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Poltergeist

Poltergeist is German for “noisy ghost”. While ghosts are usually thought of as harmless and quiet, poltergeists are quite noisy and destructive. They are blamed for the dishes breaking, the doors slamming and that proverbial “bump in the night”.

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Rat

A rat is a stout-bodied, long-tailed rodent that resembles a mouse but is larger in size. They tend to have pointed snouts and their tails are scaly. Rats spread human diseases, such as the Black Death of the Middle Ages.

Rodents are the largest mammalian order, Rodentia. They have front teeth adept for gnawing and cheek teeth adept for chewing.

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Skeleton

A skeleton is the bony and cartilaginous framework that supports the soft parts of and gives shape to a vertebrate animal.

Skeleton words and phrases:

Skeleton key: a master key, one that opens almost everything; a key with nearly the whole substance of the web filed away.

Skeleton shrimp: a small crustacean of the genus Caprella.

Skeleton in the closet: secrets and truths that one does not want made public because they are embarrassing or just plain bad.

Skeleton regiment: a regiment which has its complement of officers, but in which there are few enlisted men.

Skeleton proof: a proof of a print or engraving, with the inscription outlined in hair strokes only, such proofs being taken before the engraving is finished.

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Snake

photo courtesy of John White

Snakes are scaly, legless reptiles with long, tapering bodies containing many vertebrae.  Their paired organs are linear rather than side by side.  There are about 2,700 types of snakes and only one-fifth of those are venomous.  All snakes are deaf.  Some snakes wrap their bodies around their prey and constrict and crush their victims.  Others bite their prey and inject a toxin.

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Spider

photo courtesy of John White

Spiders are not insects, they are arachnids. Most spiders are beneficial. The eat bad garden bugs. There are bad spiders such as the black widow. She is a beautiful spider with a shinny black teardrop-shaped body and a red hourglass shape on her belly. She is not to be reckoned with, after she mates with a male widow (who, by the way, is a small brown spider), she eats him. She does have venom that can kill small children and people with weak immune systems. She can even put full-grown men in the hospital. Some people survive bites with just a little sickness and there are even people who suffer no ill-effects at all.

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Toad

Toads are land lovers except when breeding when they return to the water. Most toads burrow underground during the day and seek nourishment in the form of insects at night. Toads have a dry, rough, bumpy skin. The bumps or “warts” are glands that secrete an acrid fluid.

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Troll

Trolls are man-size or smaller creatures that dwell under bridges and in mounds by the seashore. They are likely to cause trouble to travelers and request a task or toll before allowing them to pass by.

In Scandinavian folklore, trolls are monstrous giants that live in castles and roam the land by night. They dislike humans and if exposed to sunlight they will turn to stone or explode.

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