Adorable Kitten at Centre of Spider Attack Mystery Competition

You wouldn't know it to look at Little Suki, but the adorable kitten of the Carter household is at the centre of a minor mystery concerning the family's not so cute pet Chilean spider.
Photo by Edri Ana

Everybody loves Suki. Family members often recount to friends how she sometimes jumps up to snatch the end of a piece of string with her cute front paws, before failure prompts her to fall onto her cute little hind quarters, resulting in everyone's laughter.
Photo by Edri Ana

But only 17-year-old Kenny Carter is a fan of four month old Scylla, the spider he picked up at the pet store when Suki was bought for sister Melissa, 11. Suki tends to instinctively avoid Scylla when the Chilean spider is let out of her cage in Kenny's bedroom. However, a week after moulting, Scylla went missing for two hours. When she was finally found in a crawl space under the stairs, she had lost one of her eight legs and she didn't want to be handled by Kenny.

The end of what could have been the missing limb was found in Suki's food bowl. Is the adorable kitten a spider-attacking leg amputator? Or is the answer to this family riddle more innocuous than that?

All that's known is that parents Derek and Charlene Carter believe that the two pets have caused more trouble than anticipated. Charlene has borne the brunt of the disagreements, because both Kenny and Melissa come to her whenever there is any strife. Derek is not as even-tempered and everyone agrees that he is sometimes unreasonable with the children. Derek blames this on having to put up with his wife.

At some time on March 30, Scylla's forelimb was removed clean from her body. A day later, what could have been the tip of the spider leg turned up in Little Suki's food bowl. Young Melissa is citing the "piece of onion" defence when brother Kenny accuses Suki of attacking Scylla.

In May of 2014, husband and father of two Derek was accused of clipping his toenails in the kitchen and of not disposing of one of them correctly. He denied clipping his toenails in the kitchen, but he was confronted by Charlene with what appeared to be damning evidence - a large toenail clipping on the kitchen floor.

Derek was told by his wife that she was sick to the eye teeth of his lies while pointing at the offending item, and she didn't want an argument. She told him to pick the bloody thing up you disgusting pig and just bin it.

Derek didn't want an argument either, so he complied with his wife's wish - only to discover that "it wasn't a cuticle at all - it was a piece of onion that the foolish bint had been cutting up for the curry!"

"It's not a cuticle! It's the end of your bloody nail plate. The cuticle is the bit of skin around the nail! The end of the nail is part of the nail plate. Ah, you can't get anything right," added Charlene.

"That's not the issue! It was a bit of your onion! Not my nail! It had nothing to do with my nails! You dropped it on the floor chopping your onions and then you told me to pick up my toenail clipping, when it wasn't my toenail clipping! The onion that you dropped wasn't a bit of my nail plate or my cuticle or anything else got to do with anything that's related to my toes!"

Young Melissa harks back to the onion incident - still a sore point between her father and mother - and claims that what looks like the tip of a spider leg could in fact be anything. Meanwhile, the leg tip - or whatever it is - has now been placed in a jar alongside the spider's moulted exoskeleton.

Father Derek shows off Scylla. How many legs does this spider have, and can you explain what happened and solve the riddle?
For the moment, Little Suki still gets doted over by the entire family, while Kenny - and occasionally Derek - look after the traumatised arachnid with the missing limb. The kitty's suspected encounter with the spider could have been far worse: Luckily, however, Scylla still has seven legs on which to get around. But is Suki responsible for a vicious attack?
Photo by Edri Ana

The Carters are running a competition on the family website to find out. For a recession-busting twenty euro entry fee paid via PayPal, contest entrants can put forward their theory about what they think happened to Scylla's eighth leg - in 300 words or less - before the end of April. The Carters say that the best answer "doesn't have to be right, it just has to be the most creative."

The first place winner will be presented with a small piece of toenail shaped onion and the tip of what might just be a spider leg on May 20th in a Tupperware lunchbox beautifully decorated by glitter-mad Melissa. The Carters are welcoming entries from all around the world. And fortunately, those who can't attend the awards ceremony and dinner in Function Room 2 at McNeill Court Hotel in Kinsale on Ireland's beautiful southern coast on the big night can have the prize shipped to them - once they pay the costs of postage. So get your deerstalker hat on and solve the mystery today!