Sunday, August 6, 2006

Tarantula Hunting

My dad started talking about all the tarantulas in his yard. I remember being warned of staying away from a particular area when I was a kid - a pile with wood and other stuff. I just avoided it, so I never saw any of the tarantulas. He gets scorpions, too. So he was talking about stomping on one (ouch!) and that he poured antifreeze down the holes in that area. That seems to have killed them, but he has some in an entirely different area on his property. I get that gleam and say that I want to catch some! I've never done it, it sounds exciting... so he puts off pouring gasoline down the rest of the holes so that I can come catch some.

He exaggerated the size of the holes (he tends to exaggerate), so I suppose he probably exaggerated the size of the Ts, too. All the holes he showed me looked pretty small in comparison, not even measuring an inch across. So Saturday morning I get up and get over there half an hour before sunrise. I sat and watched and fought off mosquitos for a good long while and never saw anything. He had told me that he sees them wandering around in the early morning and late evening.

I walked the perimeter of his property, looking for any other spiders or holes and found two holes that were HUGE in comparison. They were easily two inches across... and one of them had a tent web over it! OMG, I was so excited! I decided, though, that I should really start with something smaller... being my first time and all. I had been studying the chapter in my book about catching your own tarantulas.

I put a stick / twig into the holes... they didn't really seem to be as deep as they ought to have been. Some holes had crickets in them, go figure. I finally started actively hunting for them. I had been there for almost two hours before I tackled the big holes. I finally, after so much time and suspicion of Candid Camera pranks, saw a tarantula! I even managed to get it to come all the way out of the hole... for a second. I had too much trouble trying to man the stick and the bowl and the lid... he got back into his hole too quickly. After 15 minutes, I decided I had pestered this poor baby long enough. I'm pretty certain that I can get dad to grant the spiders a temporary pardon, at least. I've recruited a t-catching buddy / side-kick, but I have to schedule my time with her. I am so excited and anxious to get out there and try again! But with my work schedule... I have to sleep in the late evening and I'm at work when the sun rises. I'm going to ask him to check his clock the next time he sees them out & about... so I can try to better time my approach.

What a long, boring, then exciting morning yesterday had!! Then I came back home and went back to sleep. heh

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