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    Posted August 5, 2014 by
    Yucca Valley, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

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    Summer in the Desert is a bit scary sometimes. Tonight was one of those times when I wish I hadn't seen what I saw. I came out about 8pm to bring Arnold (the Tortoise) inside for bed. I glanced ahead to the side block wall & said "oh, there's one of those cool big lizards...oh wait, there are TOO MANY LEGS...SPIDER'
    Yes, I'm quite sure those were my exact words to myself before running back inside for the camera.
    We have lived in the high desert for almost 12 years and I have only come across one of these beauties 2 other times. One time we were hiking on our land & came across one of their burrows & saw the spider nearby. The 2nd Encounter was a bit more...CREEPY! I was outside after dark & came upon a 'dark lump' on the cement. I quickly went inside & got a flashlight along with my hubby. We returned to the dark lump to find that it was a Tarantula having dinner...a small mouse! OMG I was horrified, but I also understand it is nature.
    I believe what I came across tonight was a Male Tarantula out looking for a date! I went online to find the following information with a photo of our visitor.
    "This handsome & mostly harmless male tarantula was out searching for a suitable mate. Normally this is an end-of-life adventure for a tarantula. Predation by an owl or other predator is a distinct possibility. Otherwise they will burn all their remaining energy searching (for a wife :) Success in finding a female may even end in being her next meal. Normally by October the current years' males have all died. Their sperm cells will live on, however, for many years within the female inside a special sac, the spermatheca, fertilizing her eggs as needed. Female spiders rarely leave the safety of their silk-lined burrows"
    Wow, what a lazy girl (my words lol)
    "Tarantulas may bite in defense, but their most effective weapon is the abundant, irritating hairs on the abdomen. A skunk or grasshopper mouse seeking to dine on a tarantula must deal with these hairs or else suffer the consequences."
    I took a few photos before I got the hose & tried to encourage him to climb back over the wall to the open land and AWAY from our yard! He seemed to enjoy the light cool shower & didn't move until I put the water directly on him. I then took a couple of pics of him on the outside of the wall which show a different angle & Walking Away from our yard.  You can see the water droplets on him in the last 2 photos.
    I'm not sure how big he was but BIG, which I guess means he's probably an old guy. Well I hope he had a good night & found a nice girl....and she didn't have him for dinner!

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