It’s that late night – early morning time, 3:45 to be exact. I wake up, as middle-aged ladies often do, to handle urgent business. I reach over my head to turn on the light, and my gaze follows the beam to see this.
This, my friends, is the Israeli Black Tarantula, Chaetopelma olivaceum previously known as C. gracile. I don’t know why the name was changed. I don’t care, either.
Now, before we go any further, here are a couple of facts about C. olivaceum. First, and perhaps most salient to our purposes, most tarantulas around the world are not toxic to humans. Not so our furry little friend here. The Israeli Black Tarantula is indeed toxic to humans. The other interesting fact is that they have been known to jump. They are, as a friend dubbed them, ninja tarantulas.
Okay then. Now that those little bits of information have sunk in, take another look at the photo. The lamp is fixed to the headboard of my bed. The headboard is where my pillows are. The pillows I put my head on. I had been sleeping with a poisonous, jumping, ninja tarantula an arm’s length from my face.
Yay Middle East!
Right. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at my little visitor, shall we? The salient fact of this part of our discussion is that I am nothing if not a child of my times. What is the first thing I did after leaping out of bed? I reached for my iPhone because, as we all know, pics or it didn’t happen. Yes, I even messed around with flash and ambient lighting to get the best possible shot. Let us draw the cloak of charity over all that, shall we?
I am a Franciscan in my spirituality and in principle I praise the Creator for all of creation because “He saw that it was good”. I have to assume that in the larger scheme of things poisonous, jumping, ninja tarantulas have their place. Their place, however, is not inside my house. There being no man around to do the cardboard-and-shoebox thing, I went nuclear.
That is, I got out the Raid. Auntie Wiki lists the creatures that Raid will “kill dead” and ninja tarantulas are not among them. So I got out the cockroach-strength (lasts for up to six months!) can from under the kitchen sink, opened every door and window in the house, and took careful aim from about a meter away. I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed.
I had expected that good ol’ C. olivaceum would scuttle out of the line of fire, but instead she slowly stalked down the wall. I followed her with the spray. I felt like a commando. Half a can later, victory was mine. You were a worthy opponent, Taran. I honor you.
Of course then I had to go stand outside for a long time because the air was no longer breathable in my house, but small price to pay.