Importance of Scary Wildlife: Mammals

Halloween stories are full of spooky critters and creepy crawlies. Tales of bumps in the night and eyes glowing from the darkness. But, you don’t need to fear those glowing eyes or rustling leaves, it is most likely just a shy wild animal scooting away from your light.

Many wild animals get a bad reputation from stories and superstitions. Take for example the Virginia opossum, which is feared for its nocturnal nature and ability to ‘play dead’, but who can eat up to 5000 ticks in a single season, significantly helping to control the pest population! Or the skittish coyote, who has been misrepresented in stories and folklore for centuries, but who is usually fearful of humans and preys mostly on small rodents keeping their populations in check.

Human imaginations have not always been kind to our native wildlife. Before passing judgment consider how these wild animals help to keep our ecosystems in balance and provide benefits to both humans and other wildlife.

To learn more about Ohio’s wildlife, visit