Saturday, June 16, 2018

laughing at heaven’s door


God has a sense of humor.

And a rather perverse if the tailless whip scorpion is any example.

If you did not blanch when that photograph loaded, you are an exception. Most of my Mexican neighbors would have reached for a shoe.

I have been told repeatedly by Mexican friends and employees that there is nothing more dangerous than these ugly Bettys of the animal kingdom. “The deadliest spider in Mexico” is the usual explanation.

Except, it is not a spider. And, unlike the English name, it is not a scorpion, either. The only thing it has in common with spiders and scorpions is that it has eight legs. Six to ambulate. And two to grab prey (similar to a praying mantis).

My neighbors called it a vinegaron. Because it emits a vinegar smell when threatened.

But poisonous? No. It packs no venom.

Like most animals, it will bite defensively. But it is about as dangerous as a plate of sardine pate.

Not only is it not dangerous, it is beneficial. If you are a creep crawly, you may be the next meal of a tailless whip scorpion. It is quite fond of cockroaches. And scorpions. The real ones.

The one you are looking out was in the patio bathroom last night. Lurking just over the toilet paper roll.

I will confess my first reaction was to immediately withdraw the hand that had reached for the roll. Until I realized it was one of Mexico’s more beneficial creatures.

So, it lives on. Hunting through the night to bump off the Buick-size cockroaches that occasionally munch on me in bed.

I do have one suggestion, though. The tailless whip scorpion could use a public relations makeover. I wonder if Bill Clinton’s agent is available?

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