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Critters That Will Give You Costume Goals
Halloween is the one time of year when we can dress up and become someone or something else. During this supernatural time of year, many of us put a lot of thought and effort in coming up with the perfect costume. However, some wildlife seems to be ready for the big day every day. As the spooky season winds down, let’s take a look at some of the critters who are in the Halloween spirit all year long.
The star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata) is appropriately named for its unique star shaped “snout”. These small moles can usually be found in wet lowland areas of northeastern North America. While this multi-purpose organ could be mistaken for a Halloween mask, it actually serves an extremely important purpose. Star-nosed moles are nearly blind and use their tentacle-like noses to sense their surroundings, navigate through the soil, and find food. They can even smell underwater by blowing air bubbles onto objects and inhaling them to pick up scents.
While the eared grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) may look like a typical bird from afar, their distinct, spooky red eyes fit right in on Halloween. Grebes can be found throughout North America, and in parts of Africa, Europe and Asia. Grebes are water birds that are flightless for nine months of the year. They typically feed on insects, but also dive in water to catch crustaceans, mollusks, or small amphibians and fish. When they are not breeding, their typical habitat includes saline lakes or coastal estuaries.
The tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus) are small deer that have fang-like teeth that are straight out of a vampire movie. These teeth are only found in males, grow up to 1 inch in length, and are used to attract a mate. Tufted deer usually weigh somewhere between 37 and 110 lbs. In comparison, the more commonly known white-tailed deer can weigh between 100 and 150 lbs. during the summer. Tuft deer are native to China, and inhabit damp forests at higher elevations.
Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) are giant salamanders native to North America. Hellbenders can grow up to 15 inches long and can weigh up to 5.5 lbs. This makes them the largest salamander species in North America, and the third largest in the world. In addition to their large size, their beady eyes and slimy skin makes them a perfect Halloween creature. Their intimidating appearance is also thought to be the inspiration for their name. However, they are essentially harmless to humans. Hellbenders mainly eat crayfish or small fish, and breathe through pores on their skin.
Humpback anglerfish (Melanocetus johnsonii) also known as blackdevils are deep water fish. Both males and females have a few unearthly tricks up their sleeves. Females grow a fleshy dorsal spine on their head that they use to attract prey like a fishing pole. Their mouths are so limber, they can even eat prey twice their body size.
Living in the vast depths of the ocean where sunlight does not penetrate, finding a mate can be difficult. Males have evolved to have their digestive system degenerate as they mature; making it impossible to feed on their own. In order to survive, he must attach himself to a female as a parasitic appendage.
Add to your costume next year and symbolically adopt a critter!