Around the Bluhmin’ Town

Manuel, where art thou?


Has anyone seen Manuel? We are in an all-out search for the “special” friend of New River resident, Diane Wilson. Manuel has been visiting her on a regular basis for the past 25 years.

Manuel has a plump body, big, hairy legs and a sweet disposition. No, we’re not trying to locate Diane’s neighbor – it is Manuel the tarantula who is missing.

Yes, that’s right. I am talking about a big, gentle spider that first showed up at Wilson’s home many years ago and likes to visit annually, usually staying a few months.

Every year, Manuel has made the migration to the Wilson home, arriving usually in July or August and leaving in early October. I am sad to report that Manuel has not arrived yet this year.

The Phoenix Zoo’s arachnid expert is quite interested and confounded by the behavior of this tarantula that has made himself at home on an annual basis at the Wilson residence. In fact, it might be that Manuel has passed on this strange “migration pattern” onto his offspring.

Manuel usually just shows up unannounced through an open patio door or squeezes in the doggy door. He gets along with assorted dogs, cats, birds and humans, and has a pleasant personality.

He sometimes would walk along the kitchen counter or saunter up a wall. He has even sat on the back of Diane’s sofa, possibly watching television. In other words, forget anything and everything you might have thought about tarantulas . . . they make nice visitors!

Last year, Diane noted that Manuel acted a bit odd. He seemed reluctant to leave and made himself more and more visible as his visit progressed. Last October, he was still hanging around the house, showing up in strange places, like in the shower and on the bedside table.

Was he just getting ready for the long goodbye? Was he feeling a bit melancholy? We wonder if he’ll be coming back.

A female tarantula can live for 25 years! But a male might only live 15 years. Once they mate their life is over.

We’ve all been hoping that Manuel did not meet some sultry female along the trail to Diane’s this year, but it’s hard to solve a mystery about a migrating spider that acts in peculiar ways.

Maybe Manuel is a female? Or it is Manuel Junior who has been coming by the past few years?

Yes, I know that there are greater losses than that of one goofy tarantula. But the world seemed to be spinning just right when we could imagine how one of God’s little critters showed up at Diane’s door so many years ago; to come back each summer as if, somehow, that’s where he belonged.

He found love and acceptance!

If you do see a big handsome tarantula showing up in your kitchen, acting like he intends on making himself at home, please do not panic. He just might be lost.

Until next week . . . if you see Manuel, give me a scream . . I mean call.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor.. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at