A Mundane Tale of Scorpions and Spiders and Armadillos

I live on a ranch in Texas and so am confronted with more than my fair share of critters getting into the house. Luckily, I’m not the skittish type (except when it comes to rodents, and it’s still early in the year to be seeing them in the house, yet) but my nerves are starting to get a little raw.

One night in August, I was snugly in bed when I woke up a little because something was making my forehead itch. Thinking it was just my hair, I reached up to push it back. Well, it wasn’t my hair…it was a scorpion! On my face! While I was sleeping! That got stuck in my hair when I pushed him! I was trying to get him unstuck when he stung me, of course, and my hand hurt and itched for the next three days.

A week later, another scorpion crawled up the back of my shirt and when I tried to free him, he stung my hand, too.

Last week alone, I squished six verrry pregnant spiders in my kitchen sending hundreds of spidelets all over the place. (When I was bent over cleaning up after the last one, I felt something drop down the back of my shorts. Turns out it was just a piece of laundry lint, but I had to drop my drawers and dance a jig in my kitchen to find that out.)

Later in the evening, I stepped outside and ran smack into an armadillo by the back door. In the near-darkness, it looked like a gigantic rat and I screeeeemed and jumped about 5 feet. The armadillo turned and scuttled away. They’re pretty fast when the want to be.

If you have any critter horror stories, please post them here. Let me know I don’t have it so bad after all.

Man, have I ever got a critter horror story for you!

Once, I was reading my favorite message board, and this guy posted about brushing his forehead while sleeping in his bed, and you know what was making his forehead itch?? A SCORPION!! :eek: It stung his hand!!

And then another scorpion dropped down the back of his shirt not too long after and stung his hand again!!

But that’s not the worst – not too long after THAT, he squished SIX pregnant spiders in his kitchen and there were itsy spiders scuttling EVERYWHERE!!! :eek::eek:

Damn, I get the shivers every time I think about that.

That’s about the worst critter horror story I can think of.

“Hello, U-Haul? How much for everything in my house to go somewhere really cold?”

You know scorpions glow under a blacklight don’t you? Little handheld LED versions are available to held you secure your perimeter

There are armadillos in the basement of Dracula’s castle in the Lugosi version.
Opossums too, for that matter, but you didn’t say anything about Opossums.

One night I was reading in bed, and when I finished my chapter, I put my book down so I could get up to turn off the light. I pulled back the covers to get out of bed, and there was a spider in bed beside me. I shrieked and dispatched the critter as quickly as possible.

Later, when I wrote about it in an online journal, I got a lot of teasing for being such a tough bed partner.

Are armadillos mean and/or aggressive and/or scary? I always thought they were very cool looking.

I can, however, do without the spiders and scorpions.

I opened the door to my laundry room to find a big fat raccoon staring me in the face. Scared the living crap out of me.

No, but they aren’t very bright. Their idea of a good defense against a Mack truck is to curl up into a ball. :slight_smile:

Think: Black Flag™.

Does Black Flag make armadillo spray?

For most of my childhood I was unafraid of spiders. I reckoned them to be among things like bees & nettles: leave ‘em alone, they got their own thing they need to be getting on with and they really don’t want to play with you. Go climb an apple tree or something.

And then one chilly winter night I crawled into bed. It was very cold—January or so in Seattle—and the house was old and not insulated. Spiders, mice and goblins roamed freely in the spaces between the walls seeking warmth and good things to eat, and would frequently pop into the upstairs rooms, normally taboo locations for such critters. So I’m lying in my bed, curled up into a ball because I’m freezing, waiting for my blankets to return some of the warmth they’re stealing from me. Shivering a little bit. Goose bumps coming and going. One of my goose bumps begins to itch/tickle a little bit so I reach down to rub it away…oh. Must be a lint ball (voice from deep within my mind screaming “it’s not a lint ball!”) My hand hears and, curious, stops. The lint ball wriggles. The little voice, knowing that it has been heard, issues the egress directive and I launch from my bed into the cold darkness and hit the lights. Snuggling in my bed that evening was a little guy who helped to change my perspective on a few things. He paid the ultimate price for his indiscretion. As I contemplated returning to my almost-warmed up place of retirement I gazed at my covers, only half drawn from the bed. What if he wasn’t alone? Of course he was alone, spiders live alone, they don’t travel in packs. Do they? A few seconds later there was another spider stain on the floor right next to the first. I slept poorly on the couch that evening.

