The Hairy Wonders of Nature

I’m afraid of spiders.  I don’t care how many cute little jumping spider faces you post on Facebook with funny captions, if I find one in my house, it’s going to be a bad day for the spider. I don’t kill those little jumping spiders, though; they don’t hurt me.  The ones I hate, though, are black widows, wood spiders, and of course, the enormous, rather nasty wolf spiders, which sort of stand up and do this weird little dance to intimidate me.  Wave your weird creepy legs at me all you want, but I’m the one with the vacuum cleaner.

I never kill them outside, though.  I leave the beautiful orb-weaver webs intact all over my deck, and I love that they eat mosquito and other pests.  I figure, when I’m outside, I’m in their house, and we have plenty of room to co-exist.  Plus, I don’t sleep out there, so they’re less likely to fill my nose with web.

So today I was working on building a rock wall, and was rinsing out some rocks.  As I did, a spider crawled out.  Not just any spider.  A small, tarantula-like creature, black and fuzzy with a stocky body.  It had white markings on the abdomen, but when it looked upward, it had visible eyes, and what looked like incredibly bright green eyes.  On later research, they turned out to be incredibly bright green teeth.  Why does a spider have bright green teeth?  I have no idea.  To inspire horror writers, I suppose.

This fuzzy critter came up out of the stone and stared at me, and I stared at it, wondering what it was.  I’ve never seen one like that before.  Colorado, at least, everywhere I lived, doesn’t have fuzzy spiders.* (See large fuzzy spider story below)  It seemed docile, in that it wasn’t waving its legs at me, and then it sunk back down in the hole.  Eventually I got it out of the rock with water and it scuttled off into the grass, to do whatever a spider with huge green teeth does.

I researched it later, and it turned out to be a bold jumping spider.  Apparently, it hunts by making huge leaps onto its prey, and the teeth can be a variety of colors, including electric blue.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s a picture:

Kaldari_Phidippus_audax_01

According to what I read, this spider also has claws, because…of course it does.  But I have to admit it’s rather cute, when it’s outside.

Here’s a funny spider story for you:

Parts of Colorado are home to tarantulas.  I would not live there, but some people do.  Anyway, a man I know was training in the army down there, and was horribly afraid of spiders.  They were practicing combat crawling up a slope, fully armed.  When they came up over the edge, the man saw the other side of the slope covered in tarantulas.  He leaped to his feet, grabbed his gun, and opened fire.  The commanding officer ran up to him, hollering, “What the hell are you doing?”

The man froze, saluted, and cried, “Shooting spiders, Sir!”

Admit it, you would, too.

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