This is the most common species of tree roosting bat in Kentucky, it is found throughout the Eastern United States and Canada. These bats typically have reddish fur, but it can also be golden brown. Red Bats, along with many other species, are nocturnal and eat insects. They primarily eat moths, but they will eat a variety of insects. Every night when they leave to search for food, Eastern Red Bats eat 20-50% of their body weight. These bats tend to migrate south and hibernate during winter. Their hibernation is done in hollow trees and fallen leaves.
This is a small owl that comes in two phenotypic variants. The grey morph is more common to the North while the red one is the almost exclusive morph of the South. These owls live in holes in trees or anywhere densely covered. They eat large insects and small rodents. Some examples are crickets, beetles, and mice. They also may catch flying insects from the air. These owls do not actually screech, their voices are much softer. An interesting thing to note about these owls is that they bring back blind snakes to their nest, but they don’t eat them. Instead, they drop them in the nest to protect the young from parasites.
Black widows are most known for the red hourglass on their abdomen. They are also known for the female’s cannibalism of the male. However, this is from a laboratory setting and may not always be the case. These spiders are venomous although very rarely deadly to humans. The females are much larger than the males and they also live much longer. The life expectancy of a female black widow is 1.5 years while only 2-5 months for a male. These spiders live in many different places close to the ground including rock piles and garages. Black widows spin webs that lack any sort of pattern. They eat a variety of insects (anything that touches the web and can’t break free).
This insect is Kentucky’s state butterfly. It appears to be wearing a monarch butterfly costume, but that is how it actually looks. This butterfly mimics the monarch butterflies. This is typically done to fool predators into thinking they are poisonous or that they taste bad, but, with the Viceroy, it is as poisonous as the Monarch. Therefore, the two species share each other’s poison protection. The Viceroy does have several differences to the Monarch. The Viceroy doesn’t migrate, is smaller than monarchs, and flies faster. The caterpillars eat willow and poplar tree leaves instead of milkweed.
This mushroom very much resembles the color and texture of a pumpkin. However, they are very poisonous so they shouldn’t be eaten. The mushroom grows on decaying stumps, on tree roots, or at the base of trees. These mushrooms are also bioluminescent and give off a blue-green color from their gills that is observable in the dark. Very spooky!