Poke the Tarantula (That's Not a Euphemism)

I am not posting a picture of the tarantula, in deference to any arachnophobic readers. One of my garden work buckets had a lovely little boy tarantula trapped in it, so I spilled him out. He reared up--very fierce! I left him there, but came back about 10 minutes later and he was still in the middle of the walkway.

So I did the natural thing and went to get a stick to nudge him out of the way. Man those suckers are fast! He whipped around, reared up, and struck the stick several times. They must be really strong, too, because I could feel each strike transmitted up the stick. Luckily, he was not so ballsy as to run up the branch and onto my bare arm.

Let it be known that I am not a fan of overly large insects (potato bugs!!) or arachnids (camel spiders!!) but I don't feel the desire to wantonly kill them. So as long as he doesn't figure out how to use the newly-installed cat door, we should all get along just fine. And maybe he'll take care of some of those nasty centipedes while he's out there.

As for me, no more late-night trips out to the backyard for cat herding while in my bare feet or socks. Knowing that tarantulas are native to this area and seeing one that close to the house are two different things. Denial and reality, respectively.


Unknown said...

That's terrifying. I've luckily never seen a tarantula in Texas except at the snake/exotic animal exhibit between Austin and San Antonio--and I never want to. Spiders give me the heebie-jeebies.

So much so that I had to use the phrase "heebie-jeebies".

Angelica R. Jackson said...

I can see why you wouldn't bother to worry about tarantulas in Texas--there are so many other things, like gators and snapping turtles. We saw so many turtles at McKinney Falls state park in Austin, but the really big gators were closer to Houston. One was so big and beefy that it looked like a mattress covered in alligator skin. I have some pics on my www.AngelicaRJackson.com in the reptiles gallery.

Angie said...

Whoa - okay that would have freaked me out. I really like looking at tarantulas, behind a glass cage. And everyone who keeps them as pets says that they usually don't attack unless provoked, so I'm wondering if this species was one of the more aggressive ones.

btw - there's a spider thread over on AW. check it out. :)

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Oh, I was definitely provoking him--I was poking him with a stick!

He was already in a bad mood from endlessly walking in circles in a bucket, when I assume he'd rather be engaged in a more congenial activity with a lady tarantula.

Angie said...

Ah, yes you were provoking him, but not necessarily to begin with when you got him out of the bucket??

Just curious how you know it was a male - I thought the sexes were supposed to be hard to identify.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

I had to bang on the bottom of the bucket to get him out--I would imagine that was pretty traumatic.

A friend told me years ago that our native female tarantulas have visible spinnerettes (sp?) on their back end. This one didn't have them. I'm not a spider expert, in fact I would prefer to avoid them, so take that for what it's worth.

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