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  • Writer's pictureOphelia, the monster

Have I ever been bitten? (Starring Vega)

Everyone always asks me if they bite, and I always tell them that I have never experienced it. I have been keeping them and handling them for years, and never been bitten......until last night! But it was not due to aggression or defense. Let me explain.

Vega has laid several clutches of eggs now. A few of you have even adopted her babies. Instead of making new nests, she chooses to keep using the same nest and pushes the old webbing out of the way and lay new webbing down. So after awhile the old nest and old webbing gets messy and tangled and turns into really thick strands. It ends up looking like how you would expect some spooky spiders lair to look. I try to leave their nests alone, so I never discarded of the extra strands she pushed out.

She usually pokes her little head out to get fresh air and look for flies, but if I move her container or surprise her, she pulls herself back in. Last night she did not do this. She just stayed in the same spot, which I found odd. I thought, she must be really hungry and waiting. So I take her enclosure down and she is still in the same spot. Upon further inspection I see she is clutching this piece of webbing like she is holding on for life. Vega has never been the most interactive, but she does tolerate me. But her lack of even moving away from me is telling me something is definitely wrong. It turns out, this little girl, has gotten herself so tangled in the old webbing, she can’t even move! It was a mess! The strand was tangled around her legs, all the way at the joints connecting to her abdomen, wrapped around several of her legs individually, as well as all together, and the there was thin strands wrapped around the small little spot that connects her head to her abdomen, and then the webbing fused itself together! This was a puzzle. A tiny fragile puzzle. I felt so bad for her and it was like, if she was going to keep struggling, the webbing was strong enough that it could cut her in half. This was an emergency.

So I spent the next 2 hours very very carefully untangling her. I had her in my hand, and I had tweezers, nail clippers, and a sewing needle. And I ever so gently went to work. I am squinting my eyes so I can get close up and see what I am doing because one wrong move and things can take a terrible turn for the worst.

And she was so patient. She sat there and would carefully move her leg or lift her butt up for me so I could catch the string with the needle to move it however it would need to go. She knew I was helping her.

I felt like I was playing the game operation. Except instead of getting shocked when you touch the side, you got bit if you moved wrong. And I did.

The stress from the situation at one point did cause her to bite down on my finger,.....C H O M P!....She was trying to hold onto my hand and couldn’t, which is when she bit. And she did not let go. Yes, it did hurt, it was a pinch. And I sucked it up, clenched my jaw, and carefully used the tweezers and slid them between her and my hand. She let go, and I went back to the task. I did finally get her untangled, the real challenge was the part that wrapped around between her head and abdomen. She didn’t bite again after that, nor did she struggle at all, or try to run and hide. She just patiently sat there and allowed me to help her.

When it was done and she realized she could move around freely, we had a moment, where she looked up at me, and just sat there. We had eye contact. She used one of her little pedipalps to wipe her face, then she walked around a little.

My finger did sting a bit after that. The area she bit swelled a little, but was fine. I have no evidence today that I had a bite occur. And Vega is perfectly fine! Except she likes me more now then she did before all of this ❤️🤷‍♀️

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