Fake cobwebs for Halloween threaten wildlife


October 19, 2023

Photo: EvgeniiAnd/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: EvgeniiAnd/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

With Halloween approaching, wildlife experts are warning people not to use fake cobwebs for outside decorations since it’s a hazard for birds, insects and other animals.

The Nebraska Wildlife Education group is warning residents that fake spider webs can entangle hummingbirds, owls, butterflies, bees and small critters.

“Often, the creatures moving through the bushes or trees decorated with this material can get caught, resulting in the animals dying of injury, starvation or predation unless they are rescued and rehabilitated,” Amber Schiltz, interim division administrator of the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission’s (NGPC) Fish & Wildlife Education Division, explained to Fox News Digital.

Synthetic spider web decorations are made with plastic-based materials that aren’t biodegradable, which could pose a threat to wildlife if winds blow the fake webbing to other areas, according to Schiltz.

She noted that fake spider webs also don’t break as easily as real spider webs.

“These spider web decorations trap creatures by entangling their wings and limbs,” Schiltz wrote.

Animal care experts with the Nebraska Wildlife Rehab in Omaha have observed juvenile squirrels getting entangled in fake spider webs when parent squirrels use the decorative material in burrows for winter nesting, according to Schiltz.

In recent years, wildlife rehab centers throughout the country have seen an increased number of entangled animals and insects, including warblers, hummingbirds, screech owls, dragonflies and butterflies, according to Schiltz.

The life-threatening entanglements are happening because the Halloween-decorating season “overlaps with key migration periods,” which affects creatures who “rely on urban areas as part of their habitat,” she explained.

Statistics on how many animals and insects are trapped in fake spider webs aren’t readily available, but wildlife experts and environmental watchdogs have also made announcements about the dangers the decorations pose to small wildlife.

About the Author

Ellen Wagner is a former digital editor for PMP magazine.

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  1. Usama says:

    I read article of Ellen Wegner.

    I am student of Master of Entomology, University of agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan.
    I want to work for pest control .
    Kind Regards

    Usama Arshad

    1. Heather Gooch says:

      Thanks for writing, Usama! We suggest reaching out to the Pakistan Pest Management Association. They are a wonderful resource for all things pest control there. Find them online at https://ppma.com.pk/, and we wish you much success in the future. — Eds.