Saturday, January 13, 2007

Back off, Spidey!

I am not afraid of spiders. They do not seek out people to bite; we are not their prey. Spiders might bite a human if they feel threatened, but a creature can't be blamed for simple self-defense. As an adaptive trait, people may be genetically predisposed to learn a fear of spiders, along with snakes, as certain varieties of these animals have posed threats to hominids throughout our evolution. However, there are no poisonous spiders in my area, and I never had that initial bad experience that often ushers in phobias. So to me, spiders remain an object of fascination and wonder.

Occasionally, I will relocate them to what I deem to be a more suitable location. One place that warrants a reassignment every time is the shower. I don't know why spiders seems to favor the shower so much, but I suspect they are merely attracted to moisture, especially in the winter, when the air becomes so dry. But I hate seeing them in there, because I often fail to notice them until it's too late and they are swirling down the drain (and then I feel terribly guilty). It also can be hard to carry out the logistics of catch-and-release while soaking wet and possibly soapy.

Yesterday, I was lucky. The spider showed itself as soon as I opened the shower curtain, dropping in front of my face on a cord of silk. I grabbed the string of silk, and reattached it to the knob of a nearby cabinet and went about my merry business. Apparently, I wasn't thorough enough, though.

This morning, Spidey was back, and I didn't spy it until I was already lathered up. The poor creature was clinging to the wet shower curtain. I was careful for the rest of the shower, trying to keep water from spraying in Spidey's direction. Once I toweled off, I freed the little spider from the water droplet where it was trapped by surface tension. The spider seemed to recover quickly, suggesting by its mobility that it had not drowned. This time I moved it further away, to the guest room, where I put it on a houseplant.

Spider, meet spider plant.


Aliki2006 said...

I do the same thing! I try and relocate spiders eveyr chance I get--other bugs don't fare as well, though.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I've had nearly identical adventures with spiders and have relocated hundreds, maybe thousands of them. Unfortunately, I miss some, and recently one got into the water. I carefully fished it out, but it never recovered and I felt terrible.

When I lived in Idaho, there were black widows--and I rescued mnay of them as well. In summer, I carried them carefully outdoors. In the winter, I carefully walked around them and left them until summer when I could remvoe them without endangering them. It always made me a little nervous.

Nicole said...

Oh, you are so sweet to be involved in spider rescue. Our spiders reside in the sky light above the shower. Nice a moist but without the shower spray. We cohabitate with a lot of different species around here too.

JF, scientist said...

Alas, I grew up around hundreds of black widows, and so I have a morbid fear of black spiders. Especially shiny ones. When we found them indoors, we, er, killed them rather. That whole lethal thing outweighed the humane thing. (Though the local hospitals all stock the antivenin, which is why the neighbor survived being bitten.) I do relocate non-black spiders though; I applaud your non-squeamishness.

And you know what else really freaks me out? Brown recluses. They also live in Virginia. Ewwwwwww.

Sara said...

JF: I would definitely approach spiders differently if they were poisonous, especially if they appeared in the shower with me. Confronting deadly creatures while naked holds zero appeal.

Mary: It sounds like you took spider rescue to heroic levels with the black widows in Idaho. I could see careful catch-and-release in the summer. But your winter efforts were definitely over the top. Congratulations on surviving those years!