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Firstly, let me just confirm that I know spiders are not insects so this doesn’t really fit for National Insect Week but I don’t have a lot of images of foreign insects so we’re having International Scary Spider Day instead. Look away now if you don’t like spiders!

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I’m not a big fan of spiders either, but somehow, some way, I’ve twice survived handling huge spiders. The first time was in Cambodia and the spider was a tarantula. The locals consider these a culinary delicacy and the one that sat on my hand was really being used as a ploy to lure tourists into buying the cooked produce. Despite being huge, this creature was delicate, and felt incredibly light and soft on my hand. And I survived!

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My second encounter with a large arachnid was in northern Peru. The beastie was a Whip spider, or more correctly an Amblypygi. They look scary but rarely bite, though you could get some nasty puncture wounds from those pedipalps (the spiked pincers) if it grabbed you. And I survived! … But, spiderwoman I am not.

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