Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The not-so-itsy-bitsy spider *don't say I didn't warn you*

It was about 10:30 yesterday morning. The air was refreshingly cool, and a rare, welcome rain was falling. I was still buzzing from the best cup of coffee I'd ever made. Smooch was on the back porch, and I was in my office, plugging away at the mundane brochure du jour. Then I heard Smooch scratching at the back door, wanting to come in the house. It wasn't her normal scratch-I want to come in now-scratch. It was a plaintive, scratch-scratch-scratch-let-me-in-RIGHT-NOW kind of scratch.

I went to the door and let her in. She was anxious and whining, and she couldn't run into the house fast enough. 
Was she fretting about the rain?

Hell, no! She was in fear for her life! There was a tarantula on the doorstep!

I gathered my wits, my camera, and the nearest long-handled object...a lunge whip.

Smooch: Hurry, mom! It's trying to get in the house!

This wasn't my first tarantula, and I remained surprisingly calm. 
Looking at it through the lens was a lot less frightening than looking at in person.

Smooch:Mom, are you freakin' nuts?! Lose the camera and get rid of the &$@!* thing!
(Bet you didn't know Smooch had such a potty mouth.)

Anyway, the lunge whip only served to agitate the beast, so I went for the big guns – the snake pole.
But holding the snake pole and pulling on the other end of the loop required two hands.
How could I take pictures?

Think broom hockey.

I'm letting you off the hook this time, little missy, but don't you ever go scaring my dog again! You hear me?

Actually, I'm kind of glad she showed up. I've been writing about beverages for two days and it's been kind of boring around here.


  1. I would have peed my pants!

  2. Yikes!! I would not have been able to handle that one! I have an intense fear of spiders!
    Funny how Smooch freaked out and wanted in! I didn't realize tarantula's were that scary to dogs!
    Great job getting the thing to go away!

  3. Fascinating! I understand that they're really not too harmful - but they sure are large and hairy!

  4. Eeeek! I'd be in the house with Smooch, potty mouth and all, just praying that THING would walk out towards the pasture and get stepped on by one of the big guys!!!

  5. you mentioned it was less scary thru the camera lens.

    have you seen the movie Blair Witch Project? when kids make a documentary of their own undoing--death--in a creepy, horror fest that will haunt me for life...anyway, at one point in the movie, someone else took a hold of the camera and started filming. he said, "Aha, I can see why you have kept filming this whole time. Things look less scary through the camera!"

    you have captured that horror perfectly.

    until tonight, i always wanted to see NM, but now i will not. no., way.


    freaking out now,

    °lytha in germany

  6. In that next-to-last picture, is the little missy preparing to do battle with your broom?

    I would say that I would be horrified to see such a thing, but it's all in what you're used to. Lynette, another of your fans, is used to seeing alligators. I'm used to seeing other wild critters. A suburban friend of mine is scared to death when she sees a fox, certain that its visibility means it is rabid. It's all context.

  7. That is cool! I mean creepy (not, I totally mean cool!)

  8. It's never boring around here. I love it!

  9. Please tell me this is the only one in the state and it lives at your house? I'm hoping if I ever meet one it will be with some distance between us...and that it looks so fake I won't think of it as a REAL spider.

    Not a chance, huh?

    Great shots BTW!

  10. Well that should have put a dent in the boredom for a while. If I was Smooch I'd have had a potty mouth too!

  11. I have no idea how you can deal with those and snakes! UGH! Guess I won't be visiting you anytime soon. Sorry! I fear snakes like nothing else. And spiders? You're a brave woman!

  12. Hi Carson: I am amazed that Smooch would realize the potential danger with this wicked spider and ask to come inside the house. Animals just know don't they? In any case hats off to you. You're brave. The desert brings out the best in us.
    Glad you didn't get stung.
    Best always, Sandra

  13. OMG....that is one big spider!!! Smooch I would be scratching to come inside too.

  14. Smooch is smart -- thank goodness. She knows when she's met a force to be reckoned with. You, on the other hand -- hmmmm. Beverages are safer.

