Published: October 29, 2015

Re-evaluate Your Idea of “Scary” with These Adorably Spooky Animals

Kate Golembiewski, PR and Science Communications Manager, Public Relations

Alert

Yes, Halloween's all about things that go bump in the night, but at the Field Museum, we're also all about seeing the beauty (and yes, the cuteness) in the natural world. Here are some of our favorite animals that get a bad rap but are actually pretty gosh-darn adorable.

1. Honduran White Bats


Basically marshmallows with faces.  And in case they weren’t cute enough for you already, these hardworking, earnest cotton balls make tents out leaves. Most bats live in caves in big colonies (they’re very social animals), which means that they’re easy targets for parasites like bat flies. But Honduran white bats build a series of leaf tents that they move between, making them a harder target for parasites.

2. Jumping spiders

We know that some people don’t love spiders the way that we at the Field do, but come on. Look at those eyes. Those enormous peepers give jumping spiders some of the best eyesight of all 40,000 species of spiders in the world. Jumping spiders put their eyes to good use in hunting, getting around, and communicating with each other.

 

3. American alligators

If you’re swimming down in Florida, you probably don’t want to see a gator. But these ten-foot reptiles have a soft side—they’re excellent moms. Mother alligators stand guard by their nests to keep their eggs safe from predators (they don’t sit on the eggs, though—they build a nest similar to a compost heap that warms the eggs). Once the eggs hatch, Mom opens her enormous jaws and gathers the babies in her mouth—but just to keep them safe so that she can bring them to water for their first swim. The mother alligator stays with her babies for up to a year.

4. White-throated Round-eared Bats

These bats are all ears—they listen for the sounds of insects walking on tree branches and then swoop in to catch their prey.  Since their hunting skills rely on their hearing, they aren’t as fast as other bats, or as good at smelling prey. These are some of the many bats that Field Museum scientists study in South America.

5. Peacock spiders

These Australian spiders are tiny—less than a quarter of an inch long—but size isn’t everything. Like their namesake birds, male peacock spiders have flashy coloring that they use to try to get the attention of the ladies. The colorful part on its back is actually a flap that can be folded up and down in their courtship dance (you can watch it —it’s pretty adorable).

6. Tiny snakes

Snakes? Why did it have to be snakes?
All of those snake-related nightmares you have would be a lot less terrifying and a lot more adorable if you pictured Ramphotyphlops braminus, also known as the brahminy blindsnake. This snake is known for its underwhelming size and for being almost completely blind. Harmless to humans, the blindsnake is so small it could coil up comfortably on one of the quarters in your pocket.

 

 

 

 

Photo credits:
1. Wikimedia Commons contributor Leyo.
2. Thomas Shahan.
3. Wikimedia Commons contributor Catholic 85.
4. Bruce Patterson, The Field Museum.
5. Jurgen Otto.
6. Kate Golembiewski, The Field Museum.