Creepy crawlers of all sorts have been in the news this week, starting with the emergence of crowds of enormous eastern tarantulas. Known as “birdeating spiders” despite the fact that they don’t typically dine on avians, the huge arachnids have become troublingly prevalent in the small Australian town of Bowen. Today saw officials attempting to put a happy face on the matter after an initial media freakout at the notion of a city overrun by giant tarantulas effectively shut down tourism in the town. Apparently, the thought of hairy spiders as big as your head that can sicken humans and kill dogs with their venomous bite is bad for business. Local pest controller Audy Geiszler, for one, is doing his part to quell rumors of a ful blown spider invasion by concentrating on the good news – for example, says Geiszler, the town has seen “no cases of them eating children or anything like that.” Which is good news, I guess. But someone should tell Mr. Geiszler that the next time he’s trying to calm a worried public, he might want to pause before he plays the ‘No Children Have Yet Been Consumed By Enormous Spiders’ card.
Meanwhile, farmers in China’s Xinjiang province are under siege by legions of unidentified worms. The thorny, green, inch long beasties, are going through grassland like a giant organic lawnmower, turning pasture into brown soil acres at a time. Found in densities of up to 3,000 creatures per meter of soil, the creatures have descended on the village in such numbers that 50 families have had to flee their homes, which were also overrun.