This weekend our neighbors spotted this in a massive web between two trees outside our house.
On Monday morning I asked Mupwa, the gardener, to identify him. He was truly amazed.
So much so that he snatched him from his web and let him crawl up his arm.
Mamicho, with Annaïs on her back, recoiled in horror and ran back inside. I should mention that in an unprecedented move she smacked Ani’s head on the door on her way in. Ani thought about it for a few seconds then decided to cry. After which Mamicho basically said the French version of, “Sorry bébé, it was an emergency.”
So Mupwa and I decided that since the spider had constructed such a beautiful web we should keep him. The web was a perfect first defense for catching les moustiques (mosquitoes) and les mouches (flies) before coming in our house. Then I asked if the spider was poisonous. Maybe this should have been my first question. Mupwa said he was just a little bit venimeux, only enough to kill small things. Hmm, small things? “Comme les enfants”, I asked? “Non!” Mupwa, laughed. But Mamicho had already heard the word venimeux so insisted he be killed.
After a bit of Congolese mediation, we decided that the web should stay and the spider could live, but be relocated dans la forêt. Everyone wins. Then I’m pretty sure the spider happily rode on Mupwa’s shoulder to his new home.
This reminded me of another Mupwa tale. A few weeks ago we killed a snake in front of house. (In that same damn tree, now that I think of it!) And I stupidly saved it in a plastic container for Mupwa to identify. Well, it took a few days for Mupwa to pass by. Meanwhile the snake did, as dead snakes do, and started to rot. By the time Mupwa declared him non venimeux, it was not a pretty sight. I asked Mupwa a final favor to throw away the container and the smelly snake. I watched him walk down to the trash barrels, dump out the snake and then keep the container. I said, “Mupwa there was a rotting snake in there, why are you keeping that!?” He just smiled and said, “Yes, but it was only a little rotting snake.”