In Which My Tarantulas And I Accidentally Become Famous

Here’s the deal: ever since I gained my passion for our arachnid friends, I have been wanting to dispel some of the ridiculous myths and horror stories surrounding them and their “deadly” venom. Here in Britain the myths most commonly perpetuate around false widows – which turn up in my house all the time and are little angels. No honestly, they really are. They like my sewing stash and so I often find one of the cute little guys nestled somewhere in it.

After a particularly ridiculous article about false widows (Steotoda, to us spidey types) in my local paper, I contacted them expressing my ire and invited them to meet myself and my 58 tarantulas. And they agreed to do it! Fair warning before you hit the link: there are tarantulas in this article. Even worse, perhaps, there are pictures of me too – so be prepared to shield your eyes.

The physical paper ran the story today, but it appeared online on Tuesday evening. It was viral within twelve hours, with Facebook and Twitter both going nuts (also my friends shared, then their friends shared, then their friends’ friends shared… I’m sick of the sight of my own face now lol). I have been approached, stalked and friend-requested by so many hacks in the last 48 hours that it’s unreal. No, you are not going to be putting me in the tabloids, thanks very much; I simply won’t allow my name to be linked to an inferior brand of… let’s refer to it as toilet paper.

Today though, I received a ligitimate query on Twitter, from a news reporter for ITV Anglia. The idea of being on TV scares me to death, but I feel strongly enough about the arachnid myths and lies that I think I should do it. I’ve helped so many people already; I may as well try to help even further.


9 thoughts on “In Which My Tarantulas And I Accidentally Become Famous

  1. I reckon you’d ace the TV report! Several people I know or have known are arachnophobic; a good TV report on your beating your phobia and establishing your collection of spiders can only help people who are suffering the same fear.

    I’m not sure whether there are any false widows in our area, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they are. I’ll gwgl up some pictures, and keep an eye open.

    BTW, A and Q loved your confiturra!

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    1. I even ended up on BBC Radio Scotland! That was an informative ten minutes, as they had a hypnotherapist on the phone too, as well as an arachnophobe he’d helped the previous day.

      I need to make some more confiturra; everybody seems to want it lol!


      1. Great about the radio interview too! I’m sure hearing your story will have helped other arachnophobic people who will have heard it.

        Please let me know when you make some more confiturra. I’ve only got one jar left, and I’ve set that aside for ‘special reserve’.

        If you’d be willing to take it on, I’d be delighted to commission some – quite a bit actually – and I can let you have some more jars if you like.


  2. I don’t understand what it is with people and spiders! I’ve got huntsmen (big hairy spiders) living in my house and we co-exist very happily. If they insist on sitting above my face as I sleep, I move them. That’s it. Poisonous spiders are a different matter – I’m afraid if it’s them or me, it’s me.

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  3. I think Australians have the edge, living with dangerous animals every day lol. I saw a video of an Australian man hosing a spider out from under his car’s door handle and wondered what the fuss was about – and then it finally fell out and I recognised it (a bloody Sicarius, of all things) and understood the panic. Those things are extremely cute, but have a necrotic venom that man currently has no antidote for. People in the spider hobby keep them as pets (I don’t) and even their keepers think they ought to be slapped with the DWA license, because they can easily kill.

    All spiders are venomous, but none of them are out to kill you – they’ll mostly run away. Can you tell me more about your native spiders? A lot of hobbyists keep huntsmen, but I find them a little fast. I’d like one though: there’s one called a Heteropoda Davidbowie which is really beautiful 🙂


  4. Most curious, Gemma! I am fascinated by spiders, have even on occasion picked a couple up, but no longer remember which are the gnarly ones that can “leave a mark” if they bite (e.g., brown recluses, black widows). Sure, they “get my attention” when popping up “out of nowhere,” but I try to keep my wits about me when that happens…and I prefer not to kill them…opting for gentle relocation.

    One thing, though, I have (on many occasions!) seen spiders run TOWARD me. You’d mentioned they tend to run away, but I had intentionally put my foot or hand down before them to see if they would run away, and had seen several actually come toward me,and I thought, huh, how fricking gnarly that these little creatures are so badass and sure of themselves (or curious!) that they actually run toward something they don’t know much about (or do they?!)! Maybe it’s because of my cool “energy,” I’d joked about to myself, since I’m such a fun guy? :-]

    Anyway, very interesting and enlightening article, Gemma, and how cool that you got to be interviewed to help spread the positive word about spiders! All life is precious, and just because something looks way-different than your own reflection should not beg abhorrent belligerence! I’m going to link this post to my “Spiders” post (! :-]

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    1. They do that because they can detect vibrations; once they realise it’s something much larger than them or that it’s not food they run the other way. Most spiders are virtually blind, but some (jumping spiders in particular) have very keen eyesight. I only have to breathe in the wrong direction and the closest tarantulas go scuttling for their burrows lol. Thank you for the link-back! 🙂

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