When you think about the spookiest time of the year, what animals come to mind? Black cats? Bats? Gleaming-eyed rats and wart-pebbled toads? Whatever they are, have you ever wondered why they became associated with Halloween in the first place? In this blog, we highlight the animals that symbolize Halloween and what makes them initially appear so spooky in the first place.
Black Cats: Are They Really Bad Luck?
Black cats have been regarded as a mystery and myth since the Middle Ages, when people in Medieval Germany and France believed they carried curses from witches. Since then, black cats have remained superstitious symbols of bad luck, a tradition brought to America by the Puritans who settled in Massachusetts. As a result, black cats are one of the most well-known animals that symbolize Halloween.
As we all know, black cats are in no way evil. Many cultures outside of Europe worshipped black cats and considered them good luck charms. As an example, in ancient Egypt, cats (and specifically black cats) were associated with the goddess Bastet, and cat owners would often be mummified and buried along with their cats. Black cats are also believed to bring luck in Japan.
Why Are Bats So Scary?
Blame it on fiction!
It was Bram Stoker’s horror novel Dracula, published in 1897, that first connected bats with Halloween. According to the novel, vampires can shapeshift into bats to get away with their nighttime blood feasts. While there are three species of bats in South and Central America that do consume blood (though not human blood), all other species of bats feed on nectar, insects, and fish
Learning more about bats reveals how awesome they are. For example:
- Just like our fingerprints, each bat’s wings have a distinctive pattern that makes them completely unique.
- Besides being the only flying mammals on Earth, they also pollinate plants, which is how certain types of produce grow.
- Bats can also recognize each other’s voices, which is very useful when you live in a cave with thousands of others!
- Bats use echolocation to hunt mosquitoes and other prey, which is basically seeing with sound.
Although bats are harmless, we understand if you don’t want them in your house. If you see signs of their presence, contact Bad Company Wildlife Eviction for humane bat removal.
Wolves: Not Humans in Disguise!
The ancient werewolf myth has resulted in wolves being one of the animals that symbolize Halloween. Like vampires, werewolves are mythical creatures that can transform from human into beast. Werewolf myths date back thousands of years to Ancient Greece with the Legend of Lycaon and Ancient Sumeria with the Epic of Gilgamesh. In ancient Scandinavia, the Norse also had stories about werewolves.
Werewolves don’t exist in the real world, and real wolves aren’t frightening either. A wolf can live up to 13 years in the wild and up to 16 years in captivity. Their range varies from 25 square miles to 1,000 square miles based on their location. In their ecosystems, they play an extremely important role, as certain plants and animals around them may cease to exist without them.
Ravens: Elegant, Not Evil
Historically, ravens and their smaller crow cousins have been associated with death, darkness, and Halloween. What is the reason? The reason is partly because they look creepy and partly because they scavenge for food instead of hunting. The big, black birds became even more frightening when Edgar Allen Poe wrote his famous poem “The Raven” in 1845.
In Europe, ravens have been associated with spooky stories, such as Sweden’s belief that ravens’ calls are the voices of the dead and Germany’s superstition that ravens are friends of witches. Although included among the animals that symbolize Halloween, they are actually super intelligent and can be very friendly and affectionate toward humans. The raven is also an excellent problem solver, as research has shown.
Spiders: Crawly But Not Creepy!
While spiders and Halloween are synonymous, many people fear spiders all year long. Experts believe that the fear of spiders, or arachnophobia, has its roots in human evolution. Spiders can be poisonous, so humans evolved to fear them in order to protect themselves.
Why are spiders considered Halloween animals? During the Middle Ages, spiders were associated with witchcraft due to their intricate webs, thought to be the work of magic. Halloween is the season when spiders mature enough to weave webs, both inside and outside our homes – and what spooky old house isn’t covered with spiderwebs?
Despite the enormous number of spider species (over 45,000), only a few are harmful to humans (such as black widow spiders and brown recluses) – but all spiders play an important role in their ecosystems, just like wolves. As natural pest control agents, spiders eat harmful insects that could otherwise destroy crops that people depend on for food. Humans are actually more of a threat to spiders than spiders are to humans due to habitat loss and arachnophobia.
Owls: Wise, Not Wicked
The wise old owl is another animal that symbolizes Halloween. European myths link owls to death, ghosts, and dark magic, and some cultures believe that owls are messengers for witches.
Today, more people view owls as symbols of good luck, wisdom, and guidance. People in Afghanistan, for example, believe the owl gave humans flint and iron to make fire. In Greenland, the owl is seen as a symbol of guidance and assistance. Aboriginal Australians believe that owls are the spirits of women and are therefore sacred.
Need Humane Bat Removal for Halloween?
Although bats made it onto this list, they really are harmless animals that provide valuable support to the ecosystem- you just don’t want them in your house! If you’re coming across signs of bats in your belfry (oops, we mean attic) and would like them to set up house elsewhere, contact Bad Company Wildlife Eviction.
Once we humanely remove the bats from the attic, we will seal it to prevent further infestations, and inspect the attic periodically to ensure that your former guests don’t try to take a trip down Memory Lane. To learn more about our eviction services or schedule an estimate, call 1-855-880-9860.