Because I find spiders terrifying, here’s an adorable slow loris
Dear Cicurina venii
May I call you by your scientific name, or do you prefer your more common name, the Braken Bat Cave meshweaver?
At any rate, I have never made a secret of the fact that I do not much like your kind (meaning spiders), as I tend to find you creepy. I know that you and most of your cousins here in Texas mean us no harm, and that it’s just the black widows and brown recluses that pose any real danger to us humans. You spiders have just always rubbed me the wrong way. I suppose it is because of that time in kindergarten when I reached out my hand to lean on a wall at recess and felt something soft and furry, only to discover a large (relative to my 6 year-old size) wolf spider at my fingertip. I know that’s not your fault, and I know it’s not fair to blame an entire order of arachnids for a mild youthful scare, so I apologize for the aspersions I have cast on your kind over the years.
I write to you now, in fact, to welcome you back to the public eye. I read that you recently reappeared after an absence of more than a decade, showing up at a construction site in San Antonio. In fact, no one even knew you existed until 1980, and no one saw you again until a few weeks ago. You’ve been on the endangered species list since 2000. This means that your sudden and unexpected appearance stopped a highway construction project in its tracks. It sounds like you’ve got quite a home for yourself there in northwest San Antonio, with a whole network of caves. The news says that you’re blind, so I suppose you can’t quite appreciate how much the city has changed around you since the last time people saw you.
I hope that we can find a way to live together. You should know that you’ve made a lot of people angry. They’re really angry with the government for enforcing the laws protecting you as an endangered species, but you get caught in the crossfire, and that’s too bad. I know you just want to live down there in your cave, scurrying around doing spider stuff. You didn’t ask for this kind of attention, but unfortunately, you’ve got it.
For my part, I want to thank you for reminding us all that protecting endangered species isn’t just about protecting cute pandas and majestic eagles. It is also about protecting blind, cave-dwelling, eight-legged beasts like you. You may terrify me, even if you are less than an inch long, but you ought to have a chance to use this planet along with the rest of us.
Photo credit: ‘Nycticebus coucang 003’ by David Haring / Duke Lemur Center (email) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.