Scary Animals List With Pictures & Facts Plus FREE Printable Halloween Animal Quiz

A list of scary animals for Halloween.

To celebrate Halloween we’ve made a list of some of the world’s scariest animals. Continue reading… if you dare!

Free Printable Halloween Animal Quiz To Download

Halloween Animal Quiz
FREE Halloween Animal Quiz: Click Image To Download

Test your knowledge of dangerous, creepy and scary animals with this FREE quiz!

Click here or on the image above to download your copy. All of the answers can be found on this page!

Below you’ll find mammals that drink blood, reptiles with venomous saliva, birds with terrifying calls, lizards that squirt blood from their eyes, and arachnids with freakishly large mouthparts!

What’s your favorite scary animal? Have we missed any out? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page!


Scary Animals Page Index


Aye-Aye

aye-aye

  • Scientific name: Daubentonia madagascariensis
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Conservation status: Endangered

The aye-aye is a lemur found on the African island of Madagascar. Local people believe that the aye-aye brings bad luck, especially if it points at you with its skeletal finger (the species uses its elongated middle fingers to prize grubs out of nooks and crannies).

There are around 100 species of lemur. Lemurs are only found on Madagascar, where they evolved independently of other primates such as monkeys and apes. The aye-aye lives in the rainforests on the eastern side of the island.

The aye-aye is the world’s largest nocturnal primate. This endangered animal hunts using echolocation. By tapping on trees, it is able to tell from the sound if food is present under the bark.

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Bald Uakari

Bald Uakari
Photo: Doug DeNeve [CC BY-SA 2.0]
  • Scientific name: Cacajao calvus
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

The hairless red head of the bald uakari gives this small monkey an almost human-like appearance. This bizarre-looking primate is found in the western reaches of the Amazon Rainforest in South America.

Sadly, hunting and habitat loss mean that the bald uakari now has a conservation status of ‘Vulnerable’.

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Bears

grizzly bear roaring
The grizzly bear is a North American subspecies of brown bear.

There are only eight living species of bear: polar bear, brown bear, American black bear, spectacled bear, sloth bear, sun bear, Asian black bear and giant panda.

Together these eight species make up the family Ursidae.

Most bears are omnivores, although some, such as the giant panda and spectacled bear, mainly eat plants. The sloth bear is a specialist insect eater.

The polar bear is the most carnivorous of all bears, and on average the largest, although the Kodiak bear (which is a subspecies of brown bear) can be even larger.

They may be cute as cubs, but as adults bears are big, powerful, and well-armed. They’re likely to attack if they think you’re a threat–or, in the case of brown bears and polar bears–if they’re hungry!

The insect-eating sloth bear is surprisingly aggressive given its diet and even the giant panda has been known to attack humans!

Bears make many appearances in myths and legends. Two constellations–Ursa Major (the great bear) and Ursa minor (lesser bear)–are named after bears.

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Camel Spider

camel spider

  • Order: Solifugae
  • Type of animal: Arachnid

Camel spiders are a group of arachnids that are mostly found in deserts and other arid habitats.

Being arachnids, camel spiders have eight legs, along with two additional pairs of appendages on their heads.

In camel spiders, these additional appendages take the form of long, leg-like feelers, and freakishly large, fearsome-looking mouthparts.

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Cockroaches

German Cockroach
German cockroach. Photo by: Lmbuga (cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Insects aren’t particularly well-liked animals at the best of times, but cockroaches have a particularly bad reputation.

More “gross animals” than “scary animals”, cockroaches are associated with dirty, unhygienic surroundings. They’re known to transmit disease, and can cause an unpleasant odor in buildings in which they are present.

The German cockroach Blattella germanica is the most commonly-encountered cockroach in the United States. It is one of around 4,600 cockroach species, all of which are members of the order Blattodea.

Cockroaches are closely related to termites, which are also members of Blattodea.

The German cockroach is a survival expert. This hardy insect is found on all continents except Antarctica, and can reproduce faster than any other “pest” cockroach. Some people think that, in the event of a nuclear war, cockroaches would be the only species to survive!

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Gila Monster

gila monster

  • Scientific name: Heloderma suspectum
  • Type of animal: Reptile
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

The Gila monster is one of only two venomous lizards found in North America (the other being the closely-related Mexican beaded lizard). Although the species feeds mainly on eggs, its venom helps it to subdue live prey such as small birds, mammals and reptiles.

