Animals By Accident – The Accidental Doolittle!!

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A Few tales from the web!

The opening posts to this new series are in tribute to Britchy of Bitchin’ In The Kitchen due to her most recently entitled What a Dilemna and her absolute love and fondness for this charming species!

In the last episode of this particular part of the series, l talked of Henrietta the Huntsman, and when she passed l was 12 years of age, it was a sad parting. After her, l didn’t have anything to do with spiders what so ever, this is not saying l didn’t have any contact with them, obviously l did, but nothing quite so dramatic – just the usual ‘spiders passing in the night sort of thing.’ My next ‘real’ arachnid adventure would be many years later, many years later, in fact it was 1993, l was 30.

I was working as an NVQ trainer in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, and one of my fellow trainers was telling me that her Son had bought himself a Tarantula and had grown tired of it and would l like it? I thought, ‘Sure, why not?

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Now did l have any knowledge of Tarantulas?

No, none what so ever! That is where l thought the challenge would be! Whilst this post is dedicated to Britchy, it is also a dedication to Jeanne of Borderline Crossing who will understand only too well why, when the moment arises in this tale!

Got You -The Challenging Bobo!

On the day that l received my Tarantula, l was gifted this information “His name is Boris, he is l think about a year old, he eats crickets, and he can shoot his back leg hairs so be careful, he is aggressive, and oh yeah, you can have his vivarium.”

That was it, which was my introduction into Tarantulas. Ironically it would be another sixteen years before l would be handling a huge consignment of Tarantulas for a European breeder, when that consisted of trying to locate in the region of 600 species for export from location and import to Amsterdam in 2009. But panic not Britchy, there is only one more tale after this one and then you will understand why your post of “What a Dilemma” resonated so much with me.

I was married or just married, and my now ex-wife had a fondness for this species as she had had her own when she was living at home, so ‘SHE KNEW’ the species ….. Apparently?

I brought Boris home that day, and my ex-wife was thrilled when she got home from work, and opened up the vivarium, and gently brought out Boris. “Careful, he is supposed to be aggressive!”

“He is not in the slightest bit nasty, look at him.” Boris at this point was slowly trekking his way up her forearm, she sat down on the sofa and then proceeded to admire him and handle him, and let him walk all over her, whilst she explained the ins and outs of proper tarantula care. “He is more than a year old; l can see that by his size, l would place him at around maybe 4 or even 5, which is quite strange for a male admittedly. Did they say he was a year only?”

“Yes, they bought him from the shop and they aged him at a year there abouts.”

“Right, ‘he’ is quite big for a male; did they say he was a male?”

“Yes he was bought as a male, sold as a male, named Boris as a male, so one can deduce from that information, that he is reputed to be a male, is he NOT a male then?”

“No, Boris is NOT a male, Boris is a Bo, and so shall we now call Boris, Bobo? Certainly explains a lot, size, reputed age, maturity, yes Bobo is a girl!”

“Right, okay then, Bobo it is.”

So Bobo became one of our other household pets, a very low maintenance pet l hasten to add. Bobo didn’t need exercising like the dogs, or play time like the cats, although she was handled quite frequently by the ex-wife who really did love her tarantula, l have to say. Bobo was bought a bigger house, a converted small glass fish tank, with a ventilated but fitted roof [These spiders may be small, but they can be mighty especially when it comes to escape!!] Was awarded all the suitable environmental habitat furnishings, such as a soft mulch substrate, hidey hole because what you do is you recreate their natural living conditions and turn it into a microenvironment. The roof cannot be too holey as this will not help with keeping humidity.

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Bobo’s environment served as a home from home, well as far as a captive spider can call home from home, and she seemed to be very content, and so for the next couple of years

All happy families, until our first year together and this happened….

Walking into the Loungeroom and something caught my attention. You know how it is, out of the corner of your eye you see something, upon turning you see nothing, but you know you saw something? So l proceeded on my merry way, made a coffee came back and then with my vision now directly in front of me l saw what the problem was!

It was a weekend, and her indoors always slept in stupidly late, who knows why anyone would wish to spend 12 hours in a bed 3 of which were just pretending to be asleep? I yelled up the stairs ..”Have you gone and bought a mate for Bobo?!”

A bashful voice answered “Nooooo, whyyyyyyy?”

“Because there is another tarantula in with Bobo!!”

“ReeeeeeeeeallY?”

“Yes, l can see it with my own two eyes, it is the corner with Bobo at the other end, l think they are pairing off with each other, it looks like a Mexican standoff if honest. I thought females didn’t like the males?”

Upstairs l could hear the very deliberate ‘twumpf’, as she arose, and her feet hit the floor. Then the fump fump fump as her feet dragged her body down the wooden stairs until there she was ‘the apple of my eye’, looking somewhat bemused if anything. She fwumped her way over to where l was and looked into the tank. “Oh yes how very strange, how very bizarre, betwixting isn’t it?”

“Betwixting? Who the hell says that these days? Is that NOT another spider in there with Bobo?”

“Yes it is, but it’s not a male, it’s a baby, her baby.”

