Around the Bluhmin’ Town: Search on for Manuel

Has anyone seen Manuel? Is he in quarantine? Come out, Manuel. We are worried. There is 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 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 could be that Manuel has passed 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 really nice houseguests.

Last year, Diane noticed 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 will 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 hope that Manuel did not meet a sultry female along the trail to Diane’s house this year, or some other kind of danger.

But it’s hard to solve a mystery about a migrating spider that acts in peculiar ways. Maybe Manuel is a female? Or is it Manuel Junior who has been coming by the past few years?

Yes, I know that there are greater losses than that of one friendly tarantula. But the world seems to be spinning just right, when this little creature of God, shows up at Diane’s door. We are rooting for you little buddy. Please come home.

Dear Readers, if you happen to see a big handsome tarantula walking through your doorway, try not to panic. It could be Manuel. So, if you see Spidey, stay calm and 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

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