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Oct 05 2009

Danger and slapstick on Savage Death Island!

Fois gras
Fois gras on toast. Uchi, Austin TX, July 2007

In keeping with the recent commentary-on-a-comment motif into the self-referential depths of which this blog has recently plunged (if a blog may be said to have plunged into a motif, which contingency is, I admit, something of an uncertainty), today’s post is a blog comment upon which I comment.

First, the set-up:

Somebody saw an old post in which was featured a description of a dish I enjoyed at a trendy Austin foie gras shack a couple of years ago. Describing herself as “angered” by this, the reader wrote in to demand an explanation for my reprehensible foie gras-eatin’ behavior.

I was annoyed because

a) it blisters the spinster’s butt-barnacles whenever readers demand explanations for things. Particularly when the tone of the demand is sanctimonious, and the nature of the thing being demanded is personal;

b) I decline, cravenly and absolutely, to be seen as the head of some sort of cult who is expected to gleam with noble perfection and tow the party line barge on every little goddam thing, using my personal, real, 3D self as an example to all; and

c) I had, as it happened, already thrown myself on the mercy of the Savage Death Island Grand Tribunal regarding human carnivorosity in general and foie gras in particular, and, having adjusted my views — in a Very Special farewell-to-bacon episode — to align more locksteppedly with radical feminist food doctrine, felt unjustly accused.

I realize now, of course, that the angered reader was not in possession of all the facts, and that she was, in fact, merely asking for a clarification, and that a loudmouthed Internet feminist such as myself, who puts both her dinner and her crackpot ideology on public display using a medium that invites the commentary of total strangers, should expect to field these kinds of queries from time to time, even though there is an escape clause in the IBTP Terms of Use Agreement specifically designed to let me off the hook whenever I feel like it (the Cosmic Indifference Clause).

However, we spinster aunts are some of the most notorious fuck-ups in Cottonmouth County. So naturally I scrawled some asinine rejoinder, a scrawl I now regret. I meant it to convey a certain impatience with the habit of blog readers to hold blog authors to the same standards that they (the blog authors) daily espouse, and to suggest, dammit, that what I do on my own time is beeswax that ought not to be minded by the blametariat. What happens in Cottonmouth County stays in Cottonmouth County, by gum. Or something.

I must apologize to the angered reader. What she witnessed was not my finest hour, for the asinine rejoinder, it grieves me to reveal, alluded to my bowel movements.

Which brings us, finally and mercifully, to the comment upon which I am about to comment.

Quoth Pinko Punko:

I know Jill must use the most decadent and wasteful of toilet paper. Dried centipede husks are even a luxury for some people’s bits. Flagellate thyself!

Pinko Punko is absolutely clairvoyant! I buy only 100% silk toilet tissue. It’s made in Mongolia by blind orphans, from silkworms who are fed nothing but foie gras.

Speaking of centipedes, I’ve got an anecdote.

Scolopendra heros

Yesterday afternoon I was lounging with a pitcher of margs watching that psuedo-documentary TV show about women who suddenly turn into homicidal maniacs, when there came a faint scratching sound from behind the lime green recliner. Fran, my yella Lab puppy, began yelping like a hellhound. Absently I hoisted the spinster keister and shuffled over to the hub of the hubbub. I was thinking it was probably just another case of Fran attempting to menace, like she does about 587 times a day, some random household object, such as a coffee bean, an errant dung beetle, or my foot.

Well, when I saw what it was I shot up about eight feet in the air and let out a yip, which wasn’t so much a yip, really, as it was a scream, and of the specific nature of that scream let me just say that the traitors trapped in the jaws of the Ninth Circle of Hell’s three-headed Satan could have done worse.

As you have no doubt surmised, what I observed was one of those giant Scolopendra heros. You haven’t really been yanked out of a pleasant afternoon torpor until a venomous, 7-inch, yellow-legged, needle-footed, red-headed, carnivorous invertebrate aggressively strolls across your livingroom floor, headed, in its belligerent, gazillion-legged way, straight for a flip-flop containing your personal foot. Picture an anaconda crossed with an armadillo crossed with the alien in Alien, with a chip on each of its 23 pairs of shoulders, and you’ll have it about half right.

