Posted by:
Susan Rooke
August 24, 2017

The other day I was noodling around on the internet when I came across this bald, intractable commandment:

You should never kill a spider.

I smiled and shook my head, thinking, “Now there’s a man who needs more spiders in his life.”

For starters, I’d suggest lots more of these:

And you know what? Glen and I are blessed with so many spiders of all kinds. I’d be happy to send this man a whole box of spiders. It would be like a box of puppies, only with more legs (Spiders! FREE to Good Home!). Unfortunately that wouldn’t even make a dent in our population.

I have no problem with the cute little ones like this:

Or this:

But the far less appealing specimens like this?

And the downright gnarly like this?

All I can think when I see one of the scarier sorts is, “What if I got one caught in my hair?” The other day I had a chance to find out what that’s like. I won’t go into details, because they still make me squirm, but I can tell you it was about 1 ½” across, and I could feel the small thud it made (“oof!” said the spider) when it tumbled off the back of my head and landed on my shoulder.

Glen and I are generally more tolerant of insects than we are of arachnids. (And I love moths!) Glen, because it takes more than a bug to rattle him; I, because an entomologist was a longtime friend of the family when I was growing up. Now, living in the middle of a pasture in the countryside, surrounded by cows and their . . . unceasing cow-ness . . . we’re faced with more bugs every day than there are stars in the night sky. I only thought we had bugs when we lived in the city. I had no idea.

Spiders in the city weren’t much of an issue; they weren’t nearly as numerous as the insects (or perhaps they were just more discreet). They’ve always set me on edge, though. They’re so skittery, so fast. And eight legs is, in my view, at least two legs too many. Yes, I enjoyed reading Charlotte’s Web as a child, but it didn’t turn me into a spider-lover. Pigs, on the other hand . . . (Mmm, porkchops.)

Now, however, I seem to have developed a growing fascination with spiders. (This doesn’t extend to most other arachnids. All scorpions and ticks have to die.) Though we have far too many to let them have the run of the house (and here’s a shot of more on the way),

there are spider-friendly zones on the porch and in the garage. In the herb planters, for example, where I spotted this adorable little fellow:

He reminds me of one of the dwarves—maybe Gimli—from The Lord of the Rings.

The herb planters are, in fact, some of the most reliable places to spot all kinds of spiders. Like this beauty:

And this severe, rather plain one (Sister Mary Margaret, is that you?):

Though I don’t want any of them in bed with me at night, all of those examples have their intriguing characteristics. To me, anyway. But the most impressive spider in our herd, hands down, is the one that has set itself a stunning, Sisyphean task. At twilight, this spider constructs a huge web—about 5’x5’—that extends from a porch post up to the porch ceiling. Near dawn, it takes the web down, and by daybreak, neither web nor spider are anywhere to be found.

Every . . . single . . . day.

At first I couldn’t believe it, so I waited several days before pointing it out to Glen. He couldn’t believe it either, until he’d had the opportunity to witness the behavior for himself. This spider is pretty intimidating, and initially Glen was all for getting rid of it. I could see his point. Nobody wants to walk out onto the dark porch at night and get a face-full of spider surprise. But when he saw all the little bugs caught in this creature’s web every night, he agreed to let it be. We’ll just give it a wide berth until its span is done.

Look at that thing. That’s one amazing spider.

Warning: This post contains images that may cause sensitive readers to run screaming around the room while slapping at imaginary spiders in their hair.

Oh, sorry, Katie! I meant to run that banner at the top of the page.

14 comments on “SPIDER-PALOOZA”

    1. Oh my gosh, what spectacular spiders, and those golden webs are lovely!! Photos are as close as I'd like to get, though!

  1. I think it's probably too tiny, Ralph. After Salina's comment I looked up banana spiders, and they all seem much bigger. This pretty little thing was probably 1/2" across at most. It'll be interesting to see how our spiders fare after this big weather event we're expecting.

  2. HAHAHAHAHAHA!! I'm sorry, darling, but I'm glad you read it. You need to have your spider horizons expanded!

    1. Thanks, Diana! I use my iPhone. It's rarely far from my hand, and it's super easy. The main thing I have to remember is to keep the lens clean. It's especially good for taking buggy closeups.

  3. =) We try not to kill our spiders, and we have several too. Then again, we've never encountered a black widow. A tarantula fell off a screen door onto my shoulder when I was 12, and I still remember the feeling of its furry feet on my collarbone. I have since made peace with tarantulas and love them now, though I still prefer not to be surprised by them.

    1. Yeah, we used to have several spiders too. I miss those days! Now we have a spideropolis. Most of them don't really bother me, and I kind of like many of the ones in these pictures. I like tarantulas too, but Carie, if I'd had a tarantula fall on me, its furry feet scrabbling for purchase on my bare collarbone (at least that's how I imagine the nightmare scenario), I would've been scarred for life! Brava to you for your pro-spider stance! Would you like a box of spiders? I can send you some. 😉

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