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By Ruth Barnard
 

Traditionally at Halloween we might think of scary witches and the creatures we associate with them. Creepy crawlies, slimy frogs and furry bats can seem frightening at first, but when we delve deeper
we find they have a place in this world as much as we do!

 

Giant Centipede. 

In your garden, underneath the flowerpots, and beneath the leaf litter lives a giant. The giant centipede is a native to New Zealand and can grow as long as 25cm! They often don't live long enough to grow to their full size because they make tasty snacks for rats and mice, but on protected islands they can grow very big. This creepy crawly spends its days hunting in the leaf litter, where it looks for cockroaches and other insects to eat. No matter how frightening it may look it's going to be more scared of you than you are of it.

  Humpback Whale

Frog. 

Crawling quietly through the leaves, with cold slimy skin, frogs can seem gruesome at first glance but we shouldn't be scared of them. New Zealand has four native frog species, and three introduced. Around Halloween we might think of frogs as ingredients for a witches cauldron, but in reality while you are out going trick or treating the frogs will be hopping around, looking for juicy grubs. Sadly frogs are very vulnerable and the populations of frogs through the world are in decline, find out more about our frogs and how to help.

 

Weta.

With huge teeth and spiky legs weta are very scary characters. These amazing insects grow about the size of the palm of your hand and live in native bush and in caves. They hide inside dead branches, so you are often closer to them than you think! Weta are a very important part of New Zealand wildlife so while they're scary they should be protected. If you find a weta in your house ask for help and take it somewhere where it will be safe.

If you love looking at weta and want to protect them then you can even make a Weta Motel.

 

Bat.

Bats have often been considered spooky, in maori folk tales they are associated with a mythical night bird called Hokioi that traditionally foretells death and tragedy. In reality, bats are very helpful little creatures, they catch all sorts of insects and help keep the forests healthy. To learn more about out native bats and how to help protect them check out our ‘Save the Bats' article.

 

 

What other kinds of spooky species do we have in NZ? See if you can learn about a few more NZ creatures this Halloween by exploring outside and doing your own research.

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