Spider Hunters in Cambodia

Collection with 22 media items created by George Nickels ★★★★

Cambodia 09 Jun 2012 00:00

On The 9th August 2012 I was invited to the remote jungle village, known as Trov Pheang Ctas, located deep within the Svay Ler district in Cambodia. It was somewhere I had never been or heard of, and I assumed there might be both unexploded landmines, and illegal logging activities, as is the case in much of the rural countryside.
My time there would be spent documenting the hunt of one of Cambodia’s finest delicacies, Haplopelma albostriatum.
Haplopelma albostriatum, are a species of tarantula called "a-ping" in Khmer, and also known as the Thai zebra tarantula, when fully grown can reach the size of a human palm.
The spiders are caught using a very primitive simple yet effective technique, where the hunter will tease the creature from its den by the ways of using a stick to tickle its web and entice the spider to surface. The spider then makes its retreat deep into its hole, but no escaping as that’s when the improvised shovels come into play. Although venomous the tarantulas are not deadly and there bite has been described as something close to a very bad bee sting.
Once visable the arachnid is quickly plucked from its hole and grabbed by its back just in front of its abdomen using 2 fingers with care taken to avoid a nasty bite from there rather large fangs.
When caught the spiders are delicately put into small plastic bottles and kept there until they and ready to eat. The process used to prepare the catch for eating comprised of filling a bowl with water and jointly drowning and washing the spider in one easy step. The method used at this particular village was very cheap and easy, the spiders are tossed in salt and deep fried.
It is not clear how this practice started, but some have suggested that the population might have started eating spiders out of desperation during the years of Khmer Rouge rule, when food was in short supply.

Cambodia Food Spider Hunter Jungle Village Spiders Delicacies Jungle Food Original Meal Cambodian Cu... Cuisine Cooking Spiders Insect Food Child Hunting Spiders Eat Spiders Arachnid Haplopelma A...

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Spider Hunters (1 of 22)
Svay Leur, Cambodia
By George Nickels
09 Aug 2012

The children are calm while they dig for the eight-legged arachnids.

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Spider Hunters (2 of 22)
Svay Leur, Cambodia
By George Nickels
09 Aug 2012

Wielding a axe a young hunter heads into the jungle in search of tarantula's.

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Spider Hunters (3 of 22)
Svay Leur, Cambodia
By George Nickels
09 Aug 2012

The hunters look into the spiders lair and prepare for the capture.

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Spider Hunters (5 of 22)
Svay Leur, Cambodia
By George Nickels
09 Aug 2012

The spiders are caught using a very primitive simple yet effective technique.

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Spider Hunters (7 of 22)
Svay Leur, Cambodia
By George Nickels
09 Aug 2012

A young hunter heads back to the jungle hut to give his catch to his mother to prepare for eating.

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Spider Hunters (9 of 22)
Svay Leur, Cambodia
By George Nickels
09 Aug 2012

A boy observes and learns the techniques needed to catch the Khmer Delicacy.

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Spider Hunters (11 of 22)
Svay Leur, Cambodia
By George Nickels
09 Aug 2012

From a very young age children a taught the techniques needed to survive when food is in short supply.

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Spider Hunters (12 of 22)
Svay Leur, Cambodia
By George Nickels
09 Aug 2012

Once visable the arachnid is quickly plucked from its hole and grabbed by its back just in front of its abdomen using 2 fingers with care taken to avoid a nasty bite from there rather large fangs.

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Spider Hunters (14 of 22)
Svay Leur, Cambodia
By George Nickels
09 Aug 2012

When caught the spiders are delicately put into small plastic bottles and kept there until they and ready to eat.

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Spider Hunters (20 of 22)
Svay Leur, Cambodia
By George Nickels
09 Aug 2012

The female tarantulas are prefered as generaly they are carrying eggs which adds to the flavour.

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Spider Hunters (21 of 22)
Svay Leur, Cambodia
By George Nickels
09 Aug 2012

The tarantulas are first drowned and washed in water before being tossed in salt and cooked in oil.

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Spider Hunters (22 of 22)
Svay Leur, Cambodia
By George Nickels
09 Aug 2012

The children prefer to eat the head first then strip the meat from the legs leaving the abdomen containing the precious eggs until last.