Sleeping With Tarantulas at Picaflor Research Centre — A Wildlife Tale

Sleeping with tarantulas at Picaflor wasn’t exactly on my itinerary, but in a way, I guess it was meant to be… Johanna discovered a tarantula on the ceiling of her bedroom one morning, but it was her time to leave and she was packing.

This spider may or may not be similar to the time when I was sleeping with tarantulas at Picaflor.
Photo By DiverDave (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

I went down to the river with Johanna to wait for her boat. While there, we wondered how far along the river we’d made it on foot. We asked Pico to take us out for a spin in his boat and saw we’d only gone about a third of the way! We couldn’t believe it. The Lodge is really not far from Picaflor and since we’d walked one-way for about half an hour, we thought we’d gotten really close…

Sigh. Now I’ve lost my adventure companion.

Back at Picaflor, I went to Johanna’s room to check out the tarantula more closely. It had short legs, unlike the one that nests near our well. Since our rooms are only separated by a tall half-wall, I was hoping it would be gone by the time I went to bed. I didn’t want to end up sleeping with tarantulas at Picaflor that night.

You always think you’ll act a certain way given a certain situation, but you never really know until you’re actually faced with that situation.

For me, sleeping with tarantulas at Picaflor was a wake-up call.

Years ago, when I was working at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ottawa, I helped a guy to register for courses who told me he’d taken a semester off to teach English in Peru. Intrigued — and jealous, naturally — I asked for details.

One of the things he said was that in the region where he was staying, people sleep with nets over their beds to protect themselves against all manners of insects, including scorpions and tarantulas.

I thought a place like that would make for a really exciting destination. How cool to live in such close proximity to exotic creatures!

Finally faced with that situation the night Johanna left, I surprised myself in spite of my bravado.

At bedtime, I pointed my flashlight at the spot where the tarantula had moved to and been all day — still there.

It was now a bit more on my side of the room above the partition wall. I shrugged and calmly went to bed, crawling under the net I’d tightly tucked in at the corners weeks ago. I wouldn’t let sleeping with tarantulas at Picaflor bother me!

The spider was still there when I awoke the next morning, and the next two as well.

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