A Fun Little Nature-Themed Happening. AKA: Too Much Anthropomorphising

MercuryCrest

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#1
So, there was a rather large katydid in my apartment building. I kept having the feeling that I should move it so it wouldn't get squished for being a large insect invading our homes by people who didn't know any better.

Eventually, I attempted to catch it and it landed on the second story balcony door. I opened the door and ushered it out. It flew away majestically, as one would expect.

Now, I should point out here that katydids are one of my favorite insects and they have a cousin, the leafhopper. As a child I spent many days among the grass playing with leafhoppers and twice I actually saw what is known as a "candy-striped" leafhopper. Considering the abundance of regular ones, I always thought of these as extremely rare.

One day after releasing the katydid, I was poking around in the Makerspace "garden" and lo-and-behold, my third candy-striped leafhopper put in an appearance.

I'd like to think that Nature was rewarding me for letting the katydid out, but my rational mind says, "No, you idiot, it's coincidence".

Well, I'm quite content to consider it a reward, thank you.
 

escargot

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#2
Good on you for looking after insects!

I do that too. We were recently rushing around on a train station with our bikes , changing platforms in a hurry, when I spotted a butterfly on the ground. I stopped, propped up the bike, carefully scooped up the butterfly and went back along the platform to a flower bed where I'd seen some tasty-looking roses.

Ms Butterfly was placed carefully on a bloom and I carried on finding our train. It was a black or very dark butterfly on a white rose, which would've made a stunning photo but Techy wouldn't have stood around for that!
 

Ghost In The Machine

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#3
Good on you for looking after insects!

I do that too. We were recently rushing around on a train station with our bikes , changing platforms in a hurry, when I spotted a butterfly on the ground. I stopped, propped up the bike, carefully scooped up the butterfly and went back along the platform to a flower bed where I'd seen some tasty-looking roses.

Ms Butterfly was placed carefully on a bloom and I carried on finding our train. It was a black or very dark butterfly on a white rose, which would've made a stunning photo but Techy wouldn't have stood around for that!
Thread about stone circles reminded me of the day about 15 years ago, we walked to a remote one in Cornwall - took forever and was quite hard to find, along a long track. My kids were getting bored, it was such a long way. I saw a butterfly and, total BS, told them I could "charm" it and make it sit on my hand. Stretched out my hand and sure enough, it hopped onboard, obligingly! Kids were so impressed, and forgot to whinge about the long walk....

I can't bring myself to kill spiders, ever, because I really like them - and so they build up webs in our house until my second-born comes home from uni. He doesn't kill them either but is tall enough to reach the webs and re-homes them in the shed or garden, if it's summer. His housemates love it that he has no spider fear. I'd be scared of spiders if I lived in Aus but don't get the point of being scared here. :spider:
 

Spudrick68

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#4
I lift up snails that are in the middle of a path and put them on the grass after the rain and it is getting dry and sunny. Reminded me of a mate of mine. We both worked with people with learning difficulties. He had taken some clients into town. Stopping for a second, he was fascinated to see a butterfly on the wall, he hadn't seen one like it ever. 'Thwack', a clients shovel like hand squashed it. He was really really angry about it, but wasn't in a position to remonstrate with said person.
 

birdy

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#5
Thread about stone circles reminded me of the day about 15 years ago, we walked to a remote one in Cornwall - took forever and was quite hard to find, along a long track. My kids were getting bored, it was such a long way. I saw a butterfly and, total BS, told them I could "charm" it and make it sit on my hand. Stretched out my hand and sure enough, it hopped onboard, obligingly! Kids were so impressed, and forgot to whinge about the long walk....

I can't bring myself to kill spiders, ever, because I really like them - and so they build up webs in our house until my second-born comes home from uni. He doesn't kill them either but is tall enough to reach the webs and re-homes them in the shed or garden, if it's summer. His housemates love it that he has no spider fear. I'd be scared of spiders if I lived in Aus but don't get the point of being scared here. :spider:
It's not the fear of being bitten by a spider, it's the fear of the spider itself. The shape and movements of a spider disgust me, it doesn't even have to be a real spider - a picture can set me off. If I accidentally touch a spider photo in my facebook feed I'm likely to hurl my phone and end up itching all over. I'm a genuine animal lover so it's something I struggle with, I've even kept insects as pets so it's not a fear of bugs in general.