Listen. I do my damnedest not to be an anti-Scolopendrite. I’m the first to admit that in the wild, as it biffs hither and yon with its hypnotically undulating legs and gaudy color scheme, gracefully rearing up to envenomate its prey (furry woodland creatures such as mice, bunnies, and wildebeests), S. heros is Truth and Beauty itself. But holy shit! Stick one in the Twisty Bunkhouse and watch a spinster aunt devolve into a sniveling (albeit in what I like to think is a slightly butch way) glob of eek-a-mouseterism.

I had to get rid of it, and fast, before it scuttled off into the woodwork. I didn’t want it popping out later, in the dank subumbra of night, to challenge one of the dogs to a death match, or — the thought paralyzes me even now — to crawl into my bed and up my nose into my brain, winding itself around my obstreperal cortex and turning me into a centipede-woman! A ticking time-bomb, if an arthropod may be said to tick, which (though an arthropod may be a tick) it probably can’t.

It was the aforementioned embarrassingly convolute and panic-stricken B-movie thought process that led me to my first gambit; I ill-consideredly threw on a nearby pair of heavy boots with the idea of smushing the enormous bug. We circled each other for what seemed like hours — me clomping, the centipede undulating — but in the end I couldn’t commit centipedicide. This is not because I entertain any sentimentality on the subject of centipedical right-to-life. It is because I possess a weakness of character; I am literally nauseated by the sensation of stepping on any entity that crunches. I can’t smush beetles, scorpions, roly-polys, or Rice Krispies treats, either, if I expect to keep dinner down.

Next I had the bright idea that I would put a piece of glue-board down and herd the thing onto it with a broom, thereby immobilizing it and allowing me to remove it via barbecue tongs to its original habitat. But the great beast wasn’t down with herding.

So I tried to nudge the glue-board into its path with my toe, with the comical result — wait for it! — that both the Scolopendra and my boot got stuck!

In accordance with my instinctual antipathy toward footal proximity to venomous arthropods, my amygdala jerked the affected limb away in a panic, but, because my life had suddenly become a Charlie Chaplin film in which “glue-board” was a metaphor for “poetic justice,” this knee-jerk merely strengthened the glue-board’s affinity for my boot. So what did I do? That’s right; I tried to hold the glue-board down with my other foot to facilitate the extrication of the first.

I bet you didn’t see that coming!

So there we were, adrenaline-crazed spinster aunt and incensed homicidal centipede, each with several feet mired in the same 6-inch piece of glue-board. And great Scott, this centipede had the strength of ten centipedes! It was breaking loose! No wait, it wasn’t just breaking loose, it was breaking loose and crawling up my boot! Already it was a quarter of the way to my obstreperal cortex! Scratching hideously with its gazillion needle-feet, its blood-red eyes burning with the icy purgatorial fires of impending doom as I pogoed impotently around the room, shrieking. What a tableau.

In all fairness, the centipede did have the physical advantage in this contest. If I’d had 44 more legs, and microscopic needles for feet, instead of 2 large glue-lovin’ boots, I might have been the one to get loose first.

Fortunately I’ve seen about a million movies where the action hero extricates himself from a tight spot by slipping out of his activewear, so, once I stopped screaming, for me it was but the work of a moment to yank off the boots, one of which was by now completely colonized by the glue-board and all but the last two sections of centipede, and heave the whole affair outside through a handy door. Finally, my neurotic obsession with antifeminist classic films paid off! As did my rigid insistence, against the advice of the baffled architects who designed the bunkhouse, on having 7 or 8 exterior doors installed in every room.

As has been noted by more poetical heartwarming nature crappists than I, centipedes “seem to exert a weird fascination on the morbid appetites of the hysterical and insane.” I know this is true, because I have written at least 3 posts [1, 2, and 3] on this species alone, and even made a movie. Inexplicably, the movie failed to beguile audiences, and went straight to video, where it awaits cult classicdom.

73 comments

  1. Mukherjee

    That was the funniest thing I’ve read in a while! I’m glad to know that you, your dogs and the centipede were all unharmed.

  2. AsterMedallion

    I grew up in Dickinson, Texas, and now live in British Columbia, Canada. We moved north when I was a teenager and still enslaved by the parental units.

    People (Canadians), on hearing I grew up in Texas, are quite often at a loss to understand why I wouldn’t want to go back to the magical land known as The South now that I’m a ‘grown-up’.

    I tick off, one finger at a time, my reasons:

    1. Tornadoes
    2. Hurricanes
    3. Flash Floods
    4. Spiders that build webs between trees (the spacing of which may be a good 10 to 15 feet)which stretch across the space at face height to a ten year old, then hang in wait for said ten year old to be gleefully and innocently running through the backyard.

