Can there be a better day to talk about spiders than Halloween? I mean, numerous retail displays around the River Valley are decorated with creepy arachnids this time of year, hoping to create the chilling effect that goes hand in hand with the festivities on October 31st.
I have to admit that, in the past, I had a tendency to get the “willies” when I encountered these eight legged creatures, both imaginary and real. However, much of life is about change, and, over the years, as I have begun to learn more about spiders, I actually can kind of, somewhat, appreciate them, almost to the point of saying that the vast majority of them don’t really frighten me any more.
Take, for example, the black-and-yellow argiope spider.
This beauty decided to make its home on the deck this summer, content to spend the balmy days hanging upside down, catching those horrible, malicious wasps, annoying mosquitoes, and icky flies. Even though it looks deadly, this garden spider is harmless. In fact, humans are rarely susceptible to getting bit, and, when it does happen, the result is about the same as a bee sting.
We’ve spotted tarantulas in the ‘hood on Crow Mountain during the fall, or tarantula mating season in Arkansas.
Though these furry creatures are portrayed as deadly in books and movies, and on television (I had nightmares after the Brady Bunch Hawaii Episode), they are really harmless, docile creatures that, like its cousin above, bite only on rare occasions. Similarly, the bite is comparable to a bee sting. They also have the ability to regenerate lost legs, which could be a handy trait to have with so many of them!
Maybe this is not the case for all of his family, but the tarantula photoed above earned my vote for the “Awesome Arachnid Award”, simply because he (or she?) decided to hang out in one of the coolest places in Kansas, Monument Rocks. (More about that later!)
Debunking long lasting myths can be quite a challenge, especially when it comes to spiders. I hope to do my part in the future by handling any encounter with a mental state of curiosity and wonder instead of with fear and trepidation!