27 October 2011

This week in Galway ...

So the news from these parts is not much, everything exciting happens elsewhere. There is major flooding in Dublin so I guess that is where our rain has gone - the weather here has been kind enough to be clear and frosty all day and only rain at night! There is only a month till I am on holiday so I have finally stopped procrastinating and am working long hours (though I still can't seem to get anything done in the evenings and weekends). The sun is coming up later and going down earlier but it is not so bad, I am not walking in the dark yet. I have lots of writing to do and lab work to do, and sadly I'm going to try work this weekend even though it's a public holiday. I won't go into the office though, definately staying at home. My respite from work lately has been more work, in the form of the undergraduate practical labs. The 2nd years are studying arthropods so I volunteered because these labs involve interesting creatures. Of course, I didn't get to handle many of them becase I'm not to be trusted with anything remotely dangerous and there's the possibility of my freaking out over spiders. So I got to show off the scorpions and for my trouble got a pinch by one of the giant claws.

This guy is a giant mysore scorpion from India and doesn't have a name. His claws are huge because this type of scorpion doesn't have much in the way of venom, which is why he's safe to handle. The other one that I had was in a sealed container so that there was no chance of escape because despite being tiny it was the most dangerous animal in the room. Unlike the one above it had iddy-biddy claws, but it's tail was really fat, which is generally the way they are when they have really strong venom. This one up above is not overyly happy in this picture, you can tell because his tail's sort of raised, he's wary and getting into his attack pose. That's because I had to keep picking him up to show the students all of his little details. Not with my hands though, I had a great big pair of tweezers. It's safe enough to let him sit on your hand, but eventually he got fed up and grabbed onto my had with his claws so after that I let him stay on the bench.

The previous week was centipedes and millipedes, which are cool in their own way but sort of gross to somebody like me that isn't a fan of creepy-crawly things. Next week is insects, which should be interesting, then crustaceans. Vertebrates are more fun though, I don't mind admitting a huge bias. They are not featured in this semester's course but there is a new lizard in one of the downstairs labs so maybe I will go take photos of her, seeing as I have no interesting tales at the moment. All I am doing is working, and I am not even really doing that quite enough. The only good thing about going to work so early and leaving late is that the streets are quiet and the light makes the city look nicer. So let's end with a photo of the canal and I will try to find stories for next time.

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