The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

The Buzz

Fake Spider Webs Are A Real Fright For Wildlife

(Photo via Shutterstock)

Talk about the tangled webs we weave. Those fake spider webs that give your house a creepy Halloween feel are even scarier than you might think for wildlife, because they can be a literal death trap. 

Much like real spider webs trap insects, those fake ones do too. And it's not just teeny, tiny insects that can get caught in the sticky strings. Birds can get entangled in the fake webs, and so can any small animals that are not strong enough to break free, Treehugger reports.

When an insect gets stuck in a real spider web, it's a normal part of the food chains that exist in the ecosystem. Spiders rely on insects as a food source, so they build webs to ensnare them. Those fake spider webs catch wildlife too, but nothing is going to come along and eat the catch — not even a spider, which can get caught in the webbing too. Instead, those trapped animals suffer and eventually die unless someone comes along to rescue them.

Rescues do happen. Wildlife rehabilitators frequently get calls in the run-up to Halloween about animals caught in the fake webs.

"This is the time of year that rehabilitators receive numerous animals caught in these decorations, from songbirds to chipmunks and everything in between," Kathryn Dudeck, wildlife director of the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Georgia, told Treehugger. "This is obviously not a new issue, but one I rarely see addressed."

Dudeck has even seen photos of a western screech owl stuck in the fake webbing. Luckily, it was able to be successfully rehabilitated after being rescued. 

The timing of our fake spider web decorations is problematic too, especially for birds. Fall is peak migration time for many birds, so just as we are turning our homes into spooky spectacles, birds are traveling through in large numbers. Migration poses many risk to birds, and many die each year during their journey. Additional obstacles like those posed by the sticky strings from fake spider webs increase the danger of migration. 

Many of the wildlife prone to getting tangled in these faux webs are already facing declining populations across the world. Bees and other pollinators, which are crucial to our food supply, face many threats that have caused populations to decline, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Birds, too, face many threats, and North America's bird population has fallen by more than 25 percent in the past 50 years, the National Audubon Society reports.

So when decorating for Halloween this year, take a pass on covering your bushes and porch with fake spider webs. If spiders and their webs are the kind of scare you have in mind, let the real ones do the trick.


Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.

Halloween Special: Six Very Freaky Fungi


Halloween may be right around the corner, but if you're looking for some nature-inspired horror shows at different times of year, all you have to do is look down while walking the trails.

Read More

Quiz: What's Your Blanding's Turtle IQ?


Take this 10-question quiz to find out.

Read More

The World Is Aglow: Light Pollution Alters Our View And Our Health


Light pollution affects our health and the health of the wildlife all around us, and it's getting worse.

Read More

Sign up for a Newsletter