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Desert camping seems like a fun and carefree idea, until you consider the local wildlife.

On Tuesday afternoon, after one of our rest stops, I spotted a massive spider nestling on the back of Jared’s rear pannier. It was about the size of an open fist, legs included, and a bright mix of white and yellow. Definitely not mentioned in the Lonely Planet.

We didn’t want to kill a rare creature, so we found a long twig to shoo it away with. Rather than scurrying away, as you might expect from a regular household spider, the little bugger raised up its front legs and attacked the stick aggressively.


We spent the next 5 minutes trying to get rid of it, during which time it first attempted to hide in my bags, then latched itself to Jared’s tire. Of course, no one wanted to get too close to a potentially poisonous pair of fangs, so it was a delicate procedure. On the basis of our efforts, I don’t think any of us would have been great contestants on the insect round of Fear Factor.

Anyhow, lesson learned. Everyone vowed to check their bags carefully, and we decided to keep all shoes inside our tents, just to avoid any nasty surprises when putting them on in the mornings.

That evening, a shrill shriek from Katie announced the presence of another spider on Jared’s tent ( That’s 2 in a row. He seems to attract them, much as the bee swarms seem unduly interested in me).

This time, as it was in our camp and might return later, I took no chances. Spiders don’t understand the concept of ASBOs or restraining orders, a more direct approach was needed. A size ten bike shoe soon made short work of the angry little arachnid.

To satisfy my curiosity, and make sure I haven’t splattered one of the last of an endangered species, I’ve just checked out the spider on Wikipedia
Not poisonous, but capable of a nasty bite.

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