These wondrous predators keep the real creeps in check
They slither, crawl and fly, and they strike fear in the hearts of many. But they’re so much more than their appearances and reputations.
Some have eight-legs and others have six, some pinch and others bite, some crawl on walls while others fly – there are so many misunderstood creates that most people find “creepy.”
Though they can startle when they show up unexpectedly, don’t go squishing or smashing the following creatures: they are extremely helpful to humans in so many ways.
The spiders, bats, snakes, and other misunderstood predatory creatures found in Ontario are good friends for humans to have if they’re left to their natural instincts.
In many cases, their diets consist of insects or rodents which can pose far greater threats to human health – or at the very least be really annoying.
So, on that note, here are my Top 5 Favourite “Creepy” Creatures . . .
I love spiders – and so do my kids – but my lovely wife is more tolerant as opposed to affectionate to the arachnid. Still, there are several spider species living in my basement – though we occasionally have to purge when they start finding their way onto the main floor (we catch and release them into the garden).
Why would we have spiders living in the basement? Well, that explanation goes as follows: around nine years ago we removed all the webs – and subsequently the spiders – during a spring cleaning. The corresponding summer was the absolute worst for earwigs, flies and other insects invading our home.
The spiders eventually returned to set up shop and we’ve happily coexisted ever since. Oh, and the number of insects that we see any given year is a tiny percentage of what we saw the year the spiders were gone.
These wonderful, winged animals are slowly but surely being recognized for the great work they do. More and more people are finding out the myths are false and appreciating their true value.
For those not in the know, bats can see; bats are mammals, not rodents; bats do not like to fly into people’s hair; only three of the 1,300 species of bats are considered “vampires” and they’re all located in South America; and not all bats have rabies (though they, like other creatures, can be infected).
Bats main diet is made up of moths and other nocturnal insects, especially beetles, that can have a negative impact on agriculture. They are also helpful to the environment and help keep our forests free of damaging pests as well.
The next time you see a bat, just think of all the bad creepy-crawlies they’re feasting on and it will put a smile on your face.
I don’t know what possessed the person who wrote the legend of the Garden of Eden to use a snake as their antagonist, but the word “disservice” is probably the most understated term I could think of.
Not only a disservice and downright disaster for our slithering reptilian friends, but a legitimate argument can be made that certain populations of rodents and mammals would be unmanageable without snakes.
Seriously, all reptiles are very helpful to humans, yet they are made out to be these evil creatures by some. It’s very disheartening.
Snakes provide wonderful pest control in the wild, munching on rodents, insects, amphibians and even other reptiles. Yes, I understand there are venomous snakes and constrictors that can be dangerous to humans – but we know enough about their nature to avoid these issues as much as possible.
Still, wild rodents carry more diseases than most other animals – making snakes way more friendly to humans than most understand.
Hate mosquitoes? Uhm, of course. Wish there were less of them? Yes, definitely.
Well, then what you need are more dragonflies. From personal experience and witnessing the beauty of a couple of dragonflies picking off mosquitoes mid-air, they are the best predators we can have.
Forget insecticides and other manmade treatments, find ways to have more dragonflies visit and hang out around your property.
Plus, they are quite beautiful when you see them up close. Such was the case at my brother’s wedding when one decided to hang out on my jacket for a while.
Yea, yea, they tear off their partner’s head during mating – but, hey, what a way to go right?
And yeah, they have a bit of a sci-fi vibe going that makes me think, “it’s good they’re so small compared to us.”
But the praying mantis can be beneficial to have around. Though their diets are eclectic, they do prefer dining on flies, crickets, grasshoppers and mosquitoes. On the flip side, when opportunity presents itself, they will occasionally prey on good pollinators like moths and butterflies.
Still, in the right places, they can be very helpful to keep nuisance pest populations down.
There are several other “creepy” members of the animal kingdom that like to munch on insects which could cause damage to plants, gardens and homes. These include the praying mantis, ladybugs and a variety of beetle species.
Thinking about the hordes of flies, mosquitos, ants, mice and other undesirable creatures will give you an appreciation for the predators.
So, the next time you see a spider in your basement, a bat fluttering nearby, a dragonfly darting or a snake slithering, don’t get freaked out – and definitely don’t hurt them. Just let them be as they help maintain the natural balance and do humans a favour by eating up the pests we really don’t want around.
Praying Mantises are my favorite insect. I use to keep them as pets as kid. They’re totally fascinating to watch. Last year I was walking down the street and a large praying mantis was on the sidewalk. I’m glad that I saw it before anyone else. I calmly got a plant and coaxed the praying mantis to crawl onto it. Then I walked over to a tree and let the praying mantis climb onto it. Safe and out of harms way.
They are amazing! I used to let them crawl on me a bit – it was a weird sensation. Nature in general is amazing!