Myths- Just what is a myth and how do they get started?  There are several ways they originate. Some cases are when someone sees something and misinterprets or it happens so fast that they get confused by what is really happening. This told as fact, then when it is re-told it is changed to make it sound more plausible. Still some started as a way for parents to find a way to insure that their children would not get near a possibly dangerous animal.
   Originally, most people accepted myths as being real explanations of things they experienced. Today, a myth is thought of as a fiction, or at best a half-truth.
Enjoy reading the myths I have assembled for your pleasure. If you have a Myth you would like to add, please do so by sending it to SBSMC1@ATT.NET, and I will try to include it with the other Myths.

As a Wildlife Control Cooperator over the past decade, I have heard many chemical and mechanical remedies which people have used in an attempt to remove or control nuisance animals within their homes or out-buildings. These remedies include Mothballs, ammonia, gummy bears, ultrasonic devices, radios, lights, and plastic owls. At best these types of remedies are only temporary as the animals simply move to another area, ignore it altogether or dig or chew around the area. At worst it is illegal to use a product inconsistent with its labeling. Mothballs for instance are highly flammable and possibly carcinogenic. Lights, ultrasonic devices, and radios are also ineffective over the long term because, just like you, they simply tune it out  or move to a different location within the building.


Hoop Snake: When surprised this snake will grab its tail in its mouth, forming a 'hoop' and roll away. One version says that the hoop snake will chase a person in this manner. In another version is that the snake will roll down a hill killing anything in its path. TRUTH: There are no actual verified recorded observation of a hoop snake.

Snakes swallow their young: Some snakes such as garter snakes, swallow their young when threatened to protect them.  TRUTH: Garter snakes and other non-poisonous varieties, lay their eggs in a warm damp area. When born the young move away almost immediately. Only the venomous snakes bare their young alive.

SLIMY SNAKES: A snake's skin is slimy and disgusting to touch. TRUTH: A snake's skin is dry and mostly smooth. The edges of the scales make it seem rough. The snake is a 'cold' blooded creature and this may make it seem to be slimy and clammy.

RATTLE SNAKES GROW ONE BUTTON EACH YEAR: It is a common belief that a person can tell the age of a rattle snake by counting the buttons of its rattle. TRUTH: The rattle snake add a button each time they shed their skin, which they do at least twice a year. Also they may loose a button when one breaks off.

MILK SNAKES SUCK MILK FROM COWS: The Milk Snake will sneak into barns  and barnyards where they suck milk from cows. TRUTH: Milk snakes do enter barns in pursuit of mice and other small rodents, but they definitely do not suck milk from a cow or any other animal.

SNAKES TRAVEL IN PAIRS: If one snake is killed the other snake seeks revenge. TRUTH: If there is good habitat then a person might see more than one snake in an area. There has been no evidence to prove that snakes travel in pairs.

 SNAKES HAVE STINGERSTRUTH: Some snakes have pointed tails but do not have stingers as bees and wasps. Snakes produces and store the dangerous venom in their head.

SNAKES 'CHARM' THEIR PREY:  TRUTH: There is no scientific evidence that snakes are able to 'charm' or hypnotize its prey. It is probable that the animal becomes frozen with fear when they see a snake.

SNAKES CAN ONLY STRIKE FROM A COILED POSITION: TRUTH: Snakes can strike from any position.

HOGNOSE SNAKES CAN MIX POISON WITH THEIR BREATH: Some times a Hognose Snake or Puff adder, can mix its poison with it's breath and kill a person at a distance of 10 to 20 feet - TRUTH: The Hognose snake does not produce  venom.

VENOMOUS WATER MOCCASINS LIVE IN OHIO: TRUTH: The Water Moccasin is venomous, but they do not live in Ohio. The northern Water Snake and the Lake Erie Water Snake, which look something like the Water Moccasin do live in Ohio but are non-venomous.

REMOVING A POISONOUS SNAKES FANGS MAKES THEM HARMLESS: TRUTH:  The fangs of venomous snakes are constantly being renewed.



ALL BIRDS EAT WORMS: TRUTH: Some birds do eat worms, but many birds cannot tolerate the parasites associated with them.

BIRD PARENTS WILL ABANDON THEIR YOUNG IF TOUCHED BY HUMANS: TRUTH: Songbirds have a very poor sense of smell and will return to the young as soon as the humans leave.

BIRDS RAISED BY HUMANS CANNOT BE RELEASED INTO THE WILD: TRUTH: Although a bird that has been raised by humans does have disadvantages during the first couple of weeks. If the birds diet is supplemented during this time they will soon learn to forage on their own.



SQUIRRELS REMEMBER WHERE THEY HIDE THEIR SEEDS AND NUTS: TRUTH:  The squirrel has a very keen sense of smell and use this to locate their hidden booty. The squirrel does not find all of the seed and nuts it buries making it the 'Johnny Apple Seed' of the small animal world because what he doesn't find may sprout and  grow.

SQUIRRELS HIBERNATE DURING THE COLDEST MONTHS OF WINTER: TRUTH: Squirrels are most active in late winter, when mating season begins and the male chases the female through the tree tops, performing breath taking acrobatics in the process.

