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Thanks Dad! The trip back to the city last week was entertaining enough when Little Guy found a spider in the car. I was driving on the highway with 4 lanes of traffic whizzing around us, so not exactly in a position to pull over or help out. I did pass him my shoe (my left shoe) and offered helpful advice, like “whack it! Smear it if you have to. Just don’t let it get away!” After a few minutes, he assured me that he got it and passed my shoe back. A few minutes later, he yelled again – apparently he didn’t get it. Then it got away and hid in the crack between the window and door…twice. He stared at its hiding place intently for the last 20 minutes of the drive, and has assured me that he got it…the third time. I’m not convinced.

As if I don’t have enough to worry about, my Dad sent me an article about a possible new species of giant tarantulas. These giant spiders, living in abandoned buildings in Sri Lanka, can often be as big as eight inches in diameter. And yes, they are venomous. While most tarantula bites are not fatal and will only create a mild reaction like itchiness and swelling, I’m guessing this one packs quite a punch! Another concern when handling tarantulas (as if I’d be in the same room as one not confined in a thick glass cage) is irritation and itching from special barbed hairs on the abdomen found on some species, so be sure to use care.

There are already over 800 species of tarantulas, and can be divided into two categories: “old world” (from the eastern hemisphere) and “new world” (from the western hemisphere). The most popular pet tarantula is the Chilean rose – it’s a hardy, easy to care for spider, native to Chile. Trivial Pursuit anyone?

While the spider in my car (if it has found a way to survive in this heat), is not exactly a tarantula, and I have no plans to travel to Sri Lanka (or anywhere for that matter), I still consider it my duty to warn arachnophobics everywhere of the confirmed existence of giant spiders. They are haunting my dreams. I’m just thankful they can’t compete in size with those seen in the movie, Eight Legged Freaks (which I have yet to see)…!

Happy Weekend!

For the full article, including the gross photo, check out: http://www.travelandescape.ca/2013/04/giant-tarantula-found-in-sri-lanka/

Another related article (and resource with more pictures):http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/tarantulas/a/tarantulasaspet_4.htm