    5. For number five I have decided to substitute the heretofore described water-loving venomous snakes with the glue-trap hooping big-ass centipede depcited in your iPhone movie.

  3. Nora

    Please let this be the funniest thing that I read today. I can’t take any more.

  4. Intransigentia

    If that had been me, the lime-green recliner would probably be brown now.

  5. Yonah

    I do love how you describe the more repellent things populating our world.

  6. veganrampage

    So fucking funny. Thanks.

  7. Mare Island

    Hooray for the valiant Fran! I’d say that pup deserves a nice big bowl of faux-gras. And thanks for a great laugh. Like another commenter said, your posts just keep getting better and better.

  8. humanbein

    You had me on the edge of my seat worried sick, and that’s absurd. I’m glad you escaped intact!

  9. Solniger

    what a gorgeous claw! I don’t want it anywhere near me.

  10. The Subversive Librarian

    I can’t squish anything that crunches either. Thanks for making me laugh. Out loud and everything!

  11. Notorious Ph.D.

    I’m going back to read the arthropod-related part of the post in a moment, but once I saw the photo, I had to immediately scroll down here to tell you: right fucking on. That is an amazing picture. Hells, yeah.

  12. Notorious Ph.D.

    Just read it. It’s prose like this that would cause me to totally make out with you. But not within 36 miles of your arthropod collection, okay?

  13. pheenobarbidoll

    I can’t laugh at you. I found one in my bedroom today and it chased me around the room. And yes, they fucking crunch and that’s just fucking nasty. It was scooped into a cup and tossed into the street. I’m sure my neighbors noticed my quick sprint, holding the cup at arms length, through my yard.

    I won’t sleep tonight. At All.

  14. Laughingrat

    Finally, my neurotic obsession with antifeminist classic films paid off!

    See, that crap can totally save your life!

  15. Comrade PhysioProf

    Seven fucking inches of poisonous centipede!?!? Jesus motherfucking christ almighty!

  16. pheenobarbidoll

    Oh and I just have to say it’s a huge relief to know you also worry about things crawling into your brain. I once read somewhere that people in their sleep swallow 50 spiders over the course of their lifetimes and words just cannot express the horror of that. Dunno how true it is, but it fucks with my head.

  17. Jill

    How do you scoop an entity of that size and fearlessness into a mere cup? Aren’t you freaked out, getting that close to it with your hand? The mind reels.

  18. pheenobarbidoll

    64oz 7-11 cup and hard back book.

    “you freaked out, getting that close to it with your hand?”

    Well I am NOW.

  19. Pinko Punko

    I must assume pheenobarbidoll must refer to the Texas-sized “regular” 44 oz Whataburger drink cup, which would almost be an Airstream for the discerning centipede guest.

    I had a feeling centipede Monday was coming. I thought I might have seen my first since becoming a Texas Resident Alien, but then realized it was probably just a small snake, likely destined itself for a centipedal snack.

    It is the delicateness of their crunch that is the worst, the sound tries to shame you for stepping on such a fragile creature, then it bad cops you with the disgusting insides. Blarf.

  20. ElizaN

    The centipede I could laugh about, because those things don’t live here. Then I got to pheenobarbidoll and the spiders, and now I’m thinking of ways to keep a veil firmly over my face while I sleep.

  21. Comrade PhysioProf

    I once read somewhere that people in their sleep swallow 50 spiders over the course of their lifetimes and words just cannot express the horror of that.

    Gee, thanks for sharing!

  22. pheenobarbidoll

    I seriously considered duct tape until I realized with my sinuses, I could actually suffocate.

  23. Alex

    I’m not afraid to admit that I, in fact, slapped my knee while reading the epic spinster aunt á centipede. Bravo, Jill.

  24. Erzebeth

    This entire thread is making my skin crawl. Eek!

  25. Kelly

    I once had one wrap itself around my cat’s paw so tightly that I had to cut it off with kitchen scissors (the centipede not the paw). The vet said that they will wrap themselves around the legs of chairs and wait for prey to pass. *shivers*

  26. Suzz

    Hot damn, I actually let out a guffaw on that one. A guffaw!

  27. Ron Sullivan

    I think I love you.

    Wait, though. I wonder if centipedes have livers. Just thinking this thing through, is all.

  28. pheenobarbidoll

    http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b287/cacoseraph/centipede/handling/Sc_heros_c3_hand_long.jpg

    No, that is not my hand.

