Tarantulas loose in Elgin Schools
ELGIN — Tarantulas have taken refuge in Elgin Middle School.
Yes, those often large, hairy-legged spiders that are straight out of the nightmare of any self-respecting arachnophobe are now calling the school “home.” Fear not, however, as these spiders have instead drawn the fascination of much of the school over the last two academic years since the first one, affectionately named “Mary Todd” after the former first lady, first arrived in the classroom.
“I had a parent whose adult son moved out and left behind his tarantula and she asked if I wanted it,” said Melissa Evon, seventh grade geography teacher. “I figured I could do something with a geography lesson, so why not?”
Mary Todd is a Chilean Rose Hair, native to South America. Since she arrived in the classroom back in September 2017, she’s become a popular new addition. Even students who are deftly afraid of spiders have taken an interest in her, even as Evon said she has “the energy of a pet rock.”
“The kids have really taken to her,” she said. “They’d feed her crickets and watch her eat and they’re fascinated by it.”