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Myths and facts of some of our favorite spooky creatures

Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium teaches us about bats, owls, spiders and more!

TACOMA, Wash. — Halloween is almost here which means... we might see some spooky critters! We're seeing plenty of real life spiders and webs, but some people might even catch glimpses of owls and bats. 

All these creatures totally have a bad rep -- but they're actually good guys! Maureen O'Keefe and Jessica Sutherland of Tacoma's Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium debunk comment myths about these fall creatures. 


  • Myth 1: Bats want to suck the blood of humans.
  • Fact 1: Bats actually want to stay away from humans! However, if they are provoked by you, they can become aggressive and in some cases bite you.
  • Myth 2: Bats are blind.
  • Fact 2: Bats can see! They have small eyes and can see during the day and at night in conditions we might consider pitch black.
  • Myth 3: Bats are flying rodents.
  • Fact 3: Bats actually aren’t related to mice or rats at all.
  • Myth 4: bats only live in attics and caves.
  • Fact 4: They also live in old trees and snags.

Instead of fearing bats, become a bat hero and help protect them! Bats face the threat of a deadly fungal disease called “white-nose syndrome” that has killed millions of bats in eastern North America, and now it’s here in Washington.


  • Myth 1: Owls hoot to ward off evil.
  • Fact 1: Owls hoot to communicate with other owls.
  • Myth 2: Owls are messengers of witches.
  • Fact 2: Owls usually want nothing to do with humans.
  • Myth 3: Owls have exceptional eyesight so if you eat their eggs or eyes you gain better vision.
  • Fact 3: Eating the eyes or eggs of an owl won’t make your vision any better.

Quick facts:

• Owls are active at night (nocturnal) 

• A group of owls is called a parliament

• Owls have powerful talons which help them catch and kill prey

Come visit: Forest the eagle owl lives behind-the-scenes at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium at the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater. You can see the owl during unscheduled encounters throughout the Zoo.

Tarantulas & Spiders

  • Myth 1: Tarantulas spin creepy webs
  • Fact 1: Tarantulas don't spin webs like most spiders or the webs we see on Halloween -- they use their silk to line or protect their burrows.
  • Myth 2: Tarantulas' venom is dangerous for humans.
  • Fact 2: Tarantulas do have venom, but it's only deadly when used on the insects their preying on. 
  • Myth 3: Spiders will bite you.
  • Fact 3: Spiders are mostly harmless and they usually just want to be left alone.

"I recommend for Halloween, instead of watching Arachnophobia, maybe read Charlotte's Web instead," laughed Jessica.

Celebrate fall and Halloween at the Point Defianze Zoo & Aquarium's Pumpkin Days! Visit their website for more information and to buy tickets. Costumes encouraged!

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium | 5400 North Pearl Street, Tacoma, WA 98407

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