Large Spider – Tarantula’s cousin? ( El Salvador )   6 comments

This not-so-little friend was walking along the wall of the back patio one night, not long after I had first moved to El Salvador.  I called out to my husband, who immediately grabbed the broom.  In a dramatic moment, I saved Spidey’s life: “Run, Spider, Run!” I yelled.  He escaped just before the broom slammed the wall, and my husband cursed me.  My in-laws insisted this spider was dangerous; they said though it doesn’t have a venomous bite, the web it weaves can poison animals that walk into it, like horses and cattle.  I scoured the internet everywhere to identify ‘poisonous webs’ or ‘venomous webs’ but could not find a thing.  Old Salvadoran wives tale, I say.

Date spotted:  November 2, 2009.  Species:  unknown.  Visit the Wonderful World of Insects in El Salvador Photo Gallery.   UPDATE:  according to one of our readers, this is known locally as a “horse spider.”  It appears to be a type of tarantula.

Hairy like a Tarantula, but not quite

Look how big this spider is

This spider is as big as hand!

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6 responses to “Large Spider – Tarantula’s cousin? ( El Salvador )

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  1. Ohhh, Old Salvadoran Wives Tales, how I love them. I once had someone tell me that if you got bit by a certain snake they way to extract the venom was to cut a baby chick in half and put it over the wound. I did my best not to laugh.

    Alisha Lundberg
  2. Oh how disgusting! this reminds me of another very weird wives tile I heard once in my mother in laws house and they all believe it. Something like, a chicken has an egg and the egg gives birth to something that’s not a chick, but like a tiny snake with one eye. Supposedly, if that one eyed snakething looks at you, you have to KILL it immediately or else – I cant remember what – but maybe you or someone close to you dies. When I said oh hogwash, they recounted a story of my sister-in-law seeing one and killing it! ( I’m sure this is scientifically explainable, like perhaps a chicken gets old and some of the chicks are deformed, thus the funky looking chick). Anyway, it’s crazy.

    Oh – I also owe the readership a blog about “El OJO” – have you learned about this one yet?

  3. It’s a horse spider! I ran into a few of these when I lived in Ciudad Arce. We found out the hard way that bug spray alone doesn’t do the trick with these things. It requires bug spray and a lighter.

    • Thanks for the info. The name Horse Spider unearths interesting information. I have now seen a few websites calling a horse spider a ‘type of tarantula’, so looks like he is in the Tarantula family. This name corroborates with a myth my mother-in-law told me abuot after the sighting, that they create a poisonous web which can kill horses and cattle. Appears to be a variation of a Guatemalan myth that they urinate on victims and poison them: http://www.washington.edu/burkemuseum/spidermyth/myths/misc.html
      “…this myth (still going strong in 2008) centers on a tarantula species locally called araña de caballo (horse spider) which is said to cause severe hoof and leg trouble in horses and other livestock by urinating on them. In truth, spiders do not have separate urine and feces, and their droppings consist largely of guanine, which is a component of DNA and found in all living things; highly unlikely to cause any skin reaction!”

      Did they get INTO your house? We were fortunate, he was only outside.

  4. Hi there,

    I am new to your blog and after just over a year of living in El Salvador with my Salvadoran partner, I am kicking myself that I didn’t discover it earlier! I have spent the best part of my Sunday reading through your posts and so many of your tales ring so true I could have written them myself :)

    My first encounter with a Salvadoran wives tale was that of “El Ojo” – My boyfriend’s 8 month old niece had fallen sick and everyone in the family was on “El Ojo” alert. After a brief rundown from my boyfriend on this crazy theory, I resorted to my best friend google to get all the details in English and needless to say refused to believe a word of it. The mother of the baby is also a non-believer, yet multiple trips to the witch doctor were made, the ritual with the egg done and presto, little Karlita was fit as a fiddle a few days later. No amount of logical reasoning will convince them that El Ojo is in fact nothing but a wives tale, along with all of the other crazy theories I have heard over the last year, so I have learned to just smile and nod and go along with them! They always give me a bit of a chuckle :)

    I look forward to reading more of your stories
    Take care,
    Genevieve

    • Genevieve, I’m glad you found my blog, too. I had been keeping a diary since late 2009, but did not turn it into a blog until last fall. I apologize for not responding sooner. I sent my resume to a call center, and they called me in the same day – been in training since. (I think the call center industry may be exploding in El Salvador – good news for their economy).

      Yes – el OJO! My blog is missing an entry (or more) on El Ojo. It is amazing how people cling so hard to this belief, and always attribute a person’s return to good health to the ‘curandero/a’ who healed them. A friend of ours brought her new baby son over on a visit. He had a bracelet with an ‘ojo de venado’ (eye of deer) on his arm, which is supposed to be a special protection against people accidentally or intentionally giving him the ‘eye/evil eye’. What’s so funny is how the mother of that baby in your story, though non-believing, was dragged not to one but multiple witch-doctor visits – hysterical!

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