Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Tarantulas (and Other Large Spiders)

For the most part, I'm not scared of spiders. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I like them. I like watching them build their webs, and I think that there's something inherently cool in being able to walk upside down.

I have standards when it comes to spiders, though: I like them small and friendly-looking and not too fuzzy.

Giant, hairy, man-eating spiders, I can do without.


I realize that this doesn't look like a tarantula. It is, however, a spider. And it was remarkably hard to get those flimsy legs just right, so I won't be making any more arachnids.

I once got into an epic battle of wills with a tarantula in Brazil. It was a huge, furry mother of a spider and it had all eight of its hairy legs spread over a giant egg sack. I wanted to take a picture of it with my hand in the photo for reference. I kept reaching out my hand, and it kept lunging at me when I got too close.

In the end, the spider won. I didn't get my picture.

That night, I dreamed that I was bound tightly in spider silk, hanging upside down from a tree. The mother tarantula and all of its babies were climbing the trunk towards me, clicking and humming. It was one of those dreams where you realize that you're dreaming, but no matter how hard you try, you can't force yourself to move or to wake up. (Note: being awake and not being able to move is frequently a sign of alien abduction. Not that I'm saying that's what happened, or anything. But it's something to think about.)

And ever since that day, I would really prefer that large, hairy spiders stay far, far away from me.

Cute little friendly spiders, however, are more than welcome to stop by and say hello.

44 comments:

  1. Ick!! No thank you to ANY spiders. Tarantulas especially.

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  2. Interesingly enough, the tarantualas bother me less than the shiny black widow type. Or the jumping ones with the brightly colored teeth. Or the fast moving wood spiders that seem more like shadows in the corner of your eye than a living thing. Or the orb weavers that you don't notice until YOU ARE FREAKING BOUND UP IN SPIDERWEBS AND YOU KNOW THAT THE DAMN THING IS ON YOU SOMEWHERE PROBABLY TANGLED IN YOU HAIR. And the alien-spiders-that-totally-want-to-freaking-kill-you-levitating-mofos.

    But other than that, spiders are OK.

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    1. Oh yeah, orb weavers... especially the yellow ones. Yellow spiders are just not friendly. EUGH!

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    2. You're like a spider rock star. Ha!

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    3. Boyfriend is convinced I have a super power, and that power is seeing spiders that no one else would notice.

      I would much rather have the "starting things on fire with mu mind" superpower. Really.

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  3. I like watching them make their webs. And who could forget that wonderful book,"Charlottes Web." Great little sculpture, does he have a name?

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    1. Errr...Spider? (I'm not good at names. Obviously.)

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  4. Agree! I'm on board with small garden spiders in places that I expect to see them, such as, say, in the garden. However any largish spider (large enough to see its hairy legs) in unexpected places (like in the house) and I'm standing on the nearest piece of furniture shrieking like a banshee.

    I would not do well in Australia!

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  5. No, no, no. This whole post had me shuddering and twitching.

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  6. i like a spider when it's on the other side of glass, making webs and eating things that sting me. otherwise, i prefer they stay at a minimum distance of 10 feet from me.

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  7. I hate spiders but I'd have to invite this one to tea because it's soooo cute! :D When we moved from Chicago to the Pacific NW 10 yrs ago, we were in for a real shocker at the number & size of the spiders out here. :-o

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  8. I don't mind spiders....but my cousin had a tarantula as a pet when I was about 8. He used to play cards and have it sit on his shoulder. I couldn't really support that situation, even at 8. But when he left town for a while and left his tarantula on his mother's dining room table in a glass tank (!), my sister and I used to run in and shove little things in there for him (her?) to eat. That was, before it starved to death because my aunt stopped using her dining room and didn't feed it (apparently our contributions were not enough).

    So...a spider here and there is ok, but I'm not up for the ones that jump or the ones that bite.

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    1. Gah. I will NEVER understand pet tarantulas.

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  9. I hate spiders to the point that I have made my son terrified of all bugs...he shrieks louder than me and often ends up crying....I fell sorry for his future wife and will take full credit for his unfortunate phobia. Seeing how I screwed my first child up so badly I let my husband take the reins with out daughter. She is not afraid of any bugs. The other day a spder was in the house and crawling towards me. I screamed and she came running. "What is it mommy!!!" she asked me. "A Spider, it's crawling towards you!!!" I replied. She looked down and saw the spider... and calmly stepped on it -she was barefoot!!!- Now, I call on my daughter when their is a bug murdering need in our house.

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    1. Ha! She's like the spider whisperer. If by "whisper", you mean "squash".