I cannot rationalise it, I wish it wasn't the case because it makes life difficult. I just know that my fear rises to such levels that I'm afraid I'll faint and if I faint I'm prostrate with a spider near me, which is worse.

For the record, I don't kill them - I can't bear to go anywhere near them or touch anything that touches it, I can't even bear to be near the person who disposes of the spider for me in case it's on them.

Ridiculous.
 

Ghost In The Machine

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#6
It's not the fear of being bitten by a spider, it's the fear of the spider itself. The shape and movements of a spider disgust me, it doesn't even have to be a real spider - a picture can set me off. If I accidentally touch a spider photo in my facebook feed I'm likely to hurl my phone and end up itching all over. I'm a genuine animal lover so it's something I struggle with, I've even kept insects as pets so it's not a fear of bugs in general.

I cannot rationalise it, I wish it wasn't the case because it makes life difficult. I just know that my fear rises to such levels that I'm afraid I'll faint and if I faint I'm prostrate with a spider near me, which is worse.

For the record, I don't kill them - I can't bear to go anywhere near them or touch anything that touches it, I can't even bear to be near the person who disposes of the spider for me in case it's on them.

Ridiculous.
But they're cute.
 

Spudrick68

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#7
I have tried to analyse my phobia. Some of it down to how the body is suspended from its legs. The subsequent movement repulses me and I find it creepy. I'm nothing like as bad as I used to be. Strangely enough, a black field spider would be scarier to me than a tarantula (if the tarantula is behind glass of course).
 

Ghost In The Machine

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#8
I have tried to analyse my phobia. Some of it down to how the body is suspended from its legs. The subsequent movement repulses me and I find it creepy. I'm nothing like as bad as I used to be. Strangely enough, a black field spider would be scarier to me than a tarantula (if the tarantula is behind glass of course).
Yes, I think Peter Jackson had to analyse his spider fear when they were designing Shelob and he narrowed it down to the way it moves. (Now "Something In The Way She Moves" will be my ear-worm all day. Or should that be ear spider?) Tolkien had a lifelong fear of spiders, as he was bitten by a dodgy one, as a baby in South Africa.
 

birdy

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#10
I have tried to analyse my phobia. Some of it down to how the body is suspended from its legs. The subsequent movement repulses me and I find it creepy. I'm nothing like as bad as I used to be. Strangely enough, a black field spider would be scarier to me than a tarantula (if the tarantula is behind glass of course).
I can recall the first time a spider terrified me, a big brown/black shed-dwelling one suddenly darted up my arm when I was small and fetching my little garden chair. Another time I was sitting on the floor doing some homework and a house spider came at me at full pelt across the carpet and I stumbled as I tried to flee.

There is photographic evidence of me holding a tarantula but there's no way in hell I'd ever put anything else with too many legs in my hands. There is also something repulsive about the eyes, I have trypophobia (fear of holes) and the eyes set that off too.
 

escargot

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#11
I saw a butterfly and, total BS, told them I could "charm" it and make it sit on my hand. Stretched out my hand and sure enough, it hopped onboard, obligingly! Kids were so impressed, and forgot to whinge about the long walk....
Years ago we visited a country park (Marbury in Cheshire, which is locally believed to be STUFFED with ghosts) and a dragonfly landed on my hand. The kids and I watched it for a bit and then it flew off, circled us and landed again. Did this a few times before getting bored with us and doing one. A beautiful thing to see.
 

Ulalume

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#13
As a child I spent many days among the grass playing with leafhoppers and twice I actually saw what is known as a "candy-striped" leafhopper. Considering the abundance of regular ones, I always thought of these as extremely rare.
Sightings may very well be rare, I can only recall seeing one in my entire life. It's a vague, distant memory, being in my grandmother's garden and my sister making a fuss because of this strange colored insect. I think you were lucky to see it. :)

@birdy Re: phobias, I have a terrible fear of walking sticks (stick insects). When I was kid we had loads of them around here, nasty foot-long things. When I was about 2, I was sitting on the patio and several came advancing toward me. I freaked out and never got over it. :oops:

(I have to specify stick insect, because when I told my British friend that I was afraid of walking sticks, he said 'What, it's just a stick with a knob on the end." When I explained I meant stick insect, he said "Oh, yeah, F --- those!":D)
 

catseye

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#14
I think, with spiders, a lot of the fear is in the movement. I don't mind them if they stay still (and a long way away from me) but it's that unpredictable scuttling movement with the body sort of 'following' the legs that I hate. I don't mind other 'scuttlers' like rats and mice (although the time a mouse ran up my trouser leg like a sub Tom and Jerry cartoon moment very nearly put me off them for life).
 

