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Halloween has its traditional creatures — black cats, spiders and, of course, bats.
But if you just stick to these familiar species, you'll miss out on some animals whose names aren't the only thing that suits them for an October 31 celebration.
Civets are nocturnal tree-dwellers who resemble a cat crossed with an otter. With his distinctive facial markings, the masked palm civet is already dressed for Halloween — and given his sweet tooth (he mostly eats fruit), he'd probably enjoy trick-or-treating.
This North American dragonfly has a Halloween-centric name thanks to its big, butterfly-like orange-and-black wings. Sure, the black is more dark brown and the orange is sort of yellow, but your costume probably doesn't look exactly like you hoped it would, either, so let's not throw stones.
The goblin shark's hideous snout helps him to locate prey in the deep-sea darkness by detecting electrical impulses. He was first discovered in the 19th century by Japanese fishermen, who named him "tenguzame" after the tengu — an ugly, long-nosed demon found in Japanese folklore.
David Hosking / Alamy
Also known as the false vampire bat, this Australian critter gets his name from his ghostly appearance. And although he doesn't drink blood, he's one of the most carnivorous bats in the world: He can kill small mammals, frogs and birds with a single bite to the head or neck.
Eric Nathan / Alamy
This lizard from Madagascar has a tail that looks uncannily like a decaying leaf. He also has tiny horns on top of his head — along with a devilish look in his lidless eyes.
© 2008 MBARI
Compared to the blood-feasting vampire bat, the vampire squid is a bit of a disappointment: He's not a bloodsucker — and he's not exactly a squid, either. (He's a relative of other cephalopods, like the squid and the octopus, but he evolved before any of them.) This bizarre-looking creature also doesn't use fangs to feed — he simply collects particles of food that drift down to the deep ocean waters where he dwells. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute used a robot submarine to photograph this vampire squid a mile under the ocean’s surface.
You're probably familiar with the naked mole rat, but you might not know that he has a lot of hairier cousins, including one who's perfectly outfitted for Halloween: The demon mole rat has orange jack o' lantern teeth that stick out even when his mouth is closed.
This insect emits a strange, loud squeak, and he bears a mark on his thorax that looks disturbingly like a human skull. The death's-head hawkmoth also wears an invisible costume: He smells like a bee, so he can go unnoticed while stealing honey out of hives.
Despite his boney appearance, it's hard to be scary when you're less than two inches long. Within some species of skeleton shrimp, the females will kill males after mating, and some males have a special spine that's designed to fight off — and potentially kill — other males competing for a mate.
Although they seek shelter in rocky areas during the day, these Australian possums feed in the trees at night. Their partly furless tails are shorter than those of related species, and they beat them against tree branches to warn off predators.
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