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The Scariest Creepy Crawlies in the World

11/6/17 by Samantha Larson

Forget zombies, monsters, or vampires this Halloween—sometimes you need look no further than to the world just outside your window to find fantastically frightening creatures. This season, we looked into the wilderness to find sinister inspiration and found so many things that made us scream that we quickly came back out of the woods again running.

Snakes that literally jump out of trees? Spiders that are as big as your housecat? Insects that will land on your skin to lay their eggs? We found ‘em all. Check out our list of seven of the world’s scariest creepy crawlies.

1. Inland taipan

Snakes are even scarier when you have to keep an eye out for them in the sky.
    Kapa65
Snakes are even scarier when you have to keep an eye out for them in the sky. Kapa65

Snakes are one of those critters that pretty universally give people the creeps, even when they’re not a real threat. Who hasn’t gasped and jumped at the sight of a snake, only to realize it was just a long stick or even a garden hose? But in some cases, snakes give us every right to be alarmed.

Like if you’re in the Australian outback and the serpent slithering in front of you turns out to be an inland taipan. Unlike many snakes who keep to a diet of things like bugs and eggs, the inland taipan aggressively hunts mammals and is armed with a venom so strong that it can kill a human in less than an hour. Thankfully, human fatalities from inland taipan bites are rare, since the snake normally saves its poison for its favorite meal - the desert rat.

That said, these snakes usually don’t come into contact with people since they live in such remote areas. So if you find yourself in the Australian desert, approach any long sticks with caution.

2. Flying snakes

What’s the only thing scarier than a snake? A snake that can fly. (No, this isn’t a corny Hollywood flick featuring Samuel L. Jackson.) Flying snakes are a real animal, native to western India and Indonesia. Ok, so flying snakes don’t actually fly—rather, they "glide" through the air by leaping out of trees in order to escape predators. But we still think that sounds pretty scary.

3. Ticks

Ticks aren’t just creepy - they transmit several diseases.
Ticks aren’t just creepy - they transmit several diseases. Lennart Tange

Ticks are among the more common bugs you might find in North America and are a common source of the heebie-jeebies. Ticks survive by drinking the blood of other animals including reptiles, birds, and mammals—including humans. And if a tick gets you, it could end in more than just a sore spot: ticks can transmit several different diseases, including babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and Lyme disease. Lyme disease is particularly prevalent in the U.S., especially in the Northeast and upper Midwest, and its consequences can range from annoying to deadly.

Thankfully, there are ways that you can protect yourself from suffering a bite, including using ExOfficio’s BugsAway pieces with tick-repellent Insect Shield® technology, like the Baja Sur button down or the Quietude pant.

4. Botfly

These aren’t your average housefly. Botflies feel most at home in warm, damp places, such as the Amazon jungle. Or, better yet, under your skin. Botflies are parasites that deposit their eggs underneath skin layers, and sometimes, their hosts are humans. Those eggs then hatch into larvae, which stay and grow and burrow deeper within you. It’s enough to make your skin crawl just thinking about it.

5. Goliath birdeater

There’s nothing sneaky about this spider.
There’s nothing sneaky about this spider. Matt Reinbold

The Goliath birdeater is a spider whose eight hairy legs span almost a foot and weighs more than a third of a pound. That’s as big as some puppies. While its venom isn’t lethal to humans, we sure still wouldn’t want to come near one. Entomologist Piotr Naskrecki came upon one of the beasts while walking in the rainforest in Guyana, and when he got close to the beast, it rubbed hairs off its abdomen that formed a cloud that got into Naskrecki’s eyes and made them itch; it reared onto its hind legs and showed off its enormous fangs, which can puncture a mouse’s skull; and it let out a terrifying, loud hiss. In case it wasn’t clear, those are your cues to back away asap.

6. Ghost-faced bat

An animal with a fittingly ghoulish name. With an odd, shriveled face with big ears, small eyes and lots of wrinkles, the ghost-faced bat looks like something straight out of Dracula. Native to the Southern U.S., Mexico, and into Central America, you’re most likely to find these critters hanging from the ceiling of an abandoned railway tunnel, mine, or cave.

7. Asian giant hornet

They don’t usually go after people, but you do not want to make the Asian giant hornet angry.
They don’t usually go after people, but you do not want to make the Asian giant hornet angry. Rushen

On the subject on terrifyingly large insects, our last one is a doozy. The Asian giant hornet can be nearly two inches long with a wingspan of more than 2.5 inches. Worst of all, they come equipped with humongous stingers. While Asian giant hornets aren’t typically known for swarming people, a few years ago several of them appeared to have gotten some bees up their bonnets, and they attacked and killed 42 people in northwestern China.

The good news about these creepy crawlies is that you probably won’t find them when you’re out camping or hiking on a given weekend (in most cases at least). So no need to change your plans - just be sure to look twice before snuggling into your sleeping bag!

Originally written by RootsRated for ExOfficio.