It has been a particularly terrifying week in wildlife news.
First it was reported that scientists had discovered a species of winged spider, the mere thought of which would instill arachnophobia in even the bravest of entomologists.
Just imagine it: eight legs, needle-like fangs, a poison sac and the ability to fly gingerly onto your face while you sleep. In fact, what’s causing that tingling sensation you feel on the back of your neck right now?
Today, reports are emerging about the recent discovery of a venomous monkey, which supposedly packs enough poisonous wallop in its slobber to kill any human it bites. Oh, and it’s nocturnal, so it too could sneak up on you while you sleep (which you won’t, ever again).
Surely these demonic creatures are harbingers of the forthcoming End of Days. Or not.
There’s some very good follow-up news about the winged spider: it doesn’t actually exist. Although a supposed newspaper clipping depicting the critter is making the rounds on Twitter today, the image is a hoax — a Photoshopped image of a perfectly normal (yet still rather off-putting) spider.
As for the poisonous monkey — a slow loris, to be precise — it’s mostly harmless, and not exactly a new discovery. Although some media outlets have latched onto the “evil poisonous monkey discovered” story, the more accurate news is that primatologists recently discovered several different subspecies of the well-known slow loris. Yawn.
Even better news: the slow loris is not particularly poisonous. If you’re bitten by one, you might have an allergic reaction, just like someone with a severe cat allergy might get all puffy and wheezy after a nasty scratch from Mr. Snugglepuss. But unless you’re in a Borneo jungle at night — and you decide to grab an unsuspecting slow loris — you’re probably at low risk.
If, however, you do find yourself in the presence of a slow loris, there’s a surefire way to defend yourself: tickle it.