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Waymarking can be dangerous!

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Posted (edited)

I spent this past Saturday enjoying an activity I treasure more than any other: Benchmarking. The weather wasn't the greatest but Spring Fever was in the air and I just had to get out of the house and do something. After a few hours of logging a number of benchmark visits I came across a newer benchmark comprised of a metal rod under a hinged cover. I've logged many of this type over the years and never think much of prying open the metal plate with my hands, taking a few pictures of the metal rod inside and covering it up again. But THIS time... I was in for a surprise when I cracked open the cover and almost touched the equivalent of PURE TERROR (in my mind)... my fingers came within an inch of a nice, fat, BLACK WIDOW SPIDER! You'd think after all the geocaches I've found searching in every nook and cranny that wearing gloves should be the NORM. But N-O-O-O-O-O-O..... Visit my benchmark Waymark here for more pictures of this devilish arachnid. I also included a YouTube video of me trying to turn the black widow over onto her back to show off her bright red hourglass belly.

 

So my warning to my fellow Waymarking friends who may be into benchmarking like me: Be careful where you put your hands! :blink:

be5f5883-7f27-4f38-b5bd-5fa7a608b714.jpg

Edited by thebeav69
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Posted (edited)

I spent this past Saturday enjoying an activity I treasure more than any other: Benchmarking. The weather wasn't the greatest but Spring Fever was in the air and I just had to get out of the house and do something. After a few hours of logging a number of benchmark visits I came across a newer benchmark comprised of a metal rod under a hinged cover. I've logged many of this type over the years and never think much of prying open the metal plate with my hands, taking a few pictures of the metal rod inside and covering it up again. But THIS time... I was in for a surprise when I cracked open the cover and almost touched the equivalent of PURE TERROR (in my mind)... my fingers came within an inch of a nice, fat, BLACK WIDOW SPIDER! You'd think after all the geocaches I've found searching in every nook and cranny that wearing gloves should be the NORM. But N-O-O-O-O-O-O..... Visit my benchmark Waymark here for more pictures of this devilish arachnid. I also included a YouTube video of me trying to turn the black widow over onto her back to show off her bright red hourglass belly.

 

So my warning to my fellow Waymarking friends who may be into benchmarking like me: Be careful where you put your hands! :blink:

be5f5883-7f27-4f38-b5bd-5fa7a608b714.jpg

 

Well, DUH Beav!!!

 

Every metal rod in Texas has a black widow in residence, GUARANTEED. It's why we open those with an 24-inch long screwdriver, if we open them at all. For us, it's enough to photograph the rim of the metal rod casing showing the station name, especially after we opened a metal rod cover once and found a juvenile Copperhead snake inside.

 

I would also point out that although black widows are highly venomous, they are non-aggressive. Just seeing them is not usually dangerous if you keep your distance.

 

Playing around with black widows is another level of risk ENTIRELY. So what's dangerous is not discovering them, but messing with them.

 

Also be aware that while not all black widows have the red hourglass, they all have the same BODY SHAPE. Some variations of markings we have seen include brown widows (a different subspecies), and true black widows with striking red and yellow lightning bolts along the abdomen. We have also seen black widows with red spots or stripes on top of and/or underneath their abdomens, and even one with a pink hourglass.

 

Spotting BWs is easy: Look for random spiderweb strands arranged without a lot of coherent structure to the web, full of trashy junk - BWs are TERRIBLE housekeepers. They prefer to stay hidden over clearing their webs of debris. They also are skilled hiders, and tend to hang upside down wedged tightly in corners or holes during the day. At night, you can find them hanging upside down in the middle of their webs.

 

Also: the more prey they can catch in a particular place, the smaller and subtler the web will be. Black widows are lazy - if they can reliably feed themselves with a 2-3-strand web, that's all they will make. If they need a 20 strand web, they'll make that web. Every web will be different, but none will have a discernible pattern.

 

We saw a HUGE quarter-sized BW with a web consisting of just 3 random strands along a fence line in west Texas. We spotted her general presence by three egg sacs on the underside of a prickly pear cactus pad. We knew she was around, but had no idea where EXACTLY. We got the long screwdriver from the car and resumed poking around the right-of-way for the benchmark. When a fat grasshopper jumped away from us and got snared in a web we had not seen, she shot out of her hiding spot and grabbed it. She had been tucked inside a fencepost wire hole, about 6 inches off the ground.