  29. Nolabelfits

    For some reason I love any story that mentions the lime green recliner.

  30. coathangrrr

    Wait, though. I wonder if centipedes have livers. Just thinking this thing through, is all.

    Nope, only chordates have livers, and all animals with livers are chordates.

    Ha, finally that philosophy degree comes in handy.

  31. Barn Owl

    Now I feel like a real coward for being squicked by a striped bark scorpion in the house the other day. No centipedes, red-headed or otherwise, as yet.

    During a visit to Northern California (a region plagued only, apparently, by earthquakes, banana slugs, and Marin County trustafarians), my friends’ four-year-old son demanded a list of dangerous and scary things routinely encountered in Texas. Our list, which we proceeded to depict in both crayon drawings and Playdough sculptures, included fire ants, tornadoes, rattlesnakes, water moccasins, scorpions, feral hogs, and Gila monsters.

    We did not discuss Texas Republicans, teabaggers, monster trucks with Confederate flags, weird deep-fried foods at the Texas State Fair, or woman with big hair who drive Suburbans. There are some things to which four-year-old children just shouldn’t be exposed, even in a theoretical sense.

  32. Denise

    Ew, stepping on crunchy bugs is the worst! But I can’t decide whether that would really be worse than holding one in a cup. You could probably feel it moving all around in there, mere millimeters from your naked flesh!

    I’m going to have nightmares tonight.

  33. PandanCat

    Sheer brilliance, it is. Where’s the sign-up sheet for the ‘I Hate Stepping On Crunchy Bugs’ club? A 5 year old saved me from a vigorous cockroach last year. She just swept it up with a broom taller than she was and marched out to the trash can (also taller than her) while I was turning green and gray. Sure is nice to know that some people aren’t grossed out by handling creepy-crawlies — and to have them around in your hour of need.

    I would have never thought of the glue paper, myself. I would have been running outside and locking all the doors while tripping on rattlesnakes.

  34. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    If it’d been me hopping around with two foots stuck to a glue-trap while wrassling with a poisonous, belligerent *thing*, I’da fallen on my ignominious keester. And simultaneously soiled myself.

    Although reading this post made me laugh almost hard enough to accomplish the second thing in itself.

  35. speedbudget

    I don’t know how one would go about smashing a bug that big. I am a bug smasher. I believe in it. It’s the only way to be absolutely sure that the bug won’t come crawling out of the trash can later pissed at you. But I could never, in my wildest dreams, imagine smashing a seven-inch centipede. Christ almighty. You would need a sledge hammer and aim.

    A guy I knew once went to Mexico and bought one of those rugs they make for lying on the beach. Fifteen years later, he suddenly lost his ability to speak. They give him all these tests and find out what was causing his neurological problems: A rare parasite he breathed in when it was in pupal form off the blanket. It lives in the lower part of the body (I think in the blood), and then when it reaches a certain point in the life cycle, it will migrate to the brain, burrow in, and build a cocoon.

    I mean, I can’t believe I’m going to frigging Africa next month. Parasites are my worst nightmare.

  36. CLD

    The ginormous centipedes on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, are not so crunchy as they are almost indestructible. I swear, I had to beat one with a hammer once to get it away from me and out of the house. Stomping on it just made it angrier and more determined to get me.

    Having my boots stuck on a glue board with a centipede that had freed itself and was now traversing up my leg would have completely made me lose my shit.

  37. norbizness

    Aster: Sure, that all describes Dickinson, but you’re forgetting about the utopia that is Texas City, which adds [6. chemical plant explosions] to the exciting daily mix.

    Jill: You neglected to mention that you picked the one spot in the Hill County where non-lethal, creature-enlarging glowing green goop was stored back in the 60s.

  38. yttik

    That’s priceless. What a delightful read. I watched a video about giant centipedes. The guy says they grow to a max of six inches. Then he pauses, takes a closer look, and points out that our specimen looks to be about 8 inches. Suddenly he’s hit with the heebie jeebies and jumps back a few feet. I was amused, so much for detached scientific narratives.

  39. Jill

    “You neglected to mention that you picked the one spot in the Hill County where non-lethal, creature-enlarging glowing green goop was stored back in the 60s.”

    It’s still stored here, apparently, if the mutant juvenile delinquents living on the neighboring acreage are any indication. They have tails.

