I’m just going to say this, and if you can’t deal with it, tough.  The American Museum of Natural History, where I have been an educator and tour guide for the last thirteen years, will open an exhibition of live spiders and other arachnids on July 4.  It’s called Spiders Alive! And I am one of the presenters who will be handling tarantulas and scorpions to give demonstrations to the visitors.

A year ago, if you had told me I would be doing this, I would not have believed you.

These arachnids are very alien in how they perceive the world and move through it, but the more time I spend with them, the more they make sense to me, and the more sympathetic they become.

Here are a few of my new co-workers:

That last one is the weirdest creature you’ve never heard of before, called a vinegaroon.   It’s kind of goofy and charming, and walks like it’s made of clockwork.   It has pincers, but it doesn’t use them in self-defense.   The worst it will do, if it’s really stressed, is spray concentrated acetic acid, which is the active component in vinegar.

Here’s a video of what the exhibition will be about.