Thursday, March 19, 2009

Friday morning critter

This article reminds me of my previous job as the manager of an animal research facility.
One of the most deadly spiders in the world has been found in the produce section of a Tulsa grocery store. An employee of Whole Foods Market found the Brazilian Wandering Spider Sunday in bananas from Honduras and managed to catch it in a container.

The spider was given to University of Tulsa Animal Facilities director Terry Childs who said this type of spider kills more people than any other.

No one ever brought me exotic spiders, although they did bring me BIG spiders. As well as caterpillars, and insects of curious nature. Not to mention a few amphibians. And once Physical Plant and Campus Safety brought me a plastic bin that they had found in a dormitory hallway, filled with shavings, food bowls, and what was alleged to be a dead rat. The "dead rat" turned out to be plastic. Hilarious.

But the critters weren't so hilarious, sometimes. There's nothing like switching on the light in your office in the morning to see a jar with....something...crawling in it. Then there was the day that well-meaning police rescued five (saltwater) blue crabs from the women's shower and put them in the aquarium room....in fresh water. One did survive.

It seemed like these critters always appeared on a Friday, it had to be identified FAST so that it was properly housed (or properly released) before the weekend.

As the only person on campus with a job that had anything at all to do with animals of any sort, anytime someone had a question like "What IS this thing?" or "How do we keep this alive?" they stopped by my office. And Physical Plant and Campus Safety had keys if they found my office unoccupied. Surprise!

Funny to think back to that! I wonder if Terry's spider was hand-delivered, or if his department administrative assistant found it in a jar on her desk with a handwritten note on it: "Do you know what this is?"

1 comment:

Zuleme said...

That makes me think of the time I saw a huge bug in the Wal Mart parking lot and could never figure out what it was. I should have taken a photo. It was oval and dull grey and kind of flat, not shiny and I think the back was split. bothered me for ages afterward. It was two or three inches long. It looked like a flat, grey beetle.
It was probably something deadly dangerous that hitched a ride up on something imported from China and is now infesting the White Mountains.