  40. Janna

    I’m glad I never saw any large centipedes when I lived on Oahu. The giant flying cockroaches were enough for me. And no, I could not bear stepping on them. The thought of having their crispy outside and gooey middle stuck to the bottom of my shoe was almost as revolting as the insect itself.

  41. snow black

    Jill, you’re the best.

    But you knew that.

  42. MissPrism

    1. Rejoice! It’s not true about the spider swallowing!
    2. I couldn’t get to sleep last night for a. the vicarious adrenaline rush of reading this or b. recurring fits of laughter at your incredible write-up of the centipantics. Thank you.

  43. Jill

    “Rejoice! It’s not true about the spider swallowing!”

    It’s all well and good for Snopes to name the source of this one little internet hoax, but how does anyone know, really, whether, or in what quantities, people swallow bugs in their sleep? Has anyone actually done a study? I need facts!

  44. Barbara P

    I come here for the blaming, but the heart-warming savage death island-ism is what compels me to stay. I get depressed thinking about the perniciousness of patriarchy, but (surprisingly) heartened by the fact that it is nothing compared to the perniciousness of giant arthropods. I thought I was feeling a bit out of sync with Jill lately, but now I remember why I worship the ground she walks on.

  45. nakedthoughts

    “I decline, cravenly and absolutely, to be seen as the head of some sort of cult who is expected to gleam with noble perfection and tow the party line barge on every little goddam thing, using my personal, real, 3D self as an example to all;”

    Can I still refer to you as twisty when quoting you? I find it easier to separate the blog from the person when I’m speaking of the gentleman farmer.

    I miss the days when Jill was shrouded in mystery.

  46. Comrade PhysioProf

    “Rejoice! It’s not true about the spider swallowing!”

    Hallelujah! Praise the lord!

  47. Eileen

    One time I was asleep in bed when a many-legged arthropod (only an inch or two, BUT STILL) fell off of a light fixture directly *into my ear*. I slept with my head under the sheets for months after that. I can not even imagine what I would do if confronted with a 7-incher. I think it would involve whimpering.

  48. procrastinatrix

    Ow! I just hurt myself trying not to laugh out loud at work while reading this.

    My sinuses may never recover. Very funny stuff.

    Has the boot been recovered? Will it ever be the same? Waiting in suspense…

  49. pheenobarbidoll

    Into your ear??? That would have been the end for me. That’s a direct line to the brain, that is.

  50. Kelly

    Ack. That immediately reminded me of the “Caterpillar” episode of Night Gallery that haunted my childhood.

  51. blondie

    When did you turn into Wile E. Coyote? /affectionate teasing tone.
    I truly enjoy your exquisitely-rendered depictions of the hijinks undertaken by you and yours.

  52. octopod

    “A ticking time-bomb, if an arthropod may be said to tick, which (though an arthropod may be a tick) it probably can’t.”

    Ha. Psmith, no kidding.

  53. Finisterre

    God, I love ya, Twisty! I’ve just read three of your most recent posts in quick succession and therefore plead drunkenness on your joyous prose.

    Also, this centipede one was funny as fuck. I proper chortled, I did.

  54. Redhead

    OMG! What with all the interesting links to earlier posts involving Bacon, B.M.’s, Brit-Suffrage power, etc. it’s taken 2 days to reach the terrifying tale of derring do that is Twisty Power! I’m having great difficulty retaining my seat and my equilibrium-being at work is so limiting! LOL literally…I can’t bear to have them crunch either. Frannie is turning out to be rather a treasure, isn’t she?
    Thanks for sharing!

  55. Natalia

    You are a fine, fine writer, Twisty.

  56. slythwolf

    I found the centipede anecdote so utterly compelling that, I confess, at one point I exclaimed aloud, “No! Don’t step on it! You’ll only make it mad!”

  57. Pinko Punko

    I suspect that the amount of bugs in the average lifetime of Wheaties or similar runs to the dozens of pounds.

  58. larkspur

    Barn Owl: mock not the Marin trustafarians, for they pay me money so I can buy bread and (occasionally) roses. Also: we have tons of poison oak. Tons. Bertie and Fran, if they came here for a visit, would totally zero in on the worst of the poison oak, and inevitably, generously, share it with their hominid companions. It’s not nearly so dramatic as killer monster centipedes, but ow ow ow.