“Do you take me for an absolute nob? Even l know that they have eggs and there were no eggs and how the hell could she have eggs without a male in the first place?!” I looked up to find her laughing at me.

“So it’s a another one then is it?”

“No you berk, it’s her molt, she has molted, you know shed her skin as she has gotten older?”

It slowly dawned on me, l had a memory creep into my mind with regards Henrietta, “Oh right, of course, of course, what a nob l am!”

She took the molt out, and handled it, and said how it did indeed look like another Bobo, and that she would keep it as it was in pristine condition.

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All happy families, until our second year together and then this happened…

I came home from work one day to find her indoors looking very glum indeed, very sad and upset. “What’s has happened, are you alright, are the animals okay?”

“No, Bobo died, and l had to bury her in the garden, she is gone, she was such a lovely little animal, but now she has gone to the great web in the skies!”

“Oh l am so, so, sorry l can relate to on that level. I still have sad memories when l think of Henrietta, all those years back.”

And so the age of Bobo had passed. … All happy families, until this happened….

Where l used to live when l was in Lincolnshire, was a small village called Baston.  It had an eclectic mixture of properties, new housing, older housing and ancient housing. We lived in the latter, a very small house, big enough for two of us and just big enough for our collection of dogs and cats – just so you know, the pack you hear me talk of with my dogs was at that time numbering around 7, with an additional 5 cats , so quite animal orientated!

However we had a coal log fire , because the property could get very cold, although ironically, became too hot if the fire was large and long since the making. You would freeze your nuts off, and then you would sweat them off! Very strange set up!

I had been working with the animals all day so l was tired, and not really with it, not sleepy, but weary. I was watching something on the television loosely as l was also reading at the same time. As was atypical for the winter in our household with the fire going, every single animal of the house pack was inside the Loungeroom with us and it could be a tight squeeze! My ex had a problem with hoarding animals, l didn’t know that was the term in those days, but whilst l loved animals, and l adored my dogs and cats, we had too many it was that simple, and it presented itself to us daily in that house, and more so when the fire was lit. It just became one big jumble mound of fur!

However, the madam of the house suddenly emerged from the usual pile of dogs and cats and asked if l would like a drink, to which l answered, yes thanks a coffee would be great. As she was going into the kitchen there was this strange cry from her and was of sufficient decibel range to have all ears and heads sit upright and look to her direction!?

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As we looked we followed her gaze, and she was looking to the floor and there, yes there …. Yes THERE at her feet was Bobo!!!!

“Oh my God, l thought you said she was dead? It’s been at least two months, how can she still be alive? You buried her in the garden, was she not dead then??”

Gingerly she bent and picked up the spider, and cradled it in her hands, and looked lovingly at it, with a strange smile on her face, making me think she had lost the plot! She walked over to me and suddenly threw the spider at me!!

“What the bloody hell are you doing woman?” I shouted in alarm, knowing that this kind of action could seriously injure if not kill the spider itself. However l panicked at seeing the spider hurtling at me from the space and went to capture it, but in my clumsy actions, my right hand flicked Bobo and she flew off into a different direction and landed in the fire! “No, no, oh no oh no!!!” I shouted now absolutely stricken with mortification and hurtled myself at the fire, and literally moments on the impact of contact with the fire, Bobo came flying out again, and by this time she was alight!

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Horror, terror and bundles of furry panic swept through every single living creature in that small confined space in a matter of seconds, cats shot off in all different directions, screeching and meowing wildly, dogs yelped and also ran off into different directions and the now a flamed Bobo scuttled across the living room floor, or so l thought, it looked like a scuttle.

In my absolute alarm, l rushed over to the stricken spider and started to pat the flames out, and tried to somehow resuscitate the befallen tarantula! But to no avail, this creature, this poor creature was dead and scorched. Behind me, all l could hear was the ex-wife’s raucous laughter. I looked around to find her on the floor, yes folks on the floor laughing so hard there were tears in her eyes.

The scattering of the animals had ceased and we all watched in stunned silence as this grown woman was literally rolling around the floor laughing so hard she started to fart!

“What the fuck is so bloody funny about this scenario?!” I yelled at her.

“Got you! Got you back woot!”

“Got me, got me back, got me back what?” I asked, now bordering on furiousness.

“Do you remember how you pranked me the other month on one of those silly tricks of yours and you scared me shitless??”

The slow dawning on what had happened was creeping into my head, she had pranked me ….. “So, this Bobo isn’t actually Bobo at all is it?”

“No of course not, Bobo sadly is dead, and now her molt is pretty dead too. Oh you should have seen you all, scurrying around left right and centre and then seeing you trying to bring the spider back to life, l think my heart may have stopped if you started to give it mouth to mouth as you appeared!”

Some pranks are really funny, some pranks are heart stoppingly hilarious and some pranks, well some pranks go too far eh Jeanne? This was one of those. I can laugh about it now, in fact l laughed about it later that night …….. sort of.

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A real mawahahaha!

Thanks for reading, catch you soon with the last in this part of the series “What a Dilemma – The Sequel!”

Keeping Tarantulas

Images courtesy of Pixabay Images and Imgflip

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