The Chilean Recluse

Nothing terribly interesting happened today (I worked ten-ish hours at the school, saw El Volcan de Fuego spewing smoke, tore my feet to shreds) so let me tell you a tale of ages past.

So before we went to Chile, they sent us a big packet with all the information we might need about the country. One of the things that they were very explicit about was that there were no poisonous snakes or spiders in the area of the country that we would be.


I was seventeen, and a dumbass (that part hasn’t changed). I was in Chile, and we were well into the program. It was during our morning Spanish class that I saw a spider scuttling across the floor towards my desk.

Image result for chilean rincon spider
This was what the bastard looked like.

The girl who sat next to me, Kaila, was deathly afraid of spiders. I had a brief, mildly heroic, moment of “oh she might see it and freak out,” and decided to take the spider outside before it could get close to her.

I used a piece of paper to scoop up the spider, which crawled onto my hands. I flinched – because I am ticklish and those eight little legs tickle quite a bit, and also spiders are kind of gross – and the spider fell. This time, I went to grab it with my hands, thinking that I could trap it and carry it out.

Maybe you read the title, and recognized the word ‘recluse,’ and have a decent idea where this story is going. Good news, I was saved from trying to be a hero.

The boy who sat to my other side, Cade, swooped in before I could grab the spider and smashed it with my notebook (my notebook). I turned and was like, “dude! Why did you do that?”

And then our teacher, Lisbeth, stood up and looked closer at the spider and said, “oh, that’s a Chilean recluse. It’s deadly.”

And we all said, “oh” and I spent the next forty-five minutes googling the Chilean recluse (my classmates spent the next forty-five minutes making fun of me). Apparently it is considered the deadliest of the recluse spiders, and the fourth most dangerous spider to be bitten by in the world.

When the program said, “there are no poisonous snakes or spiders in the area of Chile you will be” what they meant was, “there is one extremely dangerous spider in the area you will be, and we are banking on you never encountering it.”

Moral of the story is: if you try and do nice things a spider will bite you and either you will die or you will become Spiderman.

Don’t touch spiders,


One thought on “The Chilean Recluse

  1. Counter story: I was going to Schroon Lake in the Adirondacks to stay in a slightly renovated boat house on the lake for my second honeymoon (another story). Just as we were leaving, we received a call from the owner, a lawyer, who said, “The previous tenant THOUGHT he saw a brown recluse spider in the outdoor shower. Please be careful. Talk about a spoiler! The entire vacation was spent checking the closets, the sheets, the shower and any other place we imagined one might be lurking. Never saw one for real but I can still conjure up the terror.


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