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Camera caught glowing spot bouncing in pitch-black NC woods. Biologists have an idea.

North Carolina Candid Critters captured this glowing dot in Onslow County
North Carolina Candid Critters captured this glowing dot in Onslow County NC Candid Critters/Facebook screenshot

Camera traps recently captured a creepy mystery bouncing around in the woods of eastern North Carolina.

Images from coastal Onslow County caught what seemed to be a luminous dot -- or orb -- bouncing in the air in front of the camera.

The camera traps, which are spread across dozens of N.C. counties, have a history of catching things not easily explained, including a suspected blood-sucking chupacabra dog spotted in April.

State biologists didn’t say where in Onslow County the glowing dot was seen, but they did say its definitely not a mammal.

“Once in a while we’ll catch a bird, and very rarely do we see reptiles,” said a post on the North Carolina Candid Critters Facebook page.

“We do, however, sometimes see insects and other invertebrates, but it’s usually just a flash of a fly or a bee in front of the camera.”

So what was the weird dot thing?

“We captured what appears to be an orb weaver spider spinning its web!” said the Candid Critters Facebook post.

Or so they hope.

Orb weavers grow more than 1.5 inches long in North Carolina and are among the state’s most “menacing” looking spiders, because of their long legs, says InsectIdentification.org.

They bite when cornered, and it feels like a bee sting, says WildlifeHeritage.org.

The spider was captured in action as part of a camera trap program known as NC Candid Critters. The cameras are triggered by animals moving in the state’s wooded areas at night, including bear, coyotes and moose.

Images of tough to identify animals are often posted on Facebook by state biologists, who offer theories.

NC Candid Critters uses volunteers to set up motion and heat sensitive camera traps across North Carolina. The preselected sites include public and private land, with the owner’s permission. The goal is to “figure out what mammals are living where in our state” so biologists can craft appropriate wildlife management efforts, says NCCandidCritters.org.

In April, some people thought the program had captured proof of a ”chupacabra devil dog” in one of the photos.

However state biologist believed the skeletal animal with little hair was more likely a diseased coyote.

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Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs
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