 

https://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=DP0454

 

https://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=DP0452

 

We looked at other fenceposts, and saw more very small webs in the same locations, all the way down the fence line. Because the spiders were inside the holes, we didn't see them, but we saw evidence of THOUSANDS -- enough to leave the benchmark find to Daddy Blaster and take Younger Sister Blaster back to the car.

 

Beav: The next time you find a BW, please leave her be. It's not worth a hospital visit and a lot of pain if you get bit. Stay safe out there - we need all the waymarkers in the hobby we can find.

Edited by Benchmark Blasterz
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Posted (edited)

Wow! Already one person posted that I should delete my new Waymark.

 

Beaver here can post a YouTube video poking a spider and that is OK, but I try and use this site and I get complaints from another Waymarker that I should delete my new WM because they don't like it! What a jerk!

Edited by Manville Possum
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I'll take the possum over the spider or snake anytime.

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I'll take the possum over the spider or snake anytime.

 

Me too -- we have possums that visit our yard and much on the birdseed that falls out of the bird feeder. Sometimes we find possums in our oak tree, but we have never seen one hanging by its tail. We have seen a Mama Poss with babies on her back :)

 

MPH -- I took a lot of flak for my waymark in that category too. Ha ha sorry for the pun

 

http://www.Waymarking.com/waymarks/WMG2YE_Shoot_at_the_enemy_combatant_of_your_choice

 

http://i.imgur.com/3Sw0hXf.jpg

Edited by Benchmark Blasterz
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MPH -- I took a lot of flak for my waymark in that category too.

 

Geocaching and Benchmarking can be dangerous, but other than getting Butt Hurt, Waymarking is not dangerous. :laughing:

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I ran across this critter while night caching. :)

 

We don't got none of those here, but if you'd send me one, I'd be happy to "Hold it by the Tail".

 

Keith

 

Thought - would the neighbour's dog work?

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MPH -- I took a lot of flak for my waymark in that category too.

 

Geocaching and Benchmarking can be dangerous, but other than getting Butt Hurt, Waymarking is not dangerous. :laughing:

 

I'll agree that Waymarking is not particularly dangerous, but it can be murder on the equipment:

 

So far - two cameras killed, three mice, one laptop and my left wrist (carpal tunnel).

 

Keith

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Posted (edited)

Re Black Widows - I may be a very cold and callous individual but I kill them on sight. We have plenty of other spiders to look after insect control, all of which I treat with kid gloves, especially Wolf Spiders. They are the cutest li'l devils. None of them can cause the anguish that a BW can. I have BWs in my garage and this I could definitely do WITHOUT.

 

Keith

 

BTW - I was benchmarking this week, too. Went to some new territory and got 15 or 20 new ones.

Edited by BK-Hunters
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Re Black Widows - I may be a very cold and callous individual but I kill them on sight. We have plenty of other spiders to look after insect control, all of which I treat with kid gloves, especially Wolf Spiders. They are the cutest li'l devils. None of them can cause the anguish that a BW can. I have BWs in my garage and this I could definitely do WITHOUT.

 

Keith

 

BTW - I was benchmarking this week, too. Went to some new territory and got 15 or 20 new ones.

 

Keith -- I told my husband a long time ago that he got 2 BWs around (not in) the house, and after the 3rd, we were MOVING!!!!

YIKES!!!

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Duplicate post

Edited by Benchmark Blasterz
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Keith -- I told my husband a long time ago that he got 2 BWs around (not in) the house, and after the 3rd, we were MOVING!!!!

YIKES!!!

 

So didja? Move, that is.

 

Surely you can find more than two around your house, given their prevalence in the rest of the state.

 

Keith

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I have not - and if Steve has, he's not saying (and I'm not asking). LOL

 

We do keep our yard free of hiding places for all the venomous critters (no woodpiles, garden pots, etc), and don't keep much stuff in the garage. And we are blessed with wild furry critters that eat the creepy crawlies too -- which reminds me that if you want to pick up MPH''s new photo goal, we have a couple of possums that visit our backyard every night, along with a few raccoons and bunnies.

