This October, we’ve been leading up to Halloween with themed Take 5 posts covering critters that are spooky, creepy, and go “bump” in the night. We’ve highlighted snakes, crows, bats, and vultures, and now it’s time for the creepiest crawly of them all: spiders!
Even if the thought of spiders makes you want to run shrieking in the opposite direction, you have to admit—they’re pretty amazing. While different spiders use different webs for different reasons (and some don’t even use them), it is true that their silk has more tensile strength than steel!
With a handful of rare exceptions, their diets consist entirely of insects…and other spiders! And since the vast majority of spiders in Massachusetts are not dangerous, think twice next time you encounter one in your home and are tempted to squish it. Consider carefully relocating it outside with a cup and a piece of paper so it can continue its duty of ensnaring and noshing on pesky insects.
Here are five stellar photos from our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest to honor these beautiful arachnids. Happy Halloween!
Cross Orbweaver Spider © Brett Melican
Spider Web © Ian Kinahan
Orchard Orbweaver Spider © Kim Novino
Cross Orbweaver Spider © Jack Cotter
Grass Spider © Amy Harley
While folklore holds that spotting a circling vulture is a bad omen, turkey vultures actually perform a vital function within their ecosystem: Clean-up Crew!
Turkey vultures specialize in eating carrion (dead animals). They have a well-developed sense of smell that they use to find food. Their heads are naked so that they can reach inside a carcass without contaminating their feathers. They usually feed alone, but if a vulture sees others of its kind feeding on a carcass, it may fly down to join them.
Like crows, turkey vultures roost together, often gathering in trees by the dozen to sleep for the night, which can be a little eerie if you don’t know that these beneficial birds are harmless to humans. Here are five photos of turkey vultures from our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.
All October long, leading up to Halloween, we’re spotlighting wildlife that’s “spooky,” “creepy,” and goes “bump” in the night with our Take 5 posts. Keep an eye out for next week when we tackle the creepiest crawly of them all: spiders!
Turkey Vulture © Phyllis Tarascio
Soaring Turkey Vulture © Sherrelle Guyette
Turkey Vulture © Christine Young
Turkey Vulture © Patrick Waggett
Turkey Vulture © Paul Bedard