AAAH! What is that!? What the hell is that thing!? Why does it look like that? Why does it exist? Why is it looking at me? Why?
Ok. Ok. It’s Ok. That’s how I reacted the first time I saw one of those. And every time since, a little part of me does the same.
That little crawling nightmare is called an amblypygid. It’s also called a Tailless Whipscorpion, but this is kind of a mouthful. There’s also Harlequin Spider, but this conjures up an image of something jovial and colorful, which it most certainly is not. Some people call them Scorpion-Spiders, but this is misleading since they are neither. They are arachnids, however, and are 110% complete skin-crawling, bowel-loosening, arachnoid horror.
Look at that thing. You couldn’t design a more terrifying creature if you tried. It’s like someone combined the worst parts of a spider, a crab, and cockroach. The mouthparts are a pair of spiked arms that grab and hold prey. They can scuttle very rapidly on six long legs, and tend to dart away unexpectedly when you shine a light on them. They wave their two front legs around like antennae, brushing the dry wisps along surfaces and through the air. They are flat, and tend to be found in wood piles and in human dwellings. This is what haunts HP Lovecraft’s dreams. This is what HR Geiger thinks lives under his bed.
They’re also completely harmless, and are in fact very useful to have around your house. They tend to eat roaches and other more annoying bugs. They don’t make webs, and usually avoid humans. I’ve held a couple in my hands, and had them crawl over people with no—
AAH! Kill it! Kill it, burn it, and bury the remains! It’s unholy, I tell you–Sorry, sorry, we’re good. We’re good. It’s just that this thing is gratuitously repulsive. Stephen King will feature these in his next book. This was a rejected extra from a Guillermo del Toro movie.
But I hear they make good pets. And we can’t judge animals based on misplaced phobias. It’s just that I first ran into these things in a cramped cave where I couldn’t get a comfortable distance between myself and little horrorlegs here. I’ve also had them crawl over me in bed, and found them all nice and nestled into clothes I’d left on the floor.
They’re harmless. They’re beneficial. They have a right to live, too. I try to keep that in mind. Now I’m going to get some cocoa and sleep with the light on tonight.