We left the house for church right on time yesterday morning, but I nearly hit a tarantula.
He was right in the center of the narrow country road, and as I passed him I heard myself yell, “Whoa! That was a tarantula! Did I hit him?!” Lydia looked out the back window and assured me that he was still crossing the road (why did the tarantula cross the road?), so I hit the brakes. We need a male tarantula, you know. Kaitlyn’s pet Shelob is lonely.
There were 2 cars coming behind us, so I had to keep going until I found a driveway to turn around. As I headed back, we rummaged around the van for a plan: styrofoam cup, no lid. Hmmm. No coffee can for carsick kids…empty Burger King bag? We had a plan.
We reached the tarantula again, half-expecting to find him squished by the cars that had followed us but he was still standing in the middle of the road, deep in thought. Maybe he forgot why he wanted to cross and was reconsidering his plan.
I set the styro cup over him and gently slid a notepad under. He obligingly stepped up onto it. I felt myself cringe. He moved! Ugh! He moved! A car slowed and swerved to avoid me and the girls noted the grinning driver and his laughing passenger. I wondered briefly if they guessed what I had gathered in the cup as I held it at arms’ length on my way back to the van.
I felt the cup vibrate gently in my hand. He moved again! eeeek! I calmly climbed into the van.
The empty Burger King bag was behind my seat so I twisted around awkwardly to deposit my new pet, a little unsure how to do it. No kids were volunteering to help. I lowered the cup and notepad into the bag. First, I just slid the notepad out from under the cup, expecting him to drop the short distance to the bottom of the bag. I didn’t feel any movement, so I was suddenly struck by the possibility that he was standing on the notepad in my other hand, which I couldn’t see from my angle. Maybe he was even crawling up toward my hand. I held the cup aside and let the notepad drop into the bag. I peeked in and didn’t see him standing on the notepad. Uh oh. Maybe he had dropped in at first, and I just squished him with the notepad. Nope. Where was he?
IN THE CUP. The one that I was carelessly holding upside down off to the side. I tipped it up and looked inside. Yup. Tarantula. Eeek!
Once I actually knew where he was, it was easy to get him into the bag. We fastened the top with a hair pony and were back on the road. The whole event didn’t take more than 5 minutes.
We were 4 minutes late to church.
Oh, did you want to know the answer to the question? “Why did the tarantula cross the road?”
Female tarantulas live a very long sedentary life, hidden in burrows. Male tarantulas spend their very short adult life tirelessly searching for females. This guy was out hunting for a woman. He met Shelob last night, and they will probably get together again several times over the coming weeks. Maybe we’ll have 50-200 cute little baby tarantulas in a few months. Who wants one?