Ah snakes. Serpents always get a pretty bad rap. I guess its the whole Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden thing. And I’ll grant you, I haven’t seen too many that my first instinct wasn’t “kill it, kill it now!” But you know what? At the end of the day, there ends up being this grudging appreciation for what they do and that they have their place (well, mostly, anyway). I get tired of the mice, you know? The poisonous ones get an automatic heave ho, but all others at least get a little consideration. And by that, I mean if they aren’t big enough to trouble my small dogs considerably, I at least give thought to just moving them along gently.
Now that leads us to our lead character of this piece. Spiders. I simply haven’t met one that I didn’t consider the incarnation of evil. Yeah, I know they kill a fair amount of bugs that I would rather not have around. But you know what, there’s bug spray. I know some people occasionally will find a small snake in their house. I’m fortunate not to be one of those people so far, but it happens rarely. Still, spiders can and will get any and everywhere, places that snakes just don’t tend to make it to. And it’s that idea that I think makes them more sinister than most other creatures that I can think of. I have been bitten by a spider on my forearm before, a nasty bite that ended in a visit to the doctor, and I’m pretty sure it happened while I was sleeping. Not in the jungle. IN MY BED! That’s just evil.
So sufficeth to say that all of this came to a head recently. I was up late helping my daughter finish a big school project. As I was slaving away over poster board, glue, magic markers, and the like I just happened to glance at my gun cabinet and noticed this little gem…..
I apologize for the marginal picture, as my camera phone in that light isn’t world class. My son has the good camera, and the good sense to have been asleep that late on a school night, so this image will have to do. I probably could have gotten a little better picture, but as I got closer and closer, the only thought that kept piercing my consciousness mostly went something like this….
This is what I believe is a quite large version of a Wolf spider, and by quite large I mean with legs spread it was as big around as a softball. And if my boots could talk, they’d be saying, “You mean we haven’t crushed that thing yet?” Yeah, that happened in short order, although my initial thought was that I was going to need my shotgun. It took me several seconds to digest the fact that the thing was…..in……my……house. And not hidden under the bathroom sink in some dark corner, but wide out in the open in front of God and everybody. How bold. You’d swear he had access to steroids.
In my experience Wolf spiders are the most frequently encountered large spider in my neck of the woods in West Virginia, and in size and coloration this gave a strong indication of being a large specimen. However, a little further research also showed that this could easily be a Fishing spider (I happen to live beside a pond), as they look nearly identical in size and coloration. I might have been able to tell the difference with a close up of the shape and size of his eyes, but, you know, back to that whole issue about the close up.
I couldn’t manage to hide my trauma of spotting this creature-from-the-dark-side, so my wife and daughter got to get a good look. Which then meant that no one managed to get the best sleep that night. After all, as the old adage goes, if there’s one, there’s more, right? I had been a little slow this spring to get my first treatment of bug killer around the edges and corners of the inside of my house, and of course that’s now been remedied. Good grief, I probably burned up a few Google servers researching some more effective products than I’ve been using (I’m going to give a product called Talstar a try, at the advice of a co-worker). In the meantime, my whole family now stays a little more alert. I love nature, well, most of it. I just like to keep all of it outside.