Mythopoeika

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#15
Sightings may very well be rare, I can only recall seeing one in my entire life. It's a vague, distant memory, being in my grandmother's garden and my sister making a fuss because of this strange colored insect. I think you were lucky to see it. :)

@birdy Re: phobias, I have a terrible fear of walking sticks (stick insects). When I was kid we had loads of them around here, nasty foot-long things. When I was about 2, I was sitting on the patio and several came advancing toward me. I freaked out and never got over it. :oops:

(I have to specify stick insect, because when I told my British friend that I was afraid of walking sticks, he said 'What, it's just a stick with a knob on the end." When I explained I meant stick insect, he said "Oh, yeah, F --- those!":D)
My sister had a load of those as pets when we were kids. They got pretty big, so we eventually gave them away.
 

JamesWhitehead

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#16
My sister had a load of those as pets when we were kids. They got pretty big, so we eventually gave them away.
My niece kept them for a while and then got bored. She casually announced that two of them had gone missing; I was not keen on encountering them outside their tank. The mystery of their whereabouts was solved the next week when the surviving alpha-stick had turned into a double-ender, half her erstwhile companion lodged in her jaw . . . :violin:
 

Cherrybomb

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#17
I also think that the fact that spiders have 48 knees is also utterly un-earthlike for me personally. That and the body suspended from the legs makes its movement awful for me to see.
I know your pain! I find spiders to be so far from anything human that I can't cope with them. I have got better with my phobia over the past few years but i would still puke/faint/spontaneously combust if i was in close contact with a house spider.

I like flying insects but ground based bugs tend to unnerve me. That said, I do make sure they have lots of places to live in our garden.
 

RyoHazuki

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#19
I concur with the spider-fear observations. I'm totally fine with all of them, except the large house and garden varieties, and as mentioned above, it's all to do with their leg movement. I can just about manage to catch them (in a glass, obviously) but if I force myself to look at them closely, I get short of breath and start feeling literal terror in the pit of my stomach.
Crane-flies evoke much the same reaction from me, purely because of the stupid, horrible way their legs dangle beneath them when they fly aimlessly around the room. They are actually the only creatures that I have no qualms about killing violently - literally any other insect or arthropod will be carefully extracted and released outside, but craneflies will be splattered with no compunction. Thoroughly vile.
Weirdly though, I'm absolutely fine with cellar spiders. It might be because they're so lethargic moving around, but I have seen them wrapping flies with unearthly speed and dexterity, and I'm still indifferent to them. :dunno:
 

Scribbles

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#20
I've been noticing with wonder how my spider phobia has almost gone. I used to be a screamer, but I don't have any visceral reaction to them at all these days. I still couldn't pick one up, but I quite like them now and feel sick that I ever used to wash them down the plughole to get rid of them when they got trapped in the bath. Now I leave a towel over the edge so they can climb out. I wonder what happened for me to get over my fear?
 

escargot

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#22
I've been noticing with wonder how my spider phobia has almost gone. I used to be a screamer, but I don't have any visceral reaction to them at all these days. I still couldn't pick one up, but I quite like them now and feel sick that I ever used to wash them down the plughole to get rid of them when they got trapped in the bath. Now I leave a towel over the edge so they can climb out. I wonder what happened for me to get over my fear?
It may be an age-thing. Also, perhaps accepting a fear as part of who you are takes the sting out of it.

I used to have a fear of something which made me freeze with terror. In my early 20s I decided that I'd have to live with it because a. it wasn't dangerous in itself, it was the association with trauma that scared me, b. I was a big girl now with a child of my own and c. the fear was MY fear so I'd have to like it or lump it.

After that it didn't bother me quite so much. I'm still not keen on the thing but wouldn't chuck up or stand there gawking and boggle-eyed.
 

catseye

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#23
Does anyone remember the Shadows in Babylon 5? Their ships looked like giant spiders. I'm sure it was to implant the suggestion that spiders are alien beings (nothing that evolved on Earth could be quite that horrible?)

So what is it about spiders? I know some can be dangerous, but very very few, what possible evolutionary reason could there be for such a horror of the things? And, on a related note, why are some people terrified (rationally) of very dangerous things, like snakes, when others (like me) have no fear of them at all? Theories?
 