The Gila monster’s venomous bite, together with its warning coloration, help protect it from predators.

This large, black / orange lizard grows to a maximum length of around 56 cm (22 in). It is found in deserts and scrubland in the southwestern United States and Mexico.

Although the Gila monster had a fearsome reputation among early settlers, its bite, although extremely painful, is rarely fatal.

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Hellbender

hellbender

  • Scientific name: Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
  • Type of animal: Amphibian
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

A true ‘river monster’, the hellbender is one of the largest amphibians in the world, and the largest found in the Americas. The species reaches a maximum length of around 74 cm (29 in).

The hellbender lives in fast-flowing rivers and streams. Unlike most other amphibians, it lives in the water even after having reached maturity. The species is entirely carnivorous, preying on crayfish, mollusks and fish.

Although the hellbender has lungs, it also obtains oxygen from the water via its slimy, wrinkled skin.

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Horned Lizards

Texas Horned Lizard
Texas Horned Lizard

Horned lizards are reptiles in the genus Phrynosoma. With armored plates, rows of spines running along their sides and backs, and horn-like spines on their heads, horned lizards resemble miniature dinosaurs.

Due to their squat, rounded appearance horned lizards are also known as horny toads.

Horned lizards don’t tend to move very fast and rely on their excellent camouflage to keep out of the way of predators.

Why are horned lizards included in this list of Halloween animals? It’s not their dinosaur-like appearance, but something even more terrifying; when threatened, these little reptiles squirt a stream of blood from their eyes and mouth!

The blood also contains foul-tasting chemicals, so if the sight of the blood itself wasn’t enough, its taste may make a potential predator think twice about eating the lizard.

Found in the southern United States and Mexico, the Texas horned lizard is the most widespread horned lizard. It grows to around 10 cm / 4 in. in length.

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Iberian Ribbed Newt

Iberian Ribbed Newt
Photo by: Peter Halasz / Pengo (Cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com) [CC BY-SA 2.5 Generic]
  • Scientific name: Pleurodeles waltl
  • Type of animal: Amphibian
  • Conservation status: Near Threatened

The Iberian ribbed newt is the largest newt found in Europe, but that’s not why it’s on this list of scary animals. We’ve included this terrifying amphibian because of the unique way in which it defends itself from predators.

When threatened, the Iberian ribbed newt is able to puncture its own skin with its sharp ribs. While doing so it also secretes poison from its skin, meaning that an animal picking up the newt in its mouth would get a mouthful of sharp, poisonous spines.

You may think that piercing its own skin with its bones would cause the Iberian ribbed newt serious harm, but in fact the skin quickly grows back, leaving the amphibian seemingly unaffected.

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Komodo Dragon

komodo dragon
The komodo dragon is the largest lizard in the world.
  • Scientific name: Varanus komodoensis
  • Type of animal: Reptile
  • Conservation status: Vulnerable

Growing to 3 meters (10 ft.) in length, the Komodo dragon is the world’s largest lizard. This Asian species is found on the Indonesian island of Komodo, from which it gets its name, and two other neighboring islands.

With its lumbering gait, the fearsome Southeast Asian lizard would at first glance seem unable to catch nimble-footed prey. Don’t be fooled; the Komodo dragon is capable of a surprising burst of speed. The species is also thought to produce venom that makes its bite even more potent.

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Owls

Barn owl close up
Barn owl
  • Type of Animal: Bird

Owls are birds in the order Strigiformes (an “order” is a group of related animals).

Nearly all owls are nocturnal; their large eyes are an adaptation for seeing at night.

Owls also have excellent hearing; the stiff feathers that surround their round faces help to direct sound towards their ears. In addition, special feathers help owls to fly silently.

Because owls are active at night they are often associated with the supernatural. You’ve probably seen a film or TV show that uses an owl’s cry to set the atmosphere for a spooky nighttime scene.

Instead of a pleasant ‘twit-twoo!’, a barn owl (see picture) emits a bloodcurdling range of screeches and hisses. In some areas it is known as a ‘screech owl’ on behalf of its terrifying call.

In addition, the silent, ghostly form of a barn owl flying through the night has led to superstitious people giving it names such as ‘demon owl’, ’death owl’ and ’ghost owl’.

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Pacific Viperfish

Pacific Viperfish

  • Scientific name: Chauliodus macouni
  • Type of animal: Fish
  • Conservation status: Unassessed

The Pacific viperfish is a deep sea fish found up to 5km below the surface. Despite only having a maximum body length of around 30 cm (1 ft.), the Pacific viperfish’s immense fangs are enough to put anyone off going into the water!

