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Monday, April 16, 2018

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: Folklore of Hong Kong fighting spiders.

I stumbled across this information on the Hong Kong history web site Gwulo.com relating to a questionI had posted a question on  July 28th 2016 asking for information on unusual animals at Cheung Chau island.

Tung lin

Hello Richard,

I almost forgot this one......

Boys running around the outback on CC island of my time must understand the fun of hunting and keeping some harmless Spider. This tiny spider never construct any web at all. It scouts on everywhere, indoor & outdoor, on trees, shrubs, or house furniture like your desk. They are like  tiny lonewolfs, maybe in search of flea or other tiny bugs.

People consider they are the good and harmless, kids think they are so friendly and pet-able too!

Kids of age 5 to 8 years old would like to bring their spider pets to school and do all kinds of creative shows or fight. They keep them each in a tiny envelop made out of a leaf. The spider is about 0.5 to
1.0 cm long, and color in all black, white and black, biege or brown. It has no visible hair but very clean to touch. It never bite people at all.

And they are free to go after few days fun!!

Thanks Tung and Andrew for recalling our younger days.  This photo reminds me of the creek below the old Clear Water Bay Road about a mintue's walk below Good Hope School.  While the scenic settings were different, their countryside atmosphere gave us children joy and opportunity to explore.

 I sometimes hiked to Kowloon Reservoir to look for fighting spiders. They, a loner, made their home a foot or two above ground by pulling together two leaves with their silk, and this made their location easy to spot.  Some are "Old Poke" (lo-dok - loose translation) because they use their two front arms to spear at their opponent.  When two of  them meet, they fight as if they want to hug each other.  Another kind is the "Red Kid" named for their body colour. To catch them, I wrapped
around the folded leaves with an opened flat tin box and next closed the lid.

And yes, we kept them in separate homes made of thorny leaves.  A fight took a few seconds and the loser quickly ran away so injuries were infrequent.  I set them free in our balcony garden after a few days.  Looking back, such were our boyish thinking and fun, but pity the poor little creature who lost his natural home, and freedom albeit temporarily.  Regards,  Peter

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