I found another tarantula in my kitchen this morning.
That ranks high on the list of ideas I never thought I’d ever have occasion to put into words. In fact, until recently it would have been a close contender for number one on that list, along with My unicorn is pregnant and No thanks; I’m tired of chocolate. Let’s just have a nice green salad for dessert.
This might be a good place to mention the slugs. Slugs have been slithering out from wherever they were and sliming their way onto my kitchen counter. I have developed an excellent system for relocating them because I cannot bring myself to even think of cleaning up whatever might be left after throwing salt on them.
Then of course, there are the teeny-tiny black hopping insects that jump on to me if I go and stand next to the front garden for more than a moment. Flealike, they are about half the size of period (full stop) in Times New Roman 11. (And I think that with that we can agree that I have established my geek cred.) They are the reason the grocery store called me today to verify that I had really asked for that many cans of bug spray in my online order.
As I’ve written before, I am sure that creepy crawlies have their place in the order of created things – but that place is not in my house.
Anyway, back to Chaetopelma olivaceum, the Israeli Black Tarantula, sometimes called C. gracile. The one I found this morning was relatively small, about a third the size of a grown one. That is terrifying. Terrifying! Why? Because it’s a baby. There is a mama around (unless I killed her earlier this month) and probably siblings. I don’t know how many eggs a mommy tarantula deposits into her egg sac and a Google search creeped me out before I found a definitive answer, but it looks like the minimum is fifty.
Fifty baby tarantulas.
So, yeah. Slugs aren’t looking so bad right at the moment.
In my saner moments, I am sure that I don’t have fifty tarantulas in the house or garden because even with chemo brain, I’m pretty sure I’d have noticed. But still.
Now, one thing that people who know me will tell you is that I’m kind of nuts about a clean house. Being unable to keep things up to my standards is an ongoing annoyance with my poor health. So last year’s cockroach invasion was as insulting as it was annoying. But all you have to do with cockroaches – even though the ones we have here are about the size of your thumb – is spray.
Slugs require a bit more attention, in terms of relocating them. (Or cleaning up salty, goopy ex-slugs.) So I had planned to ask the Young Man who helps me around the house to pull out the washing machine from under the kitchen counter because I suspect the slugs are entering from behind it. Then we could plug the holes and pour kilos of salt behind the machine before putting it back.
Finding a juvenile tarantula in my kitchen calls for a change in plan, however. Slugs are gross, but Israeli black tarantulas are poisonous. And the idea of a nursery of them in some corner of my kitchen does not bear thinking about. So when the Young Man comes tomorrow we are going to empty out the kitchen cupboards v-e-r-y slowly and carefully and assess the situation. Then we’ll wash everything down with soap, water and bleach and spray poisonous chemicals in all the nooks and crannies.
Or call in the military. One or the other.
But right now I’m going to go take a long, hot shower because this is the itchiest post I have ever written.