Scribbles

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#25
It may be an age-thing. Also, perhaps accepting a fear as part of who you are takes the sting out of it.

I used to have a fear of something which made me freeze with terror. In my early 20s I decided that I'd have to live with it because a. it wasn't dangerous in itself, it was the association with trauma that scared me, b. I was a big girl now with a child of my own and c. the fear was MY fear so I'd have to like it or lump it.

After that it didn't bother me quite so much. I'm still not keen on the thing but wouldn't chuck up or stand there gawking and boggle-eyed.
Escargot, your reply made me remember all the things I used to say to my kids about spiders and flies and so on when I first adopted them. They were TERRIFIED of creepy crawlies of any form (not unusual for adopted children, who are chock full of phobias), and getting them outside during the summer months was virtually impossible because at least one of them would have a meltdown within minutes after spotting an ant or something. I'm thinking now how I was always calmly saying they can't hurt you, and they're not going anywhere so you'll just have to find a way to live with them like the rest of us.

So I guess that's my answer as to why I'm no longer scared of spiders! Had to set a good example for the kids. Seems obvious now but I had forgotten how it was.
 

escargot

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#26
Escargot, your reply made me remember all the things I used to say to my kids about spiders and flies and so on when I first adopted them. They were TERRIFIED of creepy crawlies of any form (not unusual for adopted children, who are chock full of phobias), and getting them outside during the summer months was virtually impossible because at least one of them would have a meltdown within minutes after spotting an ant or something. I'm thinking now how I was always calmly saying they can't hurt you, and they're not going anywhere so you'll just have to find a way to live with them like the rest of us.

So I guess that's my answer as to why I'm no longer scared of spiders! Had to set a good example for the kids. Seems obvious now but I had forgotten how it was.
Yup, we rationalised the fears and they melted away, no match for our mighty intellects!

This approach works for a lot of things. You can take it too far though.

The Babel Fish, from The Hitchhiker's Guide of the Galaxy
written by Douglas Adams


The Babel fish is small, yellow, leechlike, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it.

It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centers of the brain which has supplied them.

The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.

Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the NON-existence of God.
The argument goes like this:

`I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, `for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'
`But,' says Man, `The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED.'
`Oh dear,' says God, `I hadn't thought of that,' and promptly disappears in a puff of logic.

`Oh, that was easy,' says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.
Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo's kidneys, but that didn't stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme of his best-selling book, "Well, That about Wraps It Up for God."

Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.

You sound like an awesome parent.
 

ravensocks

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#27
I lift up snails that are in the middle of a path and put them on the grass after the rain and it is getting dry and sunny.
I used to do that all the time, but then, one day, it suddenly dawned on me that they may have been on a mission somewhere. There they are, galloping away at snail speed, when I come gallumping over, pick them up and put them back where they started. The frustration... I do occasionally still move slugs, snails and worms if they look in danger of being squished.
 

Min Bannister

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#28
Re spiders. It is really just the offensively large ones that come in your house that I can't stand. I am not sure it is the movement so much as the speed (way too fast) and the direction (onto me or worse, into my clothing). I would avoid killing them though and put them outside or get my husband to do it. But do they reward me by staying the hell away? Ha, fat chance.

Yesterday one of the eight legged freaks crawled over the cage cloth and into my budgie cage as I was removing it. It buggered off before my husband could be dispatched to deal with it. Anyway, this morning as I was folding the cloth, the git rushes out and makes for my sleeve. I threw the cloth on the ground and managed to trap the devils invertibrate under a pint glass. I feel sure the bastard had designs on my sweet birds. The other name for tarantula is bird-eating-spider after all and a spider is a spider right? It is going outside now but if I ever catch it or any of its friends anyway near my budgies again it is dead. DEAD. :chain::reap::tank:
 

PeteS

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#29
Ah - snakes and spiders. I can only imagine the fear of them has had some evolutionary aspect. (Where in fact would today's house spiders have lived prior to humans living in dwellings?) Personally I love 'em and this has passed on to my sons who had a tarantula and a snake as pets for years. On the other hand Ms PeteS hates spiders (but not snakes) and this fear has passed to her daughter and grand daughter. In the latter case she looks round the cornices of rooms before entering.
I too rescue snails and similar if they are in any danger.
 
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