Who would have thought that the mighty Tarantula would ever need any other defensive mechanism than it’s appearance just to protect itself? I mean besides the sheer size, these things have fangs that are clearly visible and not something I’d ever want to get close to. Add to that a full coat of hair and all the 1000′s of years of folklore and this is one of natures beasts I believe most sane people just want to stay away from. I think this mighty arachnid kind of likes it this way too.
But this huge beast however takes it one step further which is most assuredly a good thing. Oh she could drive her huge venom spewing teeth into you alright but being more passive then given credit for, she has another way of getting you to just move on. Tarantula’s as well as some caterpillars and even a few types of plants have a defense mechanism that basically irritates a would be intruder without really harming them. It just makes them go away. These creatures have what is called urticating hairs or bristles that can attach to your skin or get in your eyes causing great discomfort and would most certainly make you forget all about messing around with them anymore. Some varieties of the large spider can actually ‘kick’ these hairs off their body and send them airborne right toward you. You start heading for the exits, the spider goes about her business, grows new hairs and you both live to fight another day.
Now I don’t come into contact with Tarantulas very often but this scenario sounds awfully familiar. I don’t believe a day goes by that I’m not assaulted with “urticulating hairs” of sorts but the source of these defensive moves- is not from a living entity. Or is it?
Does This Count?
If something fits a definition but defies the most basic part, is it still considered the same thing? You see, every single day I walk into a home, business or some such situation where I am bombarded with irritating ‘barbs’ that most definitely make me want to pack up and go. Smells, sights just plain ickkkkk that gets into my eyes, throat and nose causing me to sneeze, tear up, choke and uhhhh, well lets just leave it there. My question is. Is this an urticating house that just doesn’t want me there? I mean, it never seems to change whenever I go back for maintenance visits. Most times the homeowner never even winces or even makes an excuse about the strong odor or, eh emm, obstacles that are everywhere. Well they might say the first time or two, “You caught me in the middle of cleaning up- this’ll all be gone next time.” (next time never comes) And since I can never kill the beast and it keeps warding me away; Is this an urticating account?
My List- What’s Yours?
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about you are most likely just perusing this article thinking it’s about another topic- Or, you haven’t been on the job very long and thus immediate visions of gut wrenching scenes don’t automatically pop up. Things a bug man eventually can see and not have bother (urticate) him/her whatsoever-well, not all that much anyway. Things like: the smell of 7 overflowing urine soaked kitty litter boxes-the smell of no kitty boxes but still 7 kitties. Dog poo across the living room, several weeks of trash piled up in a hot garage, counter tops full of dirty dishes and food. The strong smell of rodent urine or roach infestation in a cabinet or space. Bathrooms so riddled with moisture that black mold is exposed from the shower tiles that can no longer hang on. Stank water just outside a broken window where the wash machine dumps into the yard. The terrible smell of a dog who just wants attention as he rubs against your leg- his matted fur let’s loose of a dozen fleas on your trousers as you want to pet him but you just can’t bring yourself to. The pool so green that the mosquito larva don’t even have enough oxygen to thrive. Some unknown grease or substance on the stove and your pretty sure that’s an old nacho stuck in the microwave door keeping it from shutting.
Does this fit the definition of urticating? Maybe not totally but I do know it’s a mechanism, defensive or not. I also know that when a thick bank of caustic aroma hits my face- no matter what the source, I want out. It just seems that I see this type of scene almost every work day & lately even more than usual. I know I’m not alone in these grand visions- I hear the horror stories all the time and oddly, I never shy away from hearing more. So if you can add to the list, feel free. If however you’re someone whose house is like this and you thought this article might help you with a pest problem, I apologize for urdicating you.
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