Beware, Fake Halloween Cobwebs Threaten Wildlife

By edhat staff

Fake cobwebs used for Halloween decorations can pose a real threat to wildlife, especially birds, according to experts.

The National Retail Federation reports Americans are expected to spend $2.7 billion on Halloween decorations this year and wildlife activists and experts are urging people to be mindful of local critters who may get caught and become injured. 

Two Northern California wildlife rescue centers are raising awareness on this issue. Alison Hermance of WildCare San Rafael states their animal hospital treats dozens of patients for entanglement injuries.

Several years ago a Screech Owl was caught in fake spiderweb decorations in Northern California. An animal rescue team responded and were able to free the owl who made a full recovery and was eventually released.

Western Screech Owl tangled in fake Halloween cobwebs (Photo: Dave Stapp / Marin Humane Society)

“Fake cobwebs have been known to cause intestinal damage in cats and can be especially hazardous to birds that can easily become entangled in the webbing,” said Lisa Bloch from Marin Humane Society

Experts also remind people to properly dispose of candy as some are toxic to wildlife and candy wrappers as they can get stuck in digestive tracts or cause wildlife to choke. The National Wildlife Federation reports birds and other small mammals enjoy pumpkin seeds.

Below is a video of the Western Screech Owl’s rescue and release.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

What do you think?


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  1. Please, can we just stop with this constant alarmist stuff from so-called “experts”? Oh, wow, “several years ago a Screech Owl was caught in fake spiderweb decorations in Northern California.” And, Lord forbid, “Fake cobwebs have been known to cause intestinal damage in cats.” What about cars hitting wildlife, cats, dogs or birds flying into windows? I guess we better ban those, too. And all that toxic candy, too, that can pose a “choking hazard” to wildlife. Jeez, give me a break. Most of these incredibly dangerous “fake cobwebs” don’t even look or act like cobwebs because people don’t know how to apply them properly – most look like rope strung across hedges. This must be a PETA sponsored article.

  2. I’m a pretty hardcore environmentalist and I ALWAYS see the danger in things for animals and wildlife. I have to say that even from where I stand, this seems pretty alarmist… Check your fake web for trapped owls, I guess, but of all the environmental problems we face like massive pesticide use, over fishing, everyone washing endless chemicals and microplastic from fleece clothing, etc. down their drains daily – this is really not high on the list of real concerns. I’d do almost anything to protect wildlife but this is overkill.

  3. RHS. Yup. And power lines kill birds too. I was so sad to come to work a couple weeks ago to find a dead hawk just under the high power line. I felt terrible for the poor little guy. There are dangers everywhere for wildlife and humans alike. Out my front door the other morning was a dead dove. Pretty little thing. Must have run into the window and broke his neck. So sad. A couple years ago while driving over a grade on 101 a semi hit a turkey from the other side of the highway and the poor thing flew over all dilapidated and hit my car. He didn’t die right away. I literally had to pull over and cry after that incident.

  4. Thank you for caring for our animal friends. We love Halloween and all of the decorations and now that we’re aware of the dangers of webs we’ll come up with something new and just as spooky! Respect and reverence … thank you yet again

  5. I noticed that cars were brought up as a potential hazard to birds and other wildlife. Obviously we need to eliminate cars in the long term. However, as an emergency short term measure I propose we institute a nationwide 25 mph speed limit. The reduced speed will help protect birds and other wildlife. Fuel economy is also greatly improved, reducing devastating CO2 (plant food) emissions. I think the reduced speed would also help mitigate road rage and “calm” traffic. Someone also noted that windows on buildings are a hazard to birds. I think that Santa Barbara should start requiring a bird flight path study be conducted for all new construction with exposed windows. This innovate, first of its kind measure would set a new standard in environmental protection. Perhaps we could even implement a window buyback program to help eliminate all the existing windows in santa barbara…

  6. To 03:23, if it wasn’t for conservationists who support sustainability, wetlands, and wildlands our wildlife would be in far greater peril. You didn’t mention Cal Trout or Trout Unlimited, but I practice catch-and-release and haven’t killed any salmonids in many, many years. The animals I kill are put to good use for friends and family and the few tuna I catch are usually released unharmed, and those that aren’t are donated to food banks. By the way, I also am a member of the Nature Conservancy – does that qualify as a proponent of wildlife? Perhaps you’d like to comment on what organizations you belong to. Vegan? PETA member?

  7. At 10:34. If you are that concerned about animals perhaps you think people shouldn’t exist since we obviously harm them just by living on this planet. And please don’t assume I have no compassion for animals; I am a member of several wildlife organizations including Cal Trout, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited, and others. But this stuff about fake cobwebs is just plain nonsense and how our alarmist culture makes us afraid of everything. Here, this article should make you happy:

  8. lol this is just over the top and stupid…
    i love animals. but this…ok so an owl several years back got caught. everyone cancel decorating their homes. no thanks! mine always has a stream of people viewing the decorations. No owls. Maybe a fly or two…
    just dumb…

  9. THANK YOU Edhat for alerting folks to this very REAL danger to birds. To the selfish whiners I say decorate all you want, just skip or go lite on the webbing. That’s all. The life of one bird is of far greater value than your selfish whims.

  10. For all the people complaining about this…. have a heart! Get REAL! This crap is bad for the environment too. I love Halloween to the point of obsession, but those fake spider webs are STUPID, and they don’t look scary, and it’s just waste. So. Much. Waste. You cannot re-use it, you just throw it away, and for that reason alone, it should be dumped as a decoration. There are SO many other cool ways to go off for Halloween that don’t include wildlife and environmental harming materials. Jeebus.

  11. Not clear to me what the Edhat comment in response to my posting is saying. But this op ed was signed “by EDHAT STAFF” so it does seem to represent the view of Edhat. Of course my comment about Edhat being “defensive” may be the point. If so, I agree that it is just one reader’s opinion formed from years of subscribing and reading the site.

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