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Tarantula escape story...kinda long

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Posted by Nathan on March 21, 2001 at 09:36:54:

When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I found what I thought to be an extremely large wolf spider. After minimal research, it turned out to be a striped knee tarantula someone had probably let go. I begged and pleaded with my mother to let me keep it. She finally relented and the arachnid was placed in a one of those 3-gallon, plastic, hexagonal fish aquariums (those kits they sell in department stores). The lid for this thing was a hexagonal piece of plastic that had slits cut in it for ventilation. There was also a finger-sized hole for lifting the lid up from the frame. The hole appeared much too small for the tarantula to squeeze out of (mistake #1= bad assumption pt.1). I also thought the tarantula couldn't climb up the side of the tank as it would always slip down when it tried (mistake#2= bad assumption pt.2) So I opted not to cover the hole (mistake#3 leaving a possible escape route). Several months went by and the tarantula lived fine, crawling in his plastic barrel, eating crickets, molting...etc. One summer morning I awoke to find the tarantula missing. I began a house wide search with no success. My mother came home that afternoon and found me shuffling through my room. She assumed I was cleaning it. Her image of a domestically conscious son was shattered however, when I informed her of the mishap. Needless to say she was furious. For the next couple weeks, I believe she took a flashlight and a boot with her when she visited the bathroom at night. Our cat had also stopped grooming himself and no longer slept on my sister’s top bunk were he normally slumbered. My father had little to say on the matter and I suspect that he found the whole situation mildly amusing. One evening, about 2 and a half weeks after the “escape”, my sister was playing in her room. She had a large collection of “Cabbage Patch Kids” and was organizing them on her bed. She reached for what appeared to be an out of place hair (Cabbage Patch Kids had yarn for hair back then). As she grabbed the hair, it pulled itself away from her and into the heap of dolls. I was in my room overseeing a battle between Transformers and Thundercats when I heard my sister scream, “NATHAN, I FOUND LOUIE!”. I rushed in to find the missing tarantula underneath a pile of dolls. His abdomen was a little shriveled, but he seemed all right. I scooped him up and placed him in an escape proof container where he lived for many years.

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