- Your Voice
My kids go back to school next week. And yes, I do realize that the calendar shows it is but mid-July. I am always reminded how unusual our school start date is when I proudly post back-to-school pictures on my Facebook news feed only to be replied to with comments that perhaps not-so-subtly question my sanity. I would dispute that it is not my sanity that is in question, but that of the school district’s powers that be.
There are plenty of things I don’t like about being a desert dweller. Namely: rattlesnakes, scorpions, lizards, and spiders (especially the hairy beast of a tarantula I had to sweep off my front porch last week). While those creepy, crawly, slithery critters keep me constantly on my toes, there are other parts of life in Southern Arizona that leave me happy as can be. Believe it or not, I love the heat. No really, I do. I know that our Tucson temperatures are a little on the extreme side, but overall, the climbing mercury warms my heart. Both literally and figuratively. I’m sure that sounds delusional to someone from, oh, say Michigan. Truly, though, the soaring temperatures of the summer months sit well with me.
Attendees of the American Tarantula Society annual convention can view a multitude of the eight-legged wonders, such as the Mexican red knee tarantula, which is popular as a pet.
Tony Boxer, from California, looks over stacks of containers with spiders and other arachnids at last year’s American Tarantula Society annual convention. The convention draws the attention of spider enthusiasts from across the world. This year, the 13th Annual Conference of the American Tarantula Society will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 21-24 at the Hilton El Conquistador Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Road. Attendees can view a multitude of the eight-legged wonders, such as the Mexican red knee tarantula, which is popular as a pet. Admission is $70 for adults, $30 for teens, and free for kids under 12 with an adult who is registered for the full conference. In addition, admittance is free to the Spider Mall on Saturday, July 23. For details, call 780-986-7680 or visit www.atshq.org.
For 20 years and three months, Jo Ann Spencer has taken care of her twin sons, Spencer and Benjamin Smith, feeding them, bathing them, changing their clothes and bedding, nurturing their minds and spirits, loving them, with never a question of her devotion, nor a complaint about her circumstance.
The American Tarantula Society annual conference wrapped up Sunday, July 25 at the Hilton El Conquistador in Oro Valley.
Anette Pillau, from the Los Angeles area, and Alex Zuniga, from Tucson, help to corral roaches participating in a cockroach race during the American Tarantula Society's annual convention. The owner of the winning cockroach received a voucher for merchandise for sale at the convention, along with a medal, trophy and a used copy of the DVD, "Joe's Apartment."
A 1-year-old tarantula sits on a finger as a mature Mexican red knee tarantula lurks in the background.
Tony Boxer, from California, looks over stacks of containers with spiders and other arachnids at the American Tarantula Society's annual convention held at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador last weekend. The convention draws the attention of spider enthusiasts from across the world.
Araneae, commonly known as spiders, evoke terror and revulsion among many people. Fear of spiders — yes, arachnophobia — lists as one of the most common phobias among humans.
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Near the front entryway of Bill Savary's home sits a 2-year-old fiery red birdeater. When fully grown, this tarantula's leg span will be 7 to 8 inches.
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, A Vietnamese centipede, measuring about 6 inches, devours a cricket.
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Bill Savary shows off some of his tarantulas and other creatures in his collection in his southeast side home. Along with spiders, Savary also owns and cares for centipedes and snakes.