Tarantula Spiders


During the ten years we lived in Brazil we never encountered spiders that were anything like the tarantulas we met in Haiti. The reason of course was that we did not live or work in the Brazilian rain forest. But we met the tarantula when we lived in Haiti and I wondered if readers might overlook our jumping from one country to another all because I wanted to tell you about tarantulas. So please forgive me changing horses in the middle of the stream of posting on my blog.

We had heard about tarantulas in Haiti but never were much concerned till one day I found Vernon and a Haitian friend crouched beside a small hole in our yard. It was just a few metres away from our home. Beside them was a small container of water and they were pouring water down this hole. We had a short lesson about tarantulas and learned they are burrowers that live in the ground. The tarantula spider is part of a large family of hairy spiders that subdivides into 900 species. I was a bit concerned that tarantulas are known to be venomous and if it came from its hole there might be some danger. But I was told in creole that there was little danger from that tarantula and they, the boys, were there to tease it out of its hole and then get it to jump. At them no less. Its bite may not be worse than the sting of a bee so I left them to their entertainment. Since I had other things on the go, I left the boys to their little game and I don’t remember how it all turned out.

Then an incident in our shower. We did not have modern plumbing so the drain for the shower went straight outside the building pouring the water on the ground. There must not have been a trap in the plumbing for one day one of our children saw the legs of a tarantula being poked up through the holes in the drain. That was a bit of a scary experience but was quickly taken care of with a kettle of boiling water. I don’t recall changing the plumbing for it was easier to heat a kettle of water to just clean any animals out of the drain.

Perhaps the scariest of incidents is when a tarantula was discovered in Monica’s bedroom. No matter how one slices up such an incident, to say the least it is not nice to find a tarantula in one’s home, especially a bedroom. No doubt it was the lady who did the cleaning that found the tarantula and the information from her is that they come in pairs. That was essential news. So the search began in and under the bed and anywhere a tarantula might hide. They found it—I wasn’t part of this excitement—but it was discovered in the clothes’ closet in a hidden corner behind some stuff. And so ends the story of that pair of tarantulas.

Some species of tarantulas can be as large as a dinner plate but any we encountered were little more than four to five inches. Some of these spiders are able to kill animals as large as lizards, mice, birds and small snakes but there is no record of any humans ever dying from a bite.

There were many other things that were more difficult and dangerous for us than a few tarantulas that no doubt were more scared of us than we of them. But for the larger picture I am a firm believer that the Eternal one often sends his angels to protect his children. I am thankful to God for that protection more than that none of us were ever bitten by a tarantula.




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