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When did this happen?

Less than six months ago I didn't own a single tarantula ... now I own eleven. Ann Van, a coworker of mine, said that I was like a cat lady - only creepier (though she now owns a chilean rose hair named "Willie G").

My first introduction into tarantula ownership came as a bit of a rush. I had gone home to visit Bill and my other friends in Raleigh and while there asked if I could have some of the curly hairs we had been raising before I left. I took three just in case I happened to get a male. Then Andy offered me some salmon pink babies that he had just gotten - I took six of those but gave three to the IRF to raise for the Insectarium. So almost directly after my 29th birthday I was the proud owner of six tarantulas.

Then in July I went to the SASI convention in Arizona and collected lots of creepy crawlies (which is why I also own a scorpion and centipede as a pet also). While there I found a dead tarantula at a rest area and figured I would take it home to pin it out as a souvenir. A curator at the convention found out I had it and asked if he could take it for research - I figured that research trumps personal collection so I told him he could have it. In a show of gratitude he gave me two baby Sun Tigers ... that took me to eight.

At the end of the SASI convention there was an auction that included a gift certificate to krazy8sinvertebrates.com. I went ahead and bid about half the gift certificates worth during the last few minutes of the auction and - surprise! - won. I decided to order a small collection from his website and also invited several coworkers to tack on their own orders to save on shipping. I ended up getting a Chilean rose hair, Brazilian black, and Chaco gold knee. Thus I am eleven!

What is even more special is that after all of this I still want a couple more. In particular I really want an Usambara baboon. They are supposedly very hard to kill, pretty, and mean as hell. The nickname in the trade for them is OBT (orange bitey thing). I realize that I would never try to hold or interact with it but I have been told that they have strong personalities and interesting behaviors.

Upon receiving the most recent additions to my menagerie I have gone on a mission to name all of my pets because it seems wrong to have so many and no way to refer to them as individuals.
Over the past few days I have come up with these but they aren't set in stone yet (I have also added links to pictures that show what they should look like when they are adults):

The three Honduran curly hairs:
    These little ones already have distinct personalities. Two are aggressive eaters - one of which is getting large very fast (likely a male). While the last generally doesn't eat right away and won't take on big meals. These are the names I chose for them:
  • Harley - for the big one who is likely a male. It means "rocky meadow" but I originally picked it out a long while ago for no particular reason. I would change it but I have been referring to this individual by that name for months now and it seems wrong to change it up.
  • Aerona - the name of a Celtic goddess of war and death who was portrayed as a masculine figure in Welsh mythology. It means "carnage" or "slaughter." This is for the other, smaller individual who is such an aggressive eater.
  • Pandora - every one knows the history behind this name. It just seems to fit the smaller more timid little girl.
The three Salmon pink tarantulas:
    These girls are great eaters and just as cute as little buttons. They grow to be contenders for the biggest tarantulas (their species is the second or third largest with leg spans over 8 inches). Right now though they are living off of crickets that I am killing for them and are small enough to fit on a quarter. For their names I am considering the Furies (or Erinýes) from mythology. They are referred to in the Iliad as "those who beneath the earth punish whosoever has sworn a false oath." There are three that are given names in the Iliad and so I chose them for my little triplets:
  • Megaira - meaning "grudge"
  • Alecto - meaning "unceasing"
  • Tisiphone - meaning "murder-retribution"
The two Venezuelan suntigers:
    These two are the cutest little things right now. I don't see myself handling them much when they get bigger - they are famous for being unpredictable in temperament and I don't really want to hurt them nor get hurt myself.
  • Khan - Becky (the person who got me really interested in tarantulas in the first place) wanted a tiger before she had to leave and move to Colorado. She said that if she had one she would name it Shere Khan and thus I named one in her honor. I am just calling it Khan though because it fits better with its sibling's name that way.
  • Kissa - it means "sister of twins" and I thought it was perfect. Of the two I am naming the more timid one this.
The Chilean rose hair:
    It was our Chilean rose hair named Harriet that won me over for the eight legged kind. When I worked at my previous museum I never really handled any of them (mostly because ours were wild caught, flighty, bitey, and aggressive) but I took a leap of faith when working presentations here. Harriet will take away any reservations that you might have because she is perhaps one of the most relaxed and laziest arachnids I have ever encountered. She has a habit of falling asleep when I am holding her which either results in her drooling on me (yep - they drool) or, if she chose to sit on my arm, she will start to slowly slide off in a comical manner until waking and walking back to a level spot to perch. How could I be intimidated? So now I have my very own to raise from a babe. All that being said you can likely understand that I wasn't going to pick out a name that meant "carnage" or "killer" for her. I decided to call her Arrosa which is a Basque name meaning "rose." Hopefully she will be as sweet as Harriet once she is full grown.
The Brazilian black:
    We supposedly own one of these glorious animals at the IRF but I have never seen it. They are said to be a "perfect pet" tarantula because they are docile, active, and beautiful. When I opened the container that mine had been shipped in they shot out and ran across my hand, falling into the container I had prepared. Thus she was named Spaz ...
The Chaco golden knee:
    This beautiful little girl was the oldest of the three that I just bought. She is supposed to get rather large but stay very docile. I fell in love the moment I saw her! We named her Tidbit. I say "we" because it was a unanimous decision of the staff involved. Apparently while I was off on Thursday or Friday my package containing the spiders came in. The guards at base called for me over the radio but grossly mispronounced my last name - asking for "Lauren Tidbit". Ann Van made an executive decision and declared that "Tidbit" was officially my new nickname. We both decided that it made a great name for a tarantula if, for no other reason, to commemorate the event.

So yes - I am a tarantula collector now. I already am making plans on buying more after Christmas (I know enough to step back and take a moment before getting in over my head). However, I promise not to turn into one of those people that converts their garage into a pet room with racks of snakes, spiders, and scorpions ... I think I will stick to a walk in closet or, at most, a guest room. *grin*

There is everything in a name. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but would not cost half as much during the winter months.

~ George Ade ~


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 6th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
Congrats...I guess. I myself was cured of any desire to cohabitate with arachnids right about my first time on the dock when a banana truck came in, complete with banana spider.

But I do understand the naming impulse.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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