Dr. No & Tropical Animals – Science Behind Bond

Happy New Year! My outlook on 2021 is if I can get through 2020, I can get through 2021. I hope a Covid vaccine gets distributed, so we can all go back to our regular routines. To kick off in 2021, I wanted to continue my Bond blog series. This post is going into the Science Behind Bond. I’m going to take one element or scene from the Bond movie and “debunk” it or say if there’s any accuracy there. Science is interesting to me, so I thought it would be fun to add a science post to my blog series. For the science behind Dr. No I decided to focus on tropical animals.

Video posted by the James Bond 007 Youtube Channel.

One memorable scene from Dr. No is when Bond is sleeping in his bed and an assassin slips a tarantula into his room. The suspense music plays as the tarantula crawls up Bond through his sheets. Eventually, Bond can move the tarantula and kills it. The main question I wanted to know is whether this tarantula was dangerous to Bond? From my research, the answer is no. In 2018, there were 44 occurences of a “tarantula related injury” and only 17 requiring hospitalization. (1) With a Tarantula bite, common symptoms include pain, tissue damage, and muscle cramping (1). It’s much more common for a human to have a histamine reaction to the hairs of a Tarantula than to be poisoned by a Tarantula (1). Unless this Tarantula is a local Jamaican spider I’m not aware of, the likelihood Bond would have been killed by a Tarantula is next to none. This silly Spectre assassin had no idea what he was doing by releasing a Tarantula to kill Bond.

The second instance regarding tropical animals isn’t featured in the Dr. No film but in the book written by Ian Fleming. In the film, Honey Rider is chained to a stone embankment where presumably the water would rise and drown her. Bond has to come and rescue her after taking out Dr. No. In Fleming’s book, Honey was chained to the embankment, and crabs were supposed to eat her instead. This was taken out of the film adaptation. I’m assuming the crabs referred to in Fleming’s novels were a basic beach crab. Mole crabs typically eat plankton and the tentacles of jellyfish. (2) Coconut Crabs are dangerous and scary crabs. They are the largest invertebrate on our planet and can be as big as a hiking boot (3). These crabs can climb trees and have the strength to carry away bones (3). If Honey Rider was chained to coconut crabs, that could be fatal.

It’s amazing how our planet has so many different species of creatures. Some are fatal to humans while others do not pose a threat unless provoked. I would recommend checking out the National Geographic article I found for Coconut Crabs. They are incredibly big and scary looking. Since this is a research-based post, I linked all my sources down below. For my next Bond Blog Series, I will focus more on the women featured in the film along with women’s rights during the early 1960s. Once I write this post, I will move onto the second Bond film, From Russia with Love.

Sources:

(1) Tarantula Spider Toxicity – academic paper by Erwin L Kong, Kristopher K. Hart

(2) Mole Crabs Bob Thomas – Loyola University New Orleans

(3) Coconut Crabs – National Geographic

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