For some reason I feel inspired to post about various invertebrates that have creeped me out over the course of my life. (Squeamish readers may want to come back tomorrow.) I'd been noticing that whenever people have posted about their encounters with such creatures, they are astonishingly vivid in the details. Clearly, these are things that have profound and lasting effects on our psyches. So...
Here are some creepy-crawly memories of my own. Some are disturbing, some not. But all made an impression!
The Great Earwig Flood.
I hate earwigs. I loathe them. From the way they move, to the pincers, to the (perhaps apocryphal? I never dared find out) smell they exude when stepped on... ugh. So imagine my shuddering twitches in the following encounter. I had, at one point, made a large ceramic sculpture in pottery class. Said sculpture being of considerable size, it ended up residing in the garden. Also, by dint of it being large, it was perforce hollow. So... along comes a young-adults art fair. I think that this sculpture would be a great entry, so I fetch it in from the yard and put it in the garage sink to wash off the dirt. And it was filled with earwigs. I poured in gallons and gallons of hot water, and bleach, and soap, and they Kept. Coming. Out. I'm not a person who tends toward nausea, but this time I was this close to losing it. Lots of jumping around and arm-waving was also involved. Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!
But I did win a prize.
No good story here. But, ew, I can still remember how squishy they were. And how huge. And the fact that Mom wouldn't let us use gloves. Bare-nekkid vulnerable little kid hands here. Gah!
Want to see an entire group of people (more than 30, of all ages) suddenly leap up and start madly stomping the ground and beating it with sticks? Set a large centipede loose in the crowd. (And I mean LARGE. And poisonous!) Even better, have it Crawl Up Someone's Shirt. (!!!) (Not mine, oh merciful heavens!). So much for the "respect the earth and all its creatures" message we were trying to explore. And all the tents were very carefully zipped shut that night...
Did you know that if you suck them into a shop-vac before they are quite dead they will cling to the sides of the hose and clog it up? My dad was not pleased to learn this.
And large roaches in an outdoor toilet are not a welcome audience. Even if there is a large toad waiting to eat them before your very eyes.
On the other hand, some Australian roaches are kinda cute. They even whistle and hiss! (The ones I am thinking of are not the ones you get when you google "Australian roach"; they are smaller and come in colors like bright orange and black with white stripes.)
I am very tired of ants cruising my apartment looking for food. Go AWAY!
Australian green tree ants are horrible, aggressive little buggers. Their predilection for falling en masse onto the unwary from their nest trees and biting you wherever they can is not endearing. (Yes, this has happened to me.) On the other hand, they taste like lemon if you bite them, so you can get a bit of your own back.
My little brother used to throw the abandoned shells at me in the hopes of having them stick. I still don't like them!
When camping, we once came across great colonies of ladybugs hibernating on a mountain top. This is less cool when you live in a place where they try to do this in your house.
They don't like me; I don't like them. I've had them fly out of their way to sting me. As a result, I am now very good at killing wasps, both mechanically and chemically.
Annoying little bloodsuckers. Bad enough that they bite the pets, but... let me say, entering a side-yard full of starving fleas after a long vacation is not something that you forget easily. Yar.
Guh. That's all. Just guh. Gee-yuck. Blarg. You get the idea.
Can we say paranoia? I've never had an actual tick on me, but seeing them on pets is bad enough. And I find myself doing "The Tick Check" for days after a walk in a grassy area. I look like I've got some sort of obsessive disorder. (Perhaps a nervous tic? Hah.)
Luckily, I've only had to deal with leeches once, when a kid doing "pond water sampling" for a nature class. Gross. I hope I never need a finger reattached; I'd have to hide my eyes the whole time.
Okay... that's enough. Feel free to share your stories. I'll be wearing my virtual Paper Mitt of Protection (c/o finslippy) in anticipation!