In the earth beneath our neighborhoods, the woods surrounding our favorite hiking trails and the waters that line our coasts lurks a strange phenomenon: Creatures that have traveled great distances to call communities in the South home – and wreak havoc on the world around them.
As unwelcome as these new neighbors may be, they’re also giving scientists, farmers, fisherfolk, homeowner associations and more a chance to get creative finding ways to eliminate these species, mitigate their harm or work toward a more peaceful coexistence.
CREEP is a podcast that encourages us to lean in for a closer look at how insects, animals and plants are changing the environment, economy and health of our region in ways we never expected. Listen, subscribe and get to know some of nature’s most fascinating, grotesque and mysterious members.
Presented in partnership with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
Meet the Hosts
Laura Pellicer is a digital news reporter. She was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, a city she considers arrestingly beautiful, if not a little dysfunctional. Laura loves tracing innovations in science and technology and pursuing stories about the natural world. She is enamored with North Carolina — notably the lush forests, and the waves where she moonlights as a mediocre surfer. Follow Laura on Twitter @LauraPLive.
Elizabeth Friend is a reporter, independent producer and co-founder of the beloved event series Audio Under The Stars. She also lives in North Carolina with her dog Duncan and daughter Zaida, who both make critical appearances in CREEP. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @efriend.
Adithi Ramakrishnan, AAAS fellow, @adithi_r1
Rats have been hitching a ride with humans around the globe for so long, it’s easy to forget that in most places they are an invasive species. These clever, voracious vermin have staked their claim on cities across six continents, but in some parts of the world, there’s a push to reclaim key places from rats and rebuild fractured native ecosystems. | Support CREEP with a donation at wunc.org/give.
CREEP co-host Elizabeth Friend shares a special message of gratitude to listeners and extends an invitation to be in touch ahead of the next new episode. | Support this show with a donation to wunc.org/give.
Feral swine — also known as wild hogs, razorbacks, or Russian boar — cause upwards of $2.5 billion in damages across the United States each year.
What does Babe the Pig have in common with Hogzilla? And how do we keep a porcine plague from spreading throughout the South? Farmers, trappers and wildlife experts from Western North Carolina to West Texas search for solutions to the region’s big pig problem. | Find more about animal invaders at wunc.org/creep.
Fire ants are an invasive species, and they're here to stay in North Carolina. Here's what to do if a colony pops up in your backyard.
Aggressive, venomous and seemingly unstoppable, fire ants are literally the stuff of horror movies. Delve into the origin and adaptations of this resilient insect as it expands its range throughout the South. | Find more CREEP content at wunc.org/creep.
The flatworm hails from Papua New Guinea and feeds on everything from earthworms to slugs and snails.
Dig into the origins and impacts of invasive flatworms in the American South. Follow this slimy predator from the suburbs of North Carolina to Southeast Asia and over to France. | Love science stories like this one? Support this show with a donation to wunc.org/give.
A grotesque backyard discovery in North Carolina leads to an enthusiastic exploration of the invaders that are now our neighbors. | Learn more at wunc.org/creep.