Thursday, July 28, 2011

Close Encounters of the Spider Kind

Disclaimer: if the thought of spiders makes your skin crawl, you may want to steer clear of this post. You’ll probably have a nightmare.

It’s about 9pm on Wednesday. Most of the interns are downstairs in the office, working late (as usual). We hear screams (of fright? of laughter?) from upstairs in the girls room. Uncertain whether they’re the playful kind or the scared kind, we go up to investigate.

“I was going to grab something from my bag, when suddenly that thing scurried past me,” Isabel said in a nervous voice. “I think I touched it.” There was just a hint of hysteria in her voice. I don’t blame her.

Perched on her bag – quite calmly, I might add – was the freakiest spider I’ve ever seen in my life. (Not counting the ones on nature shows; this one probably would give those a run for its money, though.)

This picture doesn’t quite capture the magic of seeing it up close and in person. So…

BAM! <--- (Don’t click this link if you have spider nightmares.)

Crazy, right? I could imagine this spider serving as inspiration for Shelob. I doubt Tolkein ventured into the Nigerian bush, though. It's the claws that wig me out. I've never seen a spider with claws before. Don't they have enough going for them, what with the webs and the stinger? Now they need CLAWS?

We call it the spidercrab.

The arachnid was dispatched easily enough by a whack from a broom, wielded by the brave Deji. He’s one of the resident architects and a native Nigeria, so he’s quite accustomed to such sights. Us interns crowded around him like frightened schoolgirls – and unabashedly sounding like them, too.

We then took the next 30 minutes looking at it up close, nudging it with the broom, etc. Funny how fascinated we are with that which scares us.

For perspective, here’s the spider posed with someone’s hand. (It was dead at this point; I don’t think anyone would brave that kind of proximity with a live one.)

Life just never gets mundane here.


ua said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ua said... sometimes called a Whip Scorpion.

Isabel Carreras-Baquer said...

Andrew! The fact is that the spider was NOT dead!!! WE left it under a heavy cloth on the veranda in front of the room and the next morning I saw the spidercrab slwoly crowling out the cloth...AAAAAH! So freaky! So the spider was just ACTING and PRETENDING to be DEAD! Can you believe it??? Those are survival strategies of mother nature!