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By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. | Washington Post
For the past day, people around the world — at least the ones who can get past a certain spider video without screaming “kill it with fire!” — have been engaged in a rigorous debate about whether Andrea Gofton is one of the most compassionate Australians on her continent, or simply insane.
This month, her community has endured its worst flooding in almost a decade — nearly 20 inches since March 1.
Homes and roads are flooded; students on a field trip to Echo Creek Adventure Park got more creek and more adventure than they were expecting; and towns have been declared a “disaster area.” Still, all things considered, the waterlogged population has escaped mostly unscathed.
At least the humans. It is a tough time to be an air-breathing animal in northeast Australia. Dens and burrows are flooded. Food sources are underwater and water-adept predators, particularly crocodiles, sharks and snakes, are riding newly-created waterways in search of unsuspecting prey.
A bird-eating tarantula spider, left, pictured next to an Australian 20 cent coin and a fully grown tarantula in this undated hand out photo at the Melbourne Museum. (AP Photo/Australian Customs Service)
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But Gofton’s ethical dilemma came in the form of a not-so-tiny spider found clinging precariously to a tree branch: A giant Australian tarantula called the bird-eating spider.
It is, of course, almost instinctual for humans to want to save animals, even when they don’t do a particularly good job of it.
But there are some things about the spider that Gofton encountered that people need to know …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World