Beware the Belgian tarantula
October 21, 2013 § 4 Comments
Apparently, it’s spider season.
I took this photo on our way to school, but honestly I could have taken it about every 3 feet starting from our front door to almost anywhere we might be walking. I think this one is called, simply, a European garden spider. I’m not sure you can tell, but this thing is pretty darn big. I don’t think I am imagining it that when you approach even a little to get a better look, they rear up their front legs into an attack position while their beady little eyes stare you down. One thing is certain: getting from point A to point B takes a lot longer when you are with two boys who need to stop and inspect each one they see.
I grew up in California, another haven for these eight-legged creatures. In general, they don’t really bother me so much. And of course I appreciate that they help keep down the populations of all those other bugs you don’t want around. I will also take this pest over ones more commonly associated with New York City any day. But there is one massive speciman we have encountered here that just might give those bigger, faster horrors a run for their money. Its body is on the smaller side, but it has long, substantial legs that are covered in hair. It may be called a giant house spider (it can grow to a leg span of 4 inches) or perhaps a wolf spider, I’m not really sure. I just know the kids still refer to it as the “Belgian tarantula.” Just for emphasis, this is no garden spider—this one lives inside. I had to take an image from the web, because there was no way I was grabbing the camera while this thing was crawling around our house.
It’s not just newcomers who are put off by this autumnal invasion. Our neighbor told us a story about a spider they found in their back shed. She used her thumbs and forefingers to make a circle the size of a typical hamburger. My eyes opened wide. I asked what they did—maybe vacuum it up? She shook her head and silently mouthed the words, “Too big.” I think the story ended with a brother-in-law arriving with a special contraption of some kind. I didn’t ask for any more details.