• Spider rescue goes wrong – but ends in beautiful new relationship

    Sep 12th

    There is a frequent early-morning call in our house that goes something like this:

    ‘Ahhhhhhh! You’ve got 10 seconds to come get this or I’m killing it !’

    The high-pitched call emanates from the kitchen at around 8 am. Spiders are common in our house.

    Trying to persude Ann that we are all creatures that must share this earth doesn’t work when the long legged insect is crawling towards the kitchen surface and any reasoning I employ is quickly rebuffed by the logically inconsistent but blindingly effective reply of:

    ‘But it’s bloody massive!!!’

    (I should add:   Ann is concerned this blog is making her out to be a crazy insect-killing machine.This is not the case. Most of us hate spiders too and Ann has many qualities other than wanting to kill spiders, including being gorgeous, kind and tolerant,  but my point is the spiders don’t always take that into account when she screams at them holding a wooden spoon.)

    This morning I took the spider in question out of our back door, let it crawl up my arm, made it pose for a brief photo (for you dear reader, I will do anything) and then threw it gently into the bushes.

    Imagine my surprise when I saw it stop in mid-flight – not on any leaf or wall but on nothing. It bounced a little in mid-air and then came to a pause as if landing on an invisible trampoline. I looked a little closer..

    Oh no…

    I’d thrown the spider right into another spider web….

    And on this other web was  another spider that was a smaller, and if I could understand spider-ese , I was it was also screaming


    Needless to say I panicked at the chaos that was about to unfold. But not before I managed to take a picture of the two spiders on the web.

    The spider I threw is on the left of frame, now at the centre of the web, the other, native spider, is trying to escape.

    After very little time the big spider was now at the centre of his new web, breathing heavily, enjoying his new unlawful home.

    I felt bad. You would too.  Imagine finding a little house with a small person in it quietly knitting a quilt,  and throwing a big hairy man with way too many arms into the house who shouts  ‘GET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE’!

    Why is it that the best intentions can go so wrong? Why is it that heartfelt compassion can lead to spider-refugees?

    But then, as if answering my neurotic concerns, the universe unfolded to reveal its true beauty. The smaller spider came back to the centre of his web so that he was directly facing the big spider from the other side, and just when I thought it was offering himself up for a weird canabilistic suicide ritual, they both stopped moving and stared into each other’s eyes. Well, lets say they faced each other.  I watched them for about 5 minutes. T

    Spidery love?

    ‘I think I’ve given the spider a friend’ I said to Ann when I went back inside. ‘I think I’ve saved the spider….from himself’

    ‘That’s great, that’s really great’ she said in a distracted way whilst making coffee.

    ‘No, I really think I have,’

    I am aware that, whilst trying to act on my compassion, there is a considerable risk – a risk that may be more evident to Ann, and indeed you the reader – that I think I am doing more good than I am.  It is something to do with the ego wanting to see itself as a helper.

    Realising I had to up my game I spent the rest of the day researching what I could do beyond setting up spider-dates to make a difference. I was beginning to formulate a plan.

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    3 Responses to “Spider rescue goes wrong – but ends in beautiful new relationship”

    1. I camw down in night and found a small bodied leggy spider trussing up a bigger hairy type spider to kill. I rescued the hairy fella and started cutting the web threads binding its legs. It can now walk a bit but the threads are still stuck to it and as it walks any bits of dust or hair in its wake are sticking to it. Its hungry as its abdomen is shrivelled and i found a little fly to feed it but this is just stuck to the residual web threads now. What shall I do?

    2. Not 100% sure as I’m not a spider expert (about all I’m good for is distinguishing the two potentially-life-threatening, put-you-in-the-hospital-if-you-slip-up-rescuing-them spider species that live in my home state from ones it’s safe to just toss outside), and due to the lack of color in the pictures, but it’s *possible* that these spiders didn’t attack each other because they are potential mates…males, I’ve heard, are often much smaller than the females, at least in some species.

      Also, irrelevant but spiders and wasps (specifically velvet ants) are pretty much my favorite arthropod species in the world.

    3. thanks for the interesting comment. Didn’t know about velvet ants!

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