SQUIRRELS EAT ONLY NUTS AND SEEDS: TRUTH: The squirrels diet consists of nuts, seeds and fruit. It will eat bird eggs, bugs, and even an animal carcass if there is no other food source available.



BATS ARE DIRTY AND ALL CARRY RABIES: TRUTH:  Bats are very clean and groom themselves just like cats. Bats do get rabies just like any warm blooded animal. Remember bats are wild animals and if you are bitten or scratched, please consult with your doctor.

BATS SUCK YOUR BLOOD: TRUTH: There are vampire bats. These live in Mexico, Central and South America. These bats feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals such as horses and cattle, They do not suck the blood but obtain blood from a small cut in the skin. They then lick the blood from the wound and the salvia contains an anesthetic to keep the injured animal from feeling the cut  and an anticoagulant that keeps the blood from clotting.  The bat requires only about two tablespoons at each feeding.

BATS ARE RODENTS: TRUTH: Although bats resemble rodents because of their size and furry bodies. They are closely related to primates, which includes humans, than to rodents

BATS ARE BLIND: TRUTH: Bats do not see in color as we do, but according to the University of California at Berkeley, they see better at night than we do. They also use echolocation to navigate and to capture insects.

BATS LIVE ONLY IN CAVES: TRUTH: Bats will roost almost anywhere. They have been found behind window shutters, inside concrete block walls, beneath Spanish style tile roofs, and of course in a house attic.

BATS EAT ALMOST THEIR BODY WEIGHT IN INSECTS EACH NIGHT: TRUTH: This is not a Myth but a fact. A single bat will eat up to 3,000 insects a night and an average sized colony will consume up to a half million insects every night. An average sized human adult would have to eat around 160 pounds of food in the same time period.

BATS DO NOT LIVE VERY LONG: TRUTH: Bats are exceptionally long-lived, some species can live up to 30+ years.

ALL BATS HAVE RABIES: TRUTH: Less than of 1% of bats carry the rabies virus (University of Florida). In addition, rabid bats are seldom aggressive. Fewer than 40 people in the United States are known to have contracted rabies from bats during the past 40 years. Far more people are killed by dog attacks, bee stings, power mowers, or lightning than rabies from bats. However, rabies is a dangerous disease so you should avoid direct contact with bats as well as other wild animals.



RACCOON SEEN OUT IN THE DAYTIME ARE RABID: TRUTH: While the raccoon is more active during the nighttime hours, many will venture out during the daytime foraging for food. This especially true of the female with a litter of babies to feed.

RACCOON HIBERNATE IN THE WINTER: TRUTH: The raccoon do go through a period of reduced activity during the coldest part of winter, referred to as Torpor.

RACCOON WASH THEIR FOOD: TRUTH: The raccoon have very sensitive feet and use this to feel their food such as grubs, crayfish, and other larva. This procedure looks almost like they are washing their food. The raccoon will sometimes place hard food in the water to soften it.

RACCOON EAT CATS: TRUTH: The raccoon is an animal of opportunity - They will eat almost anything including dead cats and other animals if they can't find anything else.



YOU CAN TELL THE TEMPERATURE BY COUNTING THE NUMBER OF TIMES IT CHIRPS IN 15 SECONDS: TRUTH:  The cricket has been known to demonstrate activity that is related to the air temperature. By counting the number of times the cricket chirps in 15 seconds, then add it to 67deg F. the sum would be a good indication of the air temperature. Since the cricket are nosiest at night and are close to the ground, this is very unreliable method of determining the air temperature.



SKUNKS ARE THE NUMBER ONE CARRIER OF RABIES: TRUTH: Unvaccinated outdoor cats and free-roaming dogs are a much higher risk because of their access to wild animals. Each county has a different animal that ranks number one.

FOAMING AT THE MOUTH IS A SURE SIGN OF RABIES: TRUTH: Foaming at the mouth can also be a symptom of distemper, round worm, ticks, coccidia, or other external or internal parasite overload, diabetes, liver failure, poisoning, epilepsy, herpes, allergies, and severe dehydration and emaciation, all of which are more common than rabies.

SKUNKS CANNOT SPRAY UNLESS THEIR BACK FEET ARE ON THE GROUND OR WHEN HUNG BY THE TAIL OR WHEN THE TAIL IS TUCKED UNDERNEATH TO HIDE THE ANUS. TRUTH:  The fact that skunks usually spray as a last resort and and the spray is not an unlimited quantity is how these myth get started. The skunk can spray with its tail in almost any position and when it is doing a handstand (especially in the case of the spotted skunk). The skunk simply chooses not to spray most of the time.

SKUNK SPRAY IS URINE: TRUTH: It is an acrid yellow oily foamy spray ( a sulfur compound, n-butyl mercaptan) that comes our of a gland that is just out side the anal area.

SKUNKS CAN CLIMB AND JUMP LIKE A CAT: TRUTH: The striped skunks have limited climbing abilities and don't fall well. Only the little spotted skunk can climb.

SKUNKS ARE NOCTURNAL: TRUTH: They are crepuscular which means that they usually active at dusk and dawn.




 Page by Fay Ryan                                  LAST UPDATED: 09/21/2017 10:33 AM