EPISODE 9 | AMAZONIA. WHERE THE LEGEND BEGINS
Tarantula: if you don't squeeze it, it does not bite
Can I go to the toilet? A smile leads me to a green angle equal to all the other corners where, if you remain still, you will be perfectly camouflaged: the forest. The vegetation in a few minutes will grow on you, but what you do not expect "going to the bathroom" is to find a tarantula as big as an apricot, behold, I missed this, an immobile and hairy tarantula attached to a leaf, few centimeters from my legs, patiently waiting for the unfortunate on the clock... I? No, I'm too big to be eaten, tarantulas eat: fruit, little flies, crickets, small frogs, lizards, or mice.
"Can you come please?" - I scream - "I say to you, Mr. Witoto". My guide is a native of Witoto ethnicity. He brought us in this place infested with spiders! It's his fault.
He comes slowly and with his usual phlegm invites me to do it climb up. "If you don't squeeze it, it does not bite" - says the guide, adding: "look" and he stretches his hand to do slip it over, but the word slip is not suitable, it is more appropriate the verb "to climb".
I didn't need courage, only faith and unconsciousness.
After another invitation I don't resist and reach out the hand, the tarantula moves a little as I continue to get closer. I surrend, resting my hand a centimeter away from the animal and then make slip the hand forward to meet the spider. The spider in front of this explicit invitation climbs quickly on my arm while I close my eyes, in a suggestion that knows pain, keep calm and begin to recite softly this litany: if you don't squeeze it, it does not bite, if you don't squeeze it, it does not bite, if you don't squeeze it, it does not bite, then silence... If you don't squeeze it, it does not bite, if you don't squeeze it, it does not bite, it does not bite, it does not bite.
Leticia, Columbia 2015
Photo 1: Tarantula.
Photos 2, 3 and header: Indigenous people Witoto.