1447

4. Brazillian Bird Eating Spider (Therephosa blondi)

Despite the massive size of this spider, if you’ve ever held a tarantula (as I have, she was called Lynn) then you’ll know they’re actually incredibly light as their weight is spread over those eight creepy legs. Our one is pretty special though as it is from the family of largest spiders in the world!

Brazillian Bird Eating Spider (Therephosa blondi) DUNUC 13366

5. Sea Spider (Colossendeis colossea)

So if a plain old arachnid doesn’t scare you what about a spider that can swim? These creepers aren’t technically spiders, they belong to the Arthropod family. That doesn’t make them any less toe-curling. If you encounter them anywhere in the world they are likely to be small, but strangely as you reach either pole of the planet they begin to grow much bigger! This one is likely from around Iceland.

Sea Spider (Colossendeis colossea) DUNUC 748a

6. Hammer-Headed Fruit bat (Hypsignathus monstrosus)

There is something truly eerie about our ghostly Hammer-Headed Fruit Bat. Bats have long been associated with Halloween given their nocturnal nature and ability to spread disease. Despite having a scary look, they are generally harmless creatures. They are currently threatened by culling due to spreading diseases – lack of habitat caused by deforestation forces contact with humans.

Hammer-Headed Fruit bat (Hypsignathus monstrosus) DUNUC 1913

7. Rat dissection (Rattus norvegicus)

People are generally afraid of rats for their darting speed, ability to carry disease, the occasional times they attack humans and their long tails. We think this dissected rat is pretty creepy because of what appears to be its mournful gaze into your soul. It is however, a top-down view, so what you think is the face is actually an aerial view of rat brains…

Rat dissection (Rattus norvegicus) DUNUC 2098


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