Monday, January 14, 2008

Sure Doesn't Feel Like January

While other parts of the country are buried under snow and ice, we are experiencing a down right mild winter here in deep south Texas. December and January, so far, have seen daily averages nearly 5 degrees above normal. The mild temperatures have even brought the tarantulas out early. I found this young female at work, in our upper air building, where we inflate weather balloons. I have to admit, I didn't see her clinging to the bottom of the overhead door until it was all the way open. Fully open, the base of the door is approximately 13 feet overhead. Had she fallen from even a fraction of that height, her delicate abdomen would have exploded like a dropped light bulb. So, I eased the door back down and was able to pluck her from her predicament before she fell to a certain death.

In my experience, female Texas Tan tarantulas have always been relatively calm and have never offered to bite while being handled. Males, on the other hand, nearly always display aggressive behavior and have even jumped on my shoes as I've tried to move them on their way. This little lady was a pleasure to work with as I positioned her for these photos.

I hope our mild winter continues and long range computer models show it will. Living in deep south Texas definitely has it's advantages and seeing wildlife throughout the year is only one of them.

Happy New Year everyone!