September 8, 2003
I took a wander into the woods, looking for a way to get to a beautiful deserted beach which I had seen from the road, and I suddenly found myself face to face with the largest, fattest spider I have ever seen outside a zoo. It had slung its web right across the path, and it was sitting right in the middle, at about face-height. I turned round and went back to the road very quickly and continued cycling round the island. I’d got right round to the north side, when on a straight stretch of road I spotted another huge spider, on the side of a small palm tree. This time I was out in the open, so I stopped, got off my bike and went and peered at the spider. It had long, shiny black legs that tapered to a point at each foot, and its body was strangely box-shaped, and alarmingly large. It was mostly grey-black, but flecked with yellow. It had big jaws.
So having seen these spiders, I was obviously curious about what they were, and – more importantly – the extent to which they would kill me if I accidentally put my hand on one. Or one fell off a tree and landed on the back of my neck. Or something. So I’ve asked some people about them and so far the votes are: 1 for ‘very dangerous’, 2 for ‘oh, they’re fine – don’t worry about them’, and 1 for ‘well, it could bite you, but it would just hurt a bit’. They were probably ‘Joro Spiders’, which is じょろうぐも in Japanese. At any rate, they looked a bit like this.