Creepy Planet 2022!
Last year we introduced you to our first year of Creepy Planet featuring some of the creepiest, crawliest, spookiest features of our environment. But honestly, we barely scratched the surface. Back by popular demand, we’re bringing back our Creepy Planet Series 2022! This year we are featuring even more of the world’s weirdest counting down with 13 CreepyPlanet posts leading up to Halloween!
#1 – Leatherback Sea Turtle Mouth
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! We’ve finally made it to the end of #CreepyPlanet2022 and the finale only seemed fitting to go right into the mouth of the beast! This is definitely the stuff of nightmares and a horrifying last look before your impending doom. But this terrifying mouth is more than meets the eye. This gaping gob is the what the inside of a leatherback sea turtle’s mouth looks like! Don’t let the spikey protrusions fool you. They’re actually esophageal papillae – prongs made of cartilage that line the throat of the turtle and work as barbs to hold on to and also serve as protection from their favorite food, jellyfish, as they swallow.
However, the real terror is that what evolved as a beneficial tool for eating is now making the turtles vulnerable to swallowing plastics in the ocean – like shopping bags and balloons – that are mistaken for jellyfish… »
Reducing our use and recycling plastic waste makes the ocean less like a haunted house of environmental horrors. Keep it GREEN and have a Happy Halloween!
#2 – Bigfin Squid
We’ve only mapped about 10% of the global ocean so to find something that looks like it’s from a whole other planet is no surprise. This haunting, spaghetti-legged alien of the deep that looks like something out of War of the Worlds but it is actually the rare Bigfin Squid. Reaching a length of more than 20 feet with the tentacles alone being 20x longer than its mantle, the bigfin squid has been found as far as nearly 4 miles beneath the ocean surface…»
#3 – Dragon Blood Tree
What looks like something from a gruesome, bloody murder scene in the forest, this sanguine sapling is a sight to behold both and inside and out. But to see one of these magnificent monsters in person you’ll have to travel to the Socotra archipelago in Yemen. Known as the Dragon Blood Tree, this arbor endangered species gets its namesake from the blood red sap that seeps from underneath the bark. The sap has historically been used for medicinal purposes, dye, and more…»
#4 – Brine Pool
If you suffer from Thalassophobia – an intense fear of large bodies of water – then this will give you a double dose of dread. Known as a brine pool, this is literally a large deadly lake at the bottom of the ocean. Since these waters are thicker and heavier, they sink below normal ocean water but ebb and flow similar to a river or ripples in a lake. These bodies of water have zero oxygen and lethal levels of saline and toxic chemicals like hydrogen sulphide meaning that any living thing that goes in will meet their inevitable doom…»
#5 – Dead Man Fingers Fungus
It’s the real life night of the living dead!!! Or at least it looks like it at first glance. Another bizarre fungus among us, this mushroom’s name comes from the eerie resemblance to a zombie hand coming up from the grave. But the hand-like protrusion usually only looks this way in very early stages of growth. Photographed by Mike Roberts in Wales, he said “They are fairly common but I’ve never seen them grow in the shape of a zombie hand before! One of my favourite finds to date.” … »
(photo credit: @northwalesmushrooms, Instagram)
#6 – Ant (Camponotus)
There are things that are scary, and then there are the stuff of nightmares…. ESPECIALLY when you get up close and personal with one of these critters. Is it a werewolf? Is it the urban legend Chupacabra come to life?? It may surprise you to know this is nothing more than a common ant photographed at 5X magnification! Taken by Dr. Eugenijus Kavaliauskas for this year’s Nikon 2022 Photomicrography Competition, with a close up like this, you’ll never look at an ant the same way again… »
(photo credit: Dr. Eugenijus Kavaliauskas)
#8 + #7 – Double-headed Garden Snake
(photo credit: Nick Evans – Snake Rescuer)
#9 – “Skull-Faced” Pink Underwing Moth Caterpillar
No its not a baby Xenomorph from Alien. Nor is it a creepy Halloween mask for a toddler. This scary skully is the Pink Underwing Moth Caterpillar! An endangered species from New South Wales through Queensland and New Guinea in Australia, the Pink Underwing Moth Caterpillar is sporting its “beware and back off!” warning system by arching its back to reveal a vibrant skull-like pattern to ward off unwelcomed guests… »
#10 – Flying Fox Megabats
Um…is that Dracula?! Don’t worry, you won’t come across one of these in Transylvania, but these humungous bats can be found in Asia, Africa, and Australia. Known as the “flying fox” these spooky sky puppies aren’t here to suck your blood. They would rather hang out to eat something sweet as they are really big fruit bats! One species – the giant golden-crowned flying fox – is found in the Philippines and can have a body length of up to 1 foot and a wing span up to 5 1/2 feet! Learn more about these big ol’ bats »
(photo credit: Reddit user sakundes)
#11 – The Bloody Tooth Fungus
Also known as “devil’s tooth” these mushrooms aren’t your common variety cap ‘shroom. These freaky fungi don’t really have a standard shape – ranging from what looks like a strange oozing head of cauliflower all the way to wrapping around objects like branches or tree stumps as they grow. The bloody tooth fungus gets its namesake because the individual mushroom heads like the one pictured can merge with others forming what can look like a human molar… »
#12 – Hornet’s House of Horrors
What scares you…the things that go bump in the night or the things that BUZZ in the most terrifying ways?! A huge hornet nest can be scary enough to find on its own. But when these buzzing buggers get creative, the final build can look more like a house of horrors… »