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Scorpions

Deathstalker Scorpion with stinger raised
Deathstalker Scorpion

Like spiders, scorpions are arachnids. There are around 1,750 species of scorpion. Together they make up the order Scorpiones.

Whereas some spiders have a venomous bite, it’s a scorpion’s tail you need to be careful of. All scorpions have a venomous stinger located at the end of the tail. This is used both to capture prey and as a defense against predators.

Very few scorpions possess venom strong enough to be deadly to humans. Unless you suffer from specific allergies and no medical help is available, you’ll generally survive a scorpion sting.

The deathstalker scorpion Leiurus quinquestriatus inhabits deserts and other dry habitats in North Africa and the Middle East. Its powerful venom and speedy strike make it one of the world’s most dangerous scorpions.

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Sharks

Great White Shark
Great white shark

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat!” These are the words famously spoken by Roy Scheider’s character Chief Brody after seeing the huge killer shark in the movie Jaws.

Even before the release of classic seventies movie, sharks were regarded as truly terrifying animals; the film just took fear of sharks mainstream.

One of the largest sharks (and the star of Jaws) is the great white shark Carcharodon carcharias. This fearsome ocean predator can reach lengths of 20 ft (6 m).

All sharks are equipped with special sense organs known as ampullae of Lorenzini. These enable a shark to detect electrical fields produced by the muscles of other animals.

Sharks have several rows of teeth. These are continuously replaced during a shark’s lifetime, with new teeth moving from the back to the front. There’s little chance of a shark missing a meal due to toothache!

If you’re in the water and you see a great white shark approaching, it’s a good idea to get in a boat. A big boat.

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Slugs

slug

It’s probably because we’re mammals ourselves that we can relate to other mammals such as cats and dogs better than we can to animals such as slugs.

… Or maybe it’s a slug’s slimy skin, tentacles and sticky trails that puts us off!

Slugs belong to the mollusk class Gastropoda, which also includes snails. Although slugs don’t have visible shells, most species have a much-reduced shell located under their skin.

A slug’s slimy skin prevents its body–which is made mainly of water–from drying out.

Most slugs have two pairs of tentacles, both of which are retractable. A slug’s eyes are located at the ends of the top pair of tentacles. The lower tentacles provide a sense of smell.

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Snakes

Cottonmouth snake
The cottonmouth is one of the United States’ most dangerous snakes.

Snakes are limbless reptiles in the suborder Serpentes. Their closest relatives are lizards. Both snakes and lizards are members of the reptilian order Squamata.

The first snakes appeared during the Late Cretaceous period; perhaps 30 or 40 million years before the first primates.

The fear of snakes is known as Ophidiophobia. Scientific research has found that an instinctive fear of snakes may actually be something we’re born with. In other words, snakes are scientifically proven to be scary animals!

There are around 3,600 species of snake divided between 18 families.

The snake family with the largest number of species is Colubridae. Snakes in this family are generally quite small and non-venomous.

The largest snakes are found in the families Boidae (the boa family) and Pythonidae (the python family). Snakes in these families are nonvenomous and use constriction to overcome their prey.

Well known families of venomous snakes include Viperidae (the vipers) and Elapidae, which includes Cobras, mambas and taipans.

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Spiders

Huntsman Spider showing chelicerae
A huntsman spider displaying its formidable fangs.

Spiders are arachnids belonging to the order Araneae. With over 48,000 known species, Araneae is the largest order of arachnids.

Not only are there an awful lot of different spiders, they’re also found in virtually all land habitats, and on every continent except Antarctica. That’s bad news if you happen to suffer from arachnophobia! (Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders.)

If you are an arachnophobe, you should probably stay away from these guys:

Redknee tarantula Brachypelma hamorii (a large, hairy spider found in Mexico)

Sydney funnel-web spider Atrax robustus, (a highly-venomous spider found around Sydney, Australia)

Brazilian wandering spider (a large South American species that competes with the Sydney funnel-web spider for title of ‘most venomous spider’)

Redback spider Latrodectus hasselti (another highly-venomous Australian species, recognizable by the red hourglass marking on its otherwise all black abdomen).

