Spiders and Fridges and Beds . . . Oh My!

The winners of the 2021 Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards have been named, in all sorts of categories. You can see the entire gallery here, and Wow! there are some great photos.

My favorite pic didn’t win the top prize (that went to Laurent Ballesta’s image of spawning camouflage groupers), but it was tagged “Highly Commended” by the judges. It’s Jaime Culebras’s “Animal Magnetism,” described on the competition’s website this way:

Jaime was shocked to see this tarantula hawk wasp dragging its prey across his kitchen floor. He rushed to get his camera. By the time he returned, the giant wasp was hoisting the spider up the side of the refrigerator.

You may disagree, but I think it would be pretty cool to see a wasp and tarantula locked in a life-and-death struggle, even inside my house. And if I had time to get my camera, and then the wasp posed inext to all the travel magnets on my fridge door for a photo op, that would be awesome. I guess I would have one concern, though—where was the wasp headed?

Spiders are a common theme in this year’s contest, and the photo that beat out “Animal Magnetism” for first place in the Urban Wildlife category caught my eye. “The Spider Room” was taken by Gil Wizen. Again, from the website:

After noticing tiny spiders all over his bedroom, Gil looked under his bed. There, guarding its brood, was one of the world’s most venomous spiders. Before safely relocating it outdoors, he photographed the human-hand-sized Brazilian wandering spider using forced perspective to make it appear even larger.

I liked the photographer “using forced perspective to make it appear even larger,” because, well, being the size of a human hand just wouldn’t look big enough, would it?

The photo at the top of this post isn’t from the competition, but I thought it only fair to show a spider winning a battle, since one lost in “Animal Magnetism.” I haven’t included any images from the competition because of copyright, so I hope you take the time to click on the links above.

[photo: “Spider Snack,” by John Munt, used under a Creative Commons license]