Saturday, November 3, 2007

Florida Wildlife

Welcome to Florida!

This little fellow with eight shiny eyes and green iridescent pincers was discovered by Beth. I was working out in the yard when the announcement came about a spider sighting. When I didn't respond quick enough, a second alarm was raised. I came in to see Beth just pointing up at the wall. I got out the dustbuster, sucked it up and took it out to the yard as part of my catch and release program.
I dumped her out onto the sand and squatted down to get a good look at her. She hoisted herself up on her large front hairy legs and studied me with at least four of her eyes while I studied her. Then she ran. She ran straight to my boot and started climbing. I flicked her off with a stick, she regained her composure, looked around at her surroundings, and ran to my boot again.
Now I figured that she was afraid of being outdoors, which wasn't likely, or she really appreciated that I didn't squish her and merely vacuumed and released her and wanted to climb up on me to express her eternal devotion and servitude to me, which wasn't likely, or she was attempting to kill me.
Just to confirm my suspicions, I set up some obstacles just to prove that I wasn't merely in the way of where she was going. She was smarter than your typical lab mouse. She could zip around anything in her path and return to my/her boot with NO learning curve involved.
I wanted to just leave her and return to the house but something told me that I should try to identify her because... oh, for example, the emergency room doctor wanted to know which anti-venom to use. I also didn't really want to turn my back on her. So I did something that I don't like to do. I "dispatched" the beast. She didn't like it. I then carried her back to the porch so that I could take a picture, which you can see above. Go ahead, look, she won't bite... WATCHIT! She moved! did you see that? oh, I guess not. Sorry to scare you.

I went to some websites that list all of the poisonous spiders and snakes in Florida. There are not as many types as you would think, about four types of spiders and six types of snakes, but they are all very common. Actual death from a spider bite in Florida is rare, but "very painful, large cone-shaped depressions of dead skin tissue" is more common. Yeah, that's not so bad, that must be why they have so many handicapped parking spaces down here, so you can drag around your necrosis addled leg.

She wasn't on the list of black and brown widows and the recluse spiders. So I looked in the "non-poisonous things that just bite just because they think it's fun" section and there she was. I think she is/was a BOLD JUMPING SPIDER . She did seem a tad bold. The pictures I saw of her kind were of plain, boring, run-of-the-mill, hairy, tarantula-looking spiders. NONE of them were as flamboyant as she is/was with her iridescent green pincers that just shout "I am veeerrrry dangerous". In fact, there was no picture (on this site) of a spider with shiny colorful pincers. Maybe she still had her Halloween costume on from the night before. Or maybe she is/was a mutant spider imported from an exotic place like Warwick Rhode Island that is planning to destroy Florida's economy by killing the tourists.

I was glad that I followed Doug's advice and was wearing boots and not my Tevas that I have worn ALL summer long.

Florida: Wear boots while in the yard, always.

Here is a nice easy to read description: Bold Jumping Spider


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