Nature’s take on Halloween

Think you’ve got Halloween down? Then read about these blood sucking vampires and sugar munching marsupials – the holidays' real-life champions.

The candy:


“I want candy.”

-Every kid. Ever.

honey_possum
Image: Don Bradshaw.

 

Children have lots in common with the honey possum. While not all of them are as ridiculously cute as the tiny Australian marsupial, most of them share its insatiable appetite for sugar. For this mammal it’s Halloween every day: the possums’ diet is almost exclusively made up of nectar and pollen, nature’s sugary treats.

The vampire:


"You sound English. I can show you a bloody good time."

-The beginning of a spooky love story.

Vampire_bat
Image: Mark Dumont.

A golden Hollywood rule says that vampires are always romantic. It may be inspired by nature: While Vampire bats’ feeding practices are blood-suckingly brutal, they also tenderly groom their family members. And they fondly feed them by regurgitating their last meal – animal-, and once in a while, human blood…

The costume:


“What are you supposed to be?”

“A human.”

-The only person who didn’t bother.

2500728334_bbc330f00b_b
Image: Angelo Milioto.

Don’t worry, the animal kingdom is a bit lazy at playing dress up, too. Harmless hoverflies can scare you with their yellow and black wasp-like looks, but this insect’s disguise is busted if you hold your gaze and spot the flaws. Turns out, evolution finds a perfect disguise unnecessary, too.

The ghost:


“Is it time for spirits yet?”

-The thirsty spook.

ghost crab
Image: gailhampshire.

Real-life ghost crabs don’t have to wait around until midnight. They come out before sunset, and spend their night on the beach instead of in haunted houses. Then they hide out in tunnels and caves until it’s time for the next beach party.

The mummy:


“Woof.”

-Said the mummified mutt.

Dog_Mummy,_305_B.C.E.-395_C.E.,05.308
Image: Brooklyn Museum.

Egyptians didn’t want to send pets to afterlife on their own. In the reign of Amenhotep III (1400 BC) some animals even got the same complex mummification treatment as their owners. So watch out for the undead dog, the wrapped ibis and the embalmed beetle on Saturday night…

Feature image: Cristian Iohan Ştefănescu