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Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian Devil

  • Scientific name: Sarcophilus harrisii
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Conservation status: Endangered

The Tasmanian devil is the largest living carnivorous marsupial. The size of a small dog, this Australian mammal has a powerful, squat build and large head. It has one of the strongest bites in relation to body size of any animal.

The species is only found on the Australian island state of Tasmania. The ‘devil’ part of its name refers both to the bloodcurdling screams emitted by this nocturnal animal as it feeds, and its aggressive temperament.

Sadly, in recent years this distinctive animal has been badly affected by a disease that has caused its population to plummet. This scary animal now finds itself on the endangered list.

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Thorny Devil

Thorny Devil

  • Scientific name: Moloch horridus
  • Type of animal: Reptile
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The ‘Moloch’ part of the thorny devil’s scientific name refers to an ancient god whose followers took part in human sacrifice. The ‘horridus’ part means, well, horrible.

The thorny devil’s scary name is due to the lizard’s fearsome appearance. With horn-like scales on its head and spines running along its back, tail and legs, this desert reptile resembles a mini dinosaur.

A ‘false head’ behind the lizard’s real head–which provides protection from predators–only adds to the animal’s bizarre appearance.

In fact, the thorny devil is well-adapted to the hot, dry climate of the Australian outback. Tiny channels between the scales carry water that has condensed on the animal’s skin to its mouth.

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Toads

Common Toad
Common Toad

Toads are amphibians and, along with frogs, belong to the order Anura.

Biologically, there isn’t a great deal of difference between frogs and toads; species with dry, warty skin tend to be named “toads”; whereas species with smooth, moist skin are known as “frogs”.

Toads are included on this list of scary animals due to their association with witches and witchcraft. No self-respecting witch makes a potion without at least one toad in the recipe.

This association may have begun due to the fact that toads in the “true toad” family Bufonidae secrete poison from parotoid glands behind their eyes.

Being amphibians, toads hatch from eggs laid in water, and spend the first stage of their lives as tadpoles. Their bodies then undergo a process known as metamorphosis. During this time toads develop lungs and limbs. In their adult form, toads breathe air and are able to leave the water.

Perhaps the scariest toad of all is the cane toad. This South American species was exported to Australia to protect crops from insects.

The plan, unsurprisingly, backfired. Today, the presence of cane toads is a major threat to several much-loved Australian species, including quolls and goannas.

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Vampire Bat

Vampire Bat

  • Scientific name: Desmodus rotundus
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

The common vampire bat is one of three species of vampire bat (the other two are the hairy-legged vampire bat, and the white-winged vampire bat). The diet of all three species consists entirely of blood.

The common vampire bat targets mammals–usually livestock–while they are sleeping. It either swoops down directly onto the animal, or lands nearby and crawls over before jumping onto its victim.

Using special heat sensors in its nose, the vampire bat is able to locate where its victim’s blood is flowing closest to the skin. It bites through the skin with razor-sharp teeth, while chemicals in its saliva prevent a scab from forming as it feeds.

Although the vampire bat’s bite is non-fatal, the species is known to carry rabies.

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Vampire Squid

Vampire Squid

  • Scientific name: Vampyroteuthis infernalis
  • Type of animal: Mollusk (spelt Mollusc in British English)
  • Conservation status: Unassessed

The vampire squid, despite its name, is not a true squid. Instead, it is the only living member of the order Vampyromorphida, and is more closely-related to octopuses.

This deep sea species lives in depths of 3km or more. If threatened, it will open its webbed legs and expose fearsome-looking (but harmless) spines.

This scary animal has got an equally scary scientific name, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, which means ‘vampire squid from hell’.

This scary animal’s scientific name, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, means ‘vampire squid from hell’, which to us sounds like a good name for a heavy metal band.

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Wolf

gray wolf

  • Scientific name: Canis lupus
  • Type of animal: Mammal
  • Conservation status: Least Concern

Few, if any, animals have inspired as many myths and legends as the gray wolf. It is an animal of the wilderness which, unlike its cousin the coyote, doesn’t live happily near humans.

The gray wolf is the largest member of the dog family, Canidae. It is found throughout much of the northern hemisphere, and has many subspecies, including the Eurasian wolf, Arctic wolf, northwestern wolf and the domestic dog.

The long, eerie howls produced by a pack of wolves are among the most spine-chilling of all animal sounds.

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Scary Animals: Conclusion

We hope that you enjoyed reading about the scary animals on this page and weren’t too freaked out by them!

You can discover many more amazing animals on the following pages:

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