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6.12.2020

"Spiders so large they appear to be wearing the pelts of small animals." - Dave Barry



Through my living room window I can see the world's longest spider web thread that runs from my clematis vine diagonally upward across the landscaping to the corner eave of my house. Now in spider steps that seems much like the expanse of the Bay Bridge in Maryland or the Mackinaw Bridge in Northern Michigan. Occasionally a slight breeze, combined with the right angle of the sun, illuminates its entire strand span. Impressive to say the least! Though I am neither a spider fan or crippled by fear, I marvel at their web skills, architectural displays of brilliant originality and a sort of Evel Knievel defiance of the laws of building.

I kill spiders. Sorry to those out there that relocate them away from their house when found.Though they are a great part of the Eco system both as predators and food for other predators, I do not want to them to get in my house. Period. It could be that they are sneaky and I don't much care for the sneaky, easily hidden insects. It could be that I was bitten by a brown recluse once and don't care to repeat that ordeal! I've had too many spider experiences in houses I've owned over the years - much too many indeed! My sisters tell me I am a creature attractor for all the insects and animals I have been witness to.

Tarantula - WikipediaWe lived in Arizona at one point, home of the magnificent tarantula.  To see them up close in nature is a wonder! My husband's employer had a loading dock in the back of the building that bordered the desert. Every morning the back dock area would be riddled with dozens of dead tarantulas. They eat insects [that's why they came to the dock area at night to eat the bevy of insects that the overhead light pole drew], but will eat frogs, bats, small rodents and snakes. Though they have a hearty appetite, they rarely bite humans, and if they do it's said their bite is no worse than a bee sting typically. Typically leaves room for exceptions so that leaves me out in holding one!

Black and Yellow Garden Spiders On her web facing toward ground  as a means of protectionThese once terrified me - big black and yellow garden spiders that like to build webs in and near plants. Their girthy size and brilliant color is alarming but they don't hurt humans. You will know one when you see their elaborate web that has a zig zag thread in it. They can build an elaborate web in a night.Talk about Extreme Makeover Home Edition! Anything that gets caught in their web they will mercilessly eat. If they feel threatened they may get aggressive which usually means they drop quickly to the ground. Their venom is not poisonous to humans but you may die of fright if one got on you! Adults can live several years but die at the first hard frost if you live in a cold weather climate zone. 

My daughter has been terrified of spiders since she was a small child. She used to lay, paralyzed in her bed or whatever position she was in when she spotted a spider, screaming for me to come kill it. There was no reasoning with fear, though I tried with her spider phobia. Fear is totally unreasonable and usually significantly off in reality. 

I had a friend years ago who was bitten by a recluse spider and eventually had to have her leg amputated due to complications of that bite. When I was bitten by that same type of spider, I took a pic of my leg and texted it to my doctor who said, "get in the car and get here as soon as you can." Between his antibiotic specific for spider bites and my concoction paste of activated charcoal and baking soda, I didn't have any lasting or adverse problems.They are not good at all to humans. Do not re-habitat them!

Image courtesy of gdaywa.comI saw one of the biggest daddy long leg spiders ever yesterday perched on my office window screen. I felt extra benevolent and let him live. Daddy long leg spiders are known to be fairly slow moving, docile and do not bite humans. They do eat other spiders that are poisonous and other insects as well.They live, without being killed or eaten, huddled in a corner somewhere about 2 years.

And finally, do we really eat 8 spiders in our sleep a year? Fiction is the biggest consensus. It sort of flies against what we know about spider and human biology. That myth was probably made up by an older brother to prey on his younger sister's fear of spiders. 8 is such an arbitrary number anyway. That scenario only further fuels my current insomnia.


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