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  10. I actually *just* killed a spider that had been crawling on my bed, and my latest blog post is about how roaches outsmarted me. o_O

    Now, I've read your post about tarantulas. WHAT IS IT WITH BUGS AND ME TODAY?!

    -Barb the French Bean

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  11. *shutter* Sorry, couldn't read this. Too, creepy.

    Whenever there is a picture of any level of realism of above mentioned creature I scroll away as quick as I can.

    ICK!!!

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  12. Cool looking spider. I used to know someone who had over 50 tarantulas in his bedroom....... And people think I'm strange

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  13. Gah! I thought I was going to be safe because S went by without spiders. And then here's this. Blarg.

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    1. I waited for you to let your guard down. I'm a witch that way.

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    2. Well played, Stephanie. Well played.

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  14. I blogged about spiders today, too! I seriously hope spiders can read, because then they'll know that they'll get a much warmer reception at your house. :)

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  15. I like watching spiders, too. They're really interesting creatures.


    The Golden Eagle
    The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

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  16. My spider litmus tests is the "Am I willing to trap it and set it free outside with a cup and paper" technique. If I am, I'll do it, if not, I call in reinforcements (mr. strivingcynic, who is less likely to trap...)

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  17. Ack! Is there such a thing as a cute friendly spider? :)

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  18. I like spiders...splattered on the bottom of a rolled up newspaper. I have to spray my crawlspace every year, because of black widows and brown recluse. It's not like I'm in Fla. Why do all these critters bother me?

    I frequently can't move when trying to wake up. Aliens would explain a lot. If they are reading this; Please fix my back next time!

    I don't see anything particularly girly about your blog. Why are there so few male comments.

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    1. You don't think it's girly? I think it's pretty girly, in a non-sparkly, non-princessy kind of way. I mean...I AM a girl. Now that I think about it...I don't read as many blogs by men. I guess I just figured there were more female bloggers out there than male.

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  19. I like to watch spiders, but I prefer that they not look at me!

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  20. Stephanie...this is a great post. I can't say I'm a huge fan of spiders, I try to respect them and their purpose...that being said I have squished my fair share! Your dream sounded really scary!

    Jenny @ Pearson Report
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

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  21. i would love to hear more about your adventures in brazil! and A+ for effort on getting a photo - you may not have succeeded, but you walked away without a spider bite!
    i am not scared of spiders, but i can't say i like them, either. i do think the webs are stunning examples of natural beauty.
    i love your clay spider!!! you better hold on to it if you won't be making any more...never know when you need a spider for one of your stories!

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  22. I used to have a tarantula for a pet. Maybe pet isn't really the right word...more like an exhibit in my home. Great conversation starter for guests and always generated squeals from the kids. Then one day I couldn't find it...I am hoping alien abduction (please, please, please).

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  23. I feel pretty good about spiders, as long as they stay in their place. That would be...not in my house. Of course, they enjoy my house a lot. I think I've squished 2 this week, not counting the one who was crawling across the ceiling over the kitchen table just before dinner time the other day. I had to call in reinforcements for that one, because even standing on the chair, I can't reach the ceiling. Of course, the rotten thing ended up on the table anyway, where I immediately squished it. Come to think of it, if it's exceptionally large and looks like it might be headed toward my house, I kill it then too.

    Apparently, I could go on and on about spiders too. And I've never even seen a tarantula! (Outside of a zoo, of course)

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  24. I'm disturbed by animals with more than four legs. And things with weird, atypical mouths. So close up pictures of creepy crawlies make me die a little inside.

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  25. Very nice job of the spider Steph. It made me realize how intimate you must get to your subject when you 'clay' them.

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  26. I'd kill Charlotte. Spiders scare the bejeezus out of me. Your clay one, though, could stay.

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  27. I think that's a pretty snazzy spider. I leave the spiders alone when I see them around the house. I heard once they were good luck so as long as they're not crawling on my leg...they can stay~

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  28. My T-post is also about a spider... but not your normal, average everyday species...

    I prefer spiders to snakes/roaches and other creepy crawlies... and your one is a cutie-pie!

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  29. It sounds like you and I feel the same way about spiders, they are really cool, just not on me! (or too close)


    Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors

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  30. Hi, Stephanie,
    I came over here thanks to Arlee's mention. Your reference to alien abduction made me laugh and it's not acceptable behaviour where I'm at right now. ;)

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  31. I have a major fear of all spiders, big and small, and I'm nearly having a panic attack thinking of you putting your hand near a tarantula! *Shudder*

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  32. A friend of mine had a pet tarantula. He asked me to hold it, and I refused. After many weeks, I gave it. That arachnid was the sweetest thing in the world.

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  33. I have one tarantula, named Cheff, it's really nice pet and i just love it!

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