Monday, December 3, 2018

Creepmas Crawlies

Natural History Museum
It just doesn't feel like the holidays until you've read a lovely tale with poetic phrases like, "weaponized maggot-shooting vaginal gun."  No, I'm not trying to peddle Creepmas smut again.  It's actually rather extraordinary the biological machinery that goes into enabling the Reindeer Snot Bot to discharge larvae mid-air and you can read all about it at

It's a very interesting, albeit disgusting read about a species of fly that shoots it's larvae into the nostrils of reindeer which then burrow into the sinuses and throat.  Once grown they work their way back up to be coughed or sneezed out.  Makes you wonder why there isn't already a Christmas song about reindeer and snot bots doesn't it?

It doesn't seem that they do any harm to their hosts, but I can't imagine...actually worse, I can imagine coughing up phlegm full of maggots.  Or on the other side having been sneezed on by a horse or two, which is utterly gross without maggots, I can well imagine what it would be like to get a face full of infested reindeer snot.  This is all more terrifying than any holiday horror film.

Just because this particular snot bot likes reindeer, doesn't mean that they always get the right species. Wired's article mentions a woman that received an eyeful of ejected larvae and if you click on the links there's one about some kids that were infested after visiting reindeer herding areas. That sounds like Halmark holiday gold, go for the reindeer, stay for the maggot infestation.

The Natural History Museum of London has a nice video hypothesizing that maybe Rudolph's nose is red due to bot flies.  The process is explained by Erica Mcalister, accompanied by some lovely pictures.  Some of them are actually lovely, the bot fly looks like a cute fuzzy little bee.  It was an interview with Erica on Science Friday that first turned me on to the reindeer snot bot.  There was such joy and adoration in her voice as she discussed that and many other disgusting but fascinating things that flies do to enable their survival.  It was quite infectious listening to her. I may have to put her book The Secret Life of Flies on my Christmas list.

Now if you hear the pawing and prancing of each little hoof, you'll also wonder if Donner and Blitzen are depositing some writhing maggot phlegm up on your rooftop as well.
Speaking of writhing, have you heard of the iceworm? As the name implies they live in ice or glaciers to be exact, this link has more information and a short video.  And Cordova, Alaska has been home to the Iceworm Festival since 1961.  Over the years it has evolved into a week long event.  There's a lovely article about the "Mother" of theCordova Iceworm Festival.

I love this entry for the iceworm cake competition. I could see doing something similar for a Creepmas cake.  

My first thought after reading about the Iceworm was that it would make a great X-Files episode.  Maybe because almost 30 years ago I saw that X-Files episode. Geez I'm old.

Know what else lives in the ice? "The Thing". I wonder if it's jealous it doesn't get it's own festival, although there is a movie marathon tradition that happens at the Sole Pole every year.

source: Australian Museum

And in Australia, Christmas is heralded in by Christmas Beetles. The Australian Museum held a contest to come up with common names for various species. I rather like the Furry Tailed Prince pictured above.  


  1. Snot bot - sounds like an app for my phone. Your blog is an interesting read. I never knew such a thing existed.

    1. I didn’t know about them either until last year and now I’m both horrified and fascinated. Also I think a need to make snot bots to hang on the tree.