Armadillo’s look harmless, but they’re just lurking around waiting to give you leprosy.

Seriously. http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1306/is-it-true-that-armadillos-carry-leprosy

I never thought scorpions would bother me until I opened up my kitchen cabinet and saw one staring me in the face from a few inches away. I know there are tarantulas here but I haven’t seen one yet. That would really be hell on my backside as I emptied the entire contents of my bowels at once.

They wander around at night, tumping over pots or digging up newly planted stuff with those long, ugly noses and waiting to be hit by cars.

Of course they’re scary! Why else would Dracula keep them around?

(In Tod Browning’s Dracula, the Transylvanian scenes with Bela Lugosi also feature some shots of armadillos scurrying around the castle. I loved that. Apparently back in 1931, people thought armadillos were the most horrifying beasts ever.)

The nine-banded armadillo can’t curl up entirely into a ball to protect itself; it has two basic defense strategies when threatened. One is to freeze and hope that the danger goes away. The other, remarkably, is to leap straight into the air-- their little stumpy legs can actually get them about 3 feet off the ground-- to hopefully startle a predator enough to get a running head start. Neither strategy works very well when the predator in question is an oncoming Buick (a 3-foot leap puts them right about at grille level).

They do have some pretty impressive digging claws, so they can scratch if you try to pick one up carelessly. Their teeth are not really useful for biting defensively though. I don’t think contracting leprosy from them is really a huge risk unless you actually eat them.

Also, armadillo litters are always identical quadruplets. Even their womb is freaky.

Maybe he likes his potted plants tumped over.

Aha! There are no cars in Transalvania!

My theory is that armadillos eat worms, so Dracula keeps them around so he doesn’t get worms crawling into his evening wear when sleeping in his coffin.

I grew up on the outskirts of San Diego. The canyons and mesas were right across the street. We were always chasing down lizards, snakes, and tarantulas for our “collections”. For some reason, we rarely saw any scorpions…

Except for that one time when I got nailed reaching into a burrow–I felt a sharp sting and pulled back my hand. Out came an angry-looking scorpion, and I knew what that sting meant. I freaked out and expected to die, but nothing really happened. Less reaction than a bee sting. Lucky me.

We’ve got Armadillos in our trousers. It’s really quite frightening.


This morning I used a canoe paddle to kill the rattlesnake that was lurking outside the front door of my tool shed.

Last week it was a cotton-mouth in the front yard. Did him in with the .410 pistol.

These last few years, it’s become routine for me to find three or four poisonous snakes right around the house in late September and October. I guess I should have dressed this story up a bit, but I’m not feeling very creative tonight. Blah!

PS: The freakin’ armadillos dig holes at random spots in the pasture, a hazard to horse and rider every day. I do wish those things had stayed out west, where they belong.

I went into the attic looking for something and noticed an old tshirt I liked so I tried it on. Apparently it was the home to a wasp, which proceeded to sting me five times on my back in revenge for being stuck in my shirt. My mom is allergic to stings so instead of helping me she ran into her bedroom and locked the door. I was afraid to take the shirt off because I didn’t want it to sting my face, but I finally got up the courage and the wasp escaped.

After hurricane Gloria I went exploring. I saw what looked to me like a stack of newspapers hit by lightning. It was cool and I picked it up. Apparently it was actually a hornets nest that had been blown to the ground by the wind. :smack:

One Sunday morning, when I was a kid, my sisters and I were upstairs getting out our clothes for church. Mom, who was downstairs putting the pot roast in the oven to cook in our absence, heard a bunch of commotion and immediately tried to shush us from the bottom of the steps, lest we wake our heathen father, who liked to use the seventh day to rest.

When the shushing didn’t do the trick, she came up the stairs to find Dad standing over a dress that my sister had pulled out of the closet, with a badminton raquet in his hand and all four of us girls huddled in a corner.

A bat had decided that the closet was much warmer than the outside and had somehow come in, likely through the attic, and was hanging on the dress when Sis pulled it out.

As poor as we were, the (nearly new) dress was trashed. Nobody wanted to wear something a bat had touched.