Sunday, 5 March 2017

An Arachnid Education From The Real Spidermen And Scorpion Kings

               (The Bacolod Tarantula Keepers' 
                      exhibit at Victorias Plaza)

I remember playing with spiders when I was a kid. My playmates and I used empty match boxes to store the spiders. I never caught my own spiders because I got them from Melchor, a playmate who had a wider knowledge about spiders and street life.

                   (A bronze-colored scorpion)

So, when I stumbled upon an exhibit of tarantulas, scorpions, geckos and snakes right in the Victorias Public Plaza, those memories about my childhood days I spent watching spiders fight against each other on a long stick came back.

But this time, the spiders brought by the Bacolod Tarantula Keepers to the exhibit were not the kind that could fit into match boxes. They were the big tarantulas which were native to other continents.

                (Young visitors pointing to the 
                 unique creatures on display)

                 (Jake lending an albino boa to a 
               high school student for photo-op)
                 (The fascinating colors of the 
                  greenbottle blue tarantula)

At the exhibition, I spoke to July and Jake, the young advocates from the Bacolod Tarantula Keepers, from whom I learned that, in the Negros Island, we have our own native tarantulas!

Their objective, they told me, was to educate everyone, especially the young, about the need to respect these creatures in case they stumble upon them in the wild, teaching them of their harmless character when left alone. This is human nature; when we see a scary-looking creature which we know little about, we kill it.

(Let sleeping scorpions lie)

         (A papier-mache skull to add drama to 
       a tarantula's nest, very Indiana Jones-ish)

Little do we know that those creatures only fight back when they are a human!

Just like most, I thought tarantulas are dangerous because of their sting. They were safe to handle actually as I had one crawl on my left hand, watching it quietly and slowly alternating each of its eight hairy legs as it navigated along a human visitor's hand.

                 (This Brazilian tarantula must be 
                       fluent in Portuguese)

I was fascinated by the beautiful colors of one tarantula, the greenbottle blue tarantula with legs of greenish blue and an abdomen of gold, which looked as though they were especially designed and colored to attract and fascinate. 

Although I was game to handle a tarantula, I stayed away from the scorpions, which were probably just happy to sting any intruder at their transparent cage. Although there was a small medical clinic five minutes away by tricycle from the exhibit, I'd rather remain a visitor, and not a patient. Ha-ha-ha!

       (A beautiful gecko in yellow-orange color that             reminds me of a very ripe Guimaras mango)

I remember seeing the movie Arachnophobia on cable TV, starring Jeff Daniels. It's about a South American tarantula that was accidentally brought into California, multiplied into thousands and attacked a small town. Although I'm sure those scared of spiders stayed away from the movie, it did pretty well at the box office. Arachnophobia, by the way, is the phobia of spiders and scorpions.

As I was sure none of those who visited the exhibit suffered from clinical arachnophobia, I, along with most visitors, appreciated the efforts of the Bacolod Tarantula Keepers in their advocacy of educating the public about spiders, scorpions, geckos and snakes.

Although we might not be stumbling upon a tarantula with a golden abdomen soon, or a gecko with yellow-orange skin, let's keep in mind that these fascinating creatures don't harm unless threatened. 

So, thanks to the Bacolod Tarantula Keepers T. Genus, Bacolod Tarantula Keepers BTK, and North Negros Tarantula Keepers, who I think are the real spidermen and scorpion kings, for the education and exhibit on arachnids.

And let's always remember what these groups are actively advocating: 

"These creatures are to be cared for, instead of being hated".
               (A lot of interested students visited 
                      the successful exhibit)

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