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I have to chuckle when reading this thread. Over here in the land down under, we have a close relative of the black widow known as the redback because of the distinctive red stripe along its back. https://australianmuseum.net.au/redback-spider (note the reference to the black widow in the identification). It carries venom that can make you quite sick if untreated after a bite. But it reminded me of an old silly song that was around years ago. It might be a bit "local", but I am sure some of you might get a giggle.

"redback on the toilet seat".

 

Having said that, a bite from a Sydney Funnel-web spider is a quite serious and life threatening matter. And so is a bite from an eastern brown snake, tiger snake, copperhead snake etc etc. ... and while we are at it, don't play with the northern Australian crocodiles either. (The things a travel agent wouldn't tell you in case you were put off visiting.!)

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There is something to be said for living in the Great White North where such dangers cannot survive a real winter. For that safety from the nasty creatures, I accept my regular contact with poison ivy...and it hides in plain sight and does not move.

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I have to chuckle when reading this thread. Over here in the land down under, we have a close relative of the black widow known as the redback because of the distinctive red stripe along its back. https://australianmuseum.net.au/redback-spider (note the reference to the black widow in the identification). It carries venom that can make you quite sick if untreated after a bite. But it reminded me of an old silly song that was around years ago. It might be a bit "local", but I am sure some of you might get a giggle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjDAiq2-xeU "redback on the toilet seat".

 

Having said that, a bite from a Sydney Funnel-web spider is a quite serious and life threatening matter. And so is a bite from an eastern brown snake, tiger snake, copperhead snake etc etc. ... and while we are at it, don't play with the northern Australian crocodiles either. (The things a travel agent wouldn't tell you in case you were put off visiting.!)

...so basically, any encounter with Australian wildlife will be deadly! :laughing: That's probably why you play football with such gusto!

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Posted (edited)

I ran across this critter while night caching. :)

 

We don't got none of those here, but if you'd send me one, I'd be happy to "Hold it by the Tail".

 

Keith

 

Thought - would the neighbour's dog work?

 

:unsure:

Edited by Manville Possum
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Having said that, a bite from a Sydney Funnel-web spider is a quite serious and life threatening matter. And so is a bite from an eastern brown snake, tiger snake, copperhead snake etc etc. ... and while we are at it, don't play with the northern Australian crocodiles either. (The things a travel agent wouldn't tell you in case you were put off visiting.!)

 

What about Drop Bears? Got any of those? :laughing:

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-- which reminds me that if you want to pick up MPH's new photo goal, we have a couple of possums that visit our backyard every night, along with a few raccoons and bunnies.

 

Well, send them along (the possums - bunnies and coons we already got) - expedited mail or Fedex, doesn't matter. Just one will do.

 

Keith

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...so basically, any encounter with Australian wildlife will be deadly! :laughing: That's probably why you play football with such gusto!

Well I just had two nights camping in the Australian Alps. I heard dingoes howling to each other on the second night. But on the first night I had to contend with a Raven. He/she was there in the evening and the next morning even staring in my tent door while I was having breakfast. We are not supposed to feed wildlife as it makes them lazy and the food isn't the standard they should be foraging for. But the raven wore me down and took some muesli from my hand.... And at the second camp site, I was confronted with up to five ducks from the nearby Thredbo River who had apparently decided that it was "be kind to ducks week - give generously (or face consequences)". So here I am setting up camp, giving a groundsheet a flick which scared a duck which took fright and then came back rousing on me for scaring it... A few years back we had a Southern Cassowary and its chick hanging around the campsite. These birds are on the endangered list, but so are you if get offside. They are flightless birds nearly the size of an emu with very powerful legs and claws that would gore you if they lashed out. But this fellow and his young one (males raise the chicks in this species) was quite prepared to make his demands at the door!

 

As for drop bears, well last night coming down a mountain pass, I saw the biggest wombat (a nocturnal marsupial that is often noted in road kill) I have ever seen scampering off the road. Just as well as they are incredibly nuggetty in construction and will destroy a car as much as car destroys them if hit.

 

So these are some of the other hazards you may encounter whilst out Waymarking.

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...and for those who always thought Australians "had a few kangaroos loose in top paddock" (a local expression for what might be happening in the grey matter that is supposed to between the ears) , how about this gem. Nothing to do with Waymarking, but anyway... too good to not share around.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/qEGzVqDeRvA?autoplay=1&vq=large&rel=0&showinfo=0&start=0&end=

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