  15. Oh Carson you are a much braver woman than I. If I saw something like that on my doorstep I think I would literally &$@! my pants. Spiders are one of my biggest phobias...No way would it have left my property alive..

  16. Yikes!!!!!!!! That is a big spider! I am thinking that i like Maryland a lot! No tarantulas here!

  17. That would totally freak me out!

  18. Egad, are you KIDDING me? This makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. You're my hero. Managing a deadly spider *and* continuing to take photos of the whole ordeal. My kinda gal! :-)
    Great shots of Smooch from behind the glass door.
    Phew. Glad that's over with. Can I hear some more about beverages now?

  19. Not so sure I could ever live in NM now! :) Tarantulas and I would not get a long. Out of curiosity, are they very fast? Like when you try to shoo them away do they take off running or do they slowly crawl away? If they are slow, it wouldn't scare me as much. It's when spiders that move really quick freak me out!

  20. i think i *heart* you.

    (in a platonic kind of way)

    when faced with a spider, i remind myself of all the little buggies they eat. then i carry them out of the house.

    you take amazing pictures and i'm really enjoying your blog.

  21. We had one IN THE HOUSE last summer.... I was sitting at my work bench and I caught it out of the corner of my eye. ~visions of one in the bed...shudder~

  22. Spiders always spooked me until I started photographing their faces. I want to get a digital SLR just so I can photograph jumping spider faces. They have the funniest expressions (I chase them with my camera every time I see one). But tarantulas......EEEEEEEE!!!!! They're slow moving, right? What about kitchen tongs? Couldn't you get a good grip without hurting it and then maybe walk it a distance from your house?

    As always, good story and good photos. :-)

  23. Ha ha! That one is pretty! We get Tarantulas migrating around here all of the time. Before I was enlightened I'd kill them, but that was long ago. Now I just scoop them up and redeposit them off of the path. The ones here in Ca aren't aggressive.
    It was your lucky day!

  24. I officially withdraw my request to live in New Mexico!

    If I found one of those on my door step, there would be a For Sale sign in my front yard quicker than you can say “arachnophobia”!!!

  25. I'm so with Smooch!!!! Potty mouth to be proud of.:)

  26. I keep having to remind myself that they are our friends — they eat bugs. Not much comfort, I know.

  27. Very cool critter. I've only seen one a few times.
    Funny that your dog was scared of it. Daisy would probably not eat it, but she'd use her paw to dispense with it in short order.

  28. UGH! And I think we have big spiders, HERE! I would have been terrified that it would have crawled up the broom! You are soooooooooooo brave!
    hugs to you & Smooch,
    Cheryl in IN

  29. Good job, Linda. This is how we keep our wide open spaces so uncrowded here in New Mexico!

    I got chased by one of these "little" spiders--see The Big Big Spider and the Brave Red Shoes. My sister, Bucksnort, is still laughing about it.

  30. ok yu warned me and i had to look anyway.... i will never forget visiting my cousin in valley center calif... and walking up to one on her wall by the front door... i did not use the front door the rest of the time we were there OMG i am with smootch get that *(^&%* thing out of there lol

  31. Eeeeeeuuuuu eeuu eeuu!!! sorry, I'll write more another time...

  32. Clairz, I think I showed remarkable self-restraint with this one, too. I didn't even mention the fact that it's tarantula mating season...and that herds of these things have been known to cross the highway and cause vehicles to spin out.

  33. HERDS of them? HERDS?!?!?! Yee gads, that's enough to give me nightmares!

  34. Don't miss those buggers one first experience with one was in Marana AZ when I found one I thought was dead laying on it's back in the back yard. So I go and get the apple picker to pitch it over the back fence...scared the crap out of me when it started flailing it's legs. I screamed and dropped the fork!!! Eventually you get used to them and you just deal with them...but I still don't like them!

  35. Spiders don't bother me but I would have chased it off so one of the critters didn't kill it. But, I look at that snake pole and think "There's a reason she has that." *shudder*
    I love your blog. I read it daily and it makes my day.