With Halloween just around the corner, it's the perfect time to celebrate some of the Museum Park residents with the creepiest reputations!
Red-femured spotted orbweaver
Fall is a great time to look for spiders. They are active and abundant in the Park during this time of the year. Most spiders will not bite unless disturbed.
Red-femured spotted orbweavers and their large circular webs can be seen in trees throughout the Museum Park. Although nocturnal, they can occasionally be seen during the day repairing their webs or eating a “packaged” snack caught the previous night. These delicate creatures spend most of their day curled up in silk on the underside of leaves. Their egg sacs are an important winter food source for birds.
Yellow garden spider in her zigzag web
The size and brightly colored pattern of the yellow garden spider can be startling if you come across one unexpectedly. But take a close look at the zigzag webs they weave; they’re one of nature’s best works of art. These orb-weaving spiders are commonly referred to as writing spiders and were the inspiration for E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.
I saw this striking green lynx spider in the Carla McKinney Volunteer Garden. Its cream-colored chevron stripes complemented the nearby Pigcasso (Sculpt C) sculpture perfectly.
The banded garden spider is another orb-weaving spider that can be found in the meadow and around the edges of the Pond. The web’s zigzagging pattern is similar to that of the yellow garden spider but less conspicuous.
Millipedes come in a variety of colors and sizes and are commonly found in the wooded areas of the Park. Though small, these creepy crawlers play a critical role in the Park by decomposing decaying material and actively restoring soils in the Park degraded from years of agriculture.
The bright colors of this xystodesmid millipede are a warning to potential predators that this species contains distasteful chemicals.
Spirobolid millipede. I invite you to find the beauty in its perfection.
Northern water snake nestled in poison ivy
A Northern water snake nestled in poison ivy is enough to frighten anyone! This snake is nonvenomous; however, it is a wild animal and will defend itself if it feels threatened. Poison ivy and well-camouflaged snakes are two good reasons to stay on walking paths in the Park and not walk through the natural planted areas.
I hope that you enjoyed this selection of creepy critters that call the Museum Park their home. Keep an eye out for them, tag us in your pictures on your social media with @ncartmuseum and #NCMApark, and remember to keep a polite distance. You may seem pretty spooky to them, too!