Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Summer of Tarantula Adventure

     This summer has been an extremely busy one. There were quite a few events that I've attended with my Desert Blond tarantula, Minka. Minka has been my partner in crime this summer. We've covered most of the state together doing many fun things and meeting many awesome people of all ages. I really want to use this post to talk about the travels that Minka and I have had this summer.

     We started off the summer with a fun Summer Nature Camp at the Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, MS. It was a four-day camp that was full of all sorts of nature-related activities. A few of the campers had attended the Spider Day that I had done earlier in the year, and remembered Minka by name. That really touched me. Not only that they no longer feared spiders, but remembered her by name. I had several campers wanting to hold her, and I let them. It was great!
     Some of the students, who told me right up front that they didn't like spiders ended up being fascinated by Minka. I fed her a cricket the first time I brought her out, and they were amazed to watch her try to catch it. It ended up hopping out of her tank and onto the floor, so I didn't let her eat it. I put Minka on my hands, and they were amazed that a spider that large would be so docile.

     During camp one day some of the campers wanted to hold Minka again. I was passing her from my hands to the hands of one camper at a time and back. Right after the last girl held her, and I got her back onto my hands, Minka did something I've never seen her do before. She walked in a circle in my right hand, and proceeded to make the biggest poo I've ever seen a tarantula make in my entire tarantula keeping experience. I sat there dumbfounded while the campers cheered and laughed. She was better behaved for the rest of the camp.

     It was a few weeks before our next adventure. I was eating some supper one night when I got an email saying that I had been selected to be featured as the featured student on my college's homepage. The photographer asked if I could bring a tarantula for the photoshoot. I looked over at Minka as I replied with an enthusiastic "yes."

     So, a few days later we embarked on the hour-long drive to get to where the photoshoot was. I rode in the passenger seat to hold Minka. I was really excited, and wondering what the photoshoot would be like. We decided that we'd stop for some food on the way. We went for the drive through at our favorite fast food place. Well, when they gave us our food, one of the ladies at the window screamed "tarantula!!" and the entier store erupted into panic. I felt a little bad about it.

     We got to the photoshoot without any further incident. I sat before the camera holding Minka and smiling. I was so happy that she was there. It was much less stressful with my eight-legged stress reliever. A comment was made during the sitting that Minka and I are the ideal team. I kind of agree with that. She's quite the spider.

     Our next journey was to Bug Camp. I've been going to the Bug Camp for five years now, but this was my first one where I was officially a staff member. Minka got to sit on the table during check-in for the campers. She was a great introduction to what was going to go on during the camp, which is a 5 day adventure into the world of insects and plants.

     Minka was handled and introduced that first day, and throughout the week I used her to teach about spiders during the much sought-after downtime throughtout the camp. The kids loved her. Minka sat really sweetly while I held her and let the campers hold her. She spent a lot of time drinking water and rearranging her dirt.

     To conclude, Minka and I shared many adventures this summer. It was a great bonding experience for me and this spider who means so much to me.