Am I creepy? Kooky? Altogether ooky?

There may be something wrong with me. I just spent a happy hour and twenty minutes watching a video about brown recluse spiders, and my only regret was that we don’t have any Loxosceles living anywhere near me. We don’t have any medically significant venomous spiders in this region — it’s one of my only regrets about living in west central Minnesota.

See? Fascinating. Good bit on horizontal gene transfer of the sphingomyelin toxin, lots of practical advice on brown recluse bites, and the spiders are all gentle and generally kind. It tickles my brain in all the right spots. Is that weird?

And then, the best essay I’ve read this week is all about bats and white-nose syndrome. You too can grieve for all the beautiful animals, and you should find them beautiful, that are succumbing to this terrible epidemic.

If you know where and when to look, you can find bats all over the midwest. We’ve got a bunch nesting over our garage, and we put up a bat house near our deck — we’d be thrilled to have even more.

Bats and spiders, and more generally any invertebrate that has a freaky number of legs or eyes — I’m beginning to wonder if maybe I’ve got some kind of exotic disease…a Halloween infection, or Addams syndrome, or something similarly diagnosable.

Of course, one of they symptoms of this syndrome is that I don’t want to be cured. Give me more.

(By the way, I’m teaching a course in science essay writing in the Fall, and am collecting samples. That bat article is going right into the folder. I might be planning to infect impressionable young students with my disease.)


  1. Silentbob says

    Spiders. Bats. You just need to start breeding rats and you’ve got the Dracula trifecta.

    Maybe seek out a wolf or two.

  2. Paul K says

    That bat essay is beautiful, poetic, and sad.

    I’ve loved bats as far back as I can remember. I once had one land on my t-shirted chest and spread its wings like the Batman logo. It looked right up into my eyes as I bent my head down, with its tiny, bright white and very shiny teeth vibrating as it spoke its high-pitched language at me. The friends with me in the cave were horrified and screamed. Silly. I took it gently by its wingtips and released it behind me, where I was blocking the exit it wanted out of for the night. I was about twelve, and that’s a cherished memory.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    It seems our esteemed host identifies more with Peter Parker than with Bruce Wayne.

    Perhaps we should give him billions of dollars and see whether that changes.

  4. billseymour says

    About a decade or three ago (I can’t really remember when), there was a brown bat that decided to spend the daylight hours sleeping above the entrance to where I worked.  Somebody decided that the bat was vermin (or something) instead of a little fluffy mammal and threw it in the dumpster.  I checked and saw it still moving, so I rescued it and called the city’s animal control folks.  They took the little guy off my hands and (I hope) released it in some happier batplace.

  5. eastexsteve says

    Plenty of brown recluse here in the one-star state. I was bitten once when I stuck my hand in a glove without shaking it out, barely felt anything, but It did swell a little and there was a little necrotizing of tissue. Much more pleasant than a wasp or yellow-jacket sting and way less painful than a fire ant bite which happens almost every time I work in the garden. (Invasive little fuckers)

    If it was legal I’d send you a few. Thanks for posting, great video!

  6. Jazzlet says

    We had bats sort of in the house we used to live in. A terraced house with a private internal passage on one side, house made out of stone so plenty of nooks and crannies to hang out on. I used to sit out at dusk in summer and see them fly out, I could hear them back then too. We do have bats round here, but I’ve no idea where they roost.

  7. expatlurker says

    Is there something like toxoplasmosis but for spiders and creepy crawlies?

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