    Also, when I was a wee girl growing up in Teh Heartland (they call it that because if you step out of line, they will rip your still-beating heart out of your wretched carcass*), some mean girls at school told us younger girls about an unfortunate young woman who didn’t comb out her beehive hairdo, allowing the spiders to nest and have spiderlings in her hair, and those spiderlings crawled into her ear while she slept and ate her brains by morning. To this day I check my pillows carefully, and I feel nekkid if I don’t arrange my very clean hair over my ears before I sleep.

    Also too: I believe that Australia is even scarier than Texas, but I do not know for sure.

    *Oh, I am kidding. Heartland = wholesome goodness. Me = depravity.

  59. Jodie

    Oh wow! I had forgotten how much centipedes creep me out until I read this post — once, at Girl Scout camp, when I was 10 or so, one of those huge things zipped into the communal shower (amazing how fast they can move) — you cannot begin to imagine the chaos!

  60. jezebella

    Maybe the spider swallowing thing is a myth, but my coworker had a giant roach removed from her ear at the E.R. last year. I am still tempted to tape my ears shut when I think about it.

  61. Gertrude Strine

    Very very enjoyable article. This kind of anecdote I could stand much more of. Big laugh.
    That pup’s a keeper, ay. Good girl, good girl.
    Incoming anecdote warning:
    Our kelpie, as untrue to type as a watch-lab, bloody well points at house intruders – so the injury count is higher from tripping over a rigid dog than from snake, etc, encounters.
    /anecdote.

    And is the excess panic and uncoordination consquent upon chemo brain?
    Anecdote offered as reason for question:
    I have to ruly ruly concentrate when I’m riding the Kwaka these days, or when speed adrenaline kicks in I can make really stupid moves. The scans say it shouldn’t happen but I blame the glo-orange infusions regardless.
    /anecdote

  62. Level Best

    jezebella, I had both an ER doctor and an ear-nose-throat doctor regale me with stories of roaches in ears. No kidding, I sleep with ear plugs. It’s worth the peace of mind.

  63. Comrade PhysioProf

    amount of bugs

    Aauugghh!

  64. Uccellina

    Oh, goodness me. I read this once, then read it again, this time aloud to my husband, while the kids slept in the next room. We both laughed until we cried and woke up one of the babies with our badly suppressed hooting. Thank you. And please, please write a book someday soon. “Savage Death Island: Tales from a Heartwarming Nature Crappist,” maybe.

  65. Vera

    I didn’t want it popping out later, in the dank subumbra of night, to challenge one of the dogs to a death match, or — the thought paralyzes me even now — to crawl into my bed and up my nose into my brain, winding itself around my obstreperal cortex and turning me into a centipede-woman!

    But colonization of the human brain by alien insectoids may very well be our only way out of patriarchy. The aliens arrive, infest our brains with their sentient larvae, and immediately detect the presence of the noxious patriarchal thoughtform that has nearly caused humankind to self-destruct. The aliens dissolve away the parasitical patriarchal meme, and paradise ensues. It’s a small price to pay, really.

  66. Barbara P

    Comrade PhysioProf,

    “Amount of bugs” is correct if the bugs are squished under boots and then scraped up and scooped into containers.

  67. Kelly

    For you Vera.

    http://www.livescience.com/technology/060210_technovelgy.html

  68. Vera

    Thanks, Kelly. That’s creepy and fascinating–my favorite!

  69. Comrade PhysioProf

    “Amount of bugs” is correct if the bugs are squished under boots and then scraped up and scooped into containers.

    That would be “amount of bug coulis”.

  70. phio gistic

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fungus-makes-zombie-ants

    “The Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungus infects Camponotus leonardi ants that live in tropical rainforest trees. Once infected, the spore-possessed ant will climb down from its normal habitat and bite down, with what the authors call a “death grip” on a leaf and then die.”

  71. Jill

    I need to get some of that O. unilateralis for the ants in my kitchen.

  72. Longboat

    Six weeks ago I was bitten by a large centipede in my own bed, in the dark. Did you know the venom they inject involves neurotoxins that give you a sense of unease all day afterwards? True facts! I don’t think mine was seven inches though. More like four. But then, I didn’t see it – it was dark. I only felt the slicing pain of its venomous hooks. I would now have no qualms about crushing a living thing, if the living thing were a centipede.

  73. beethovenqueen

    Unfortunately I have no time to read anything but necessary evils today, but had to comment on your GREAT foto!

    really powerful.

    If you would like to sell the rights to it you might consider sending it to Getty Images. It’s a great photograph.

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