Spiders: One from the Archive

You naughty, naughty people! Come looking for kinky spider lovin ! Come on admit it, thats why you here! Although I have posted some nasty buggers, it’s not that kind of nasty!

It all started back in the mid ninties. My wife, my two daughters and I had moved out of married student housing (in Knoxville) and were renting a two bedroom house. Along the way we had acquired a kitten, which we named Pounce because he liked to pounce on peoples feet. Anyway, one day a rather mean looking spider comes walking across the floor and stops dead in front of the kitten, who promptly bit it in half. How weird. Several days later I saw another one, then a couple more. Within a week, we were killing about 5-6 a day (normally I don’t kill spiders that wander in doors – usually I set them free – but these were some nasty looking buggers). See for your self:
recluse.jpgNasty Bugger
recluse%202.jpgNastier Bugger
Anyway, one morning I woke up and my inner thigh was sore, started swelling. Every muscle and joint in my body started hurting, I developed a fever. Next day I went to the ER, but after spending eight hours in the waiting room gave up. Several days later I was taking a bath when the swollen area developed what looked like hundreds of tiny white blisters -which burst. After about a month of pain I finally started feeling better. I’m almost positive it was a brown recluse – and have a dead one I caught in a jar that I have schlepped around ever since. Granted, I’m not a doctor, or a spider expert, but it looks identical to the picture. The symptoms I experienced matched some of the lesser known symptoms of a brown recluse bite (the wound doesn’t always ulcerate). As mean as they look, Brown Recluses are actually wussies . Apparently, they are quite timid, which jives with the spiders I had in my house.
here , here and here are some interesting references on the brown recluse. Oh, and this one .
Fast forward to the year 1999. we had moved back to Missouri from Tennessee and were on a camping trip in south-central Missouri. My wife and youngest daughter had started to walk down a trail near our campsite when I heard my wife hollar for my daughter to freeze. “afarensis”, she said, (well, okay, she actually called me by my real name) come look at this. Is it what I think it is?” I walked over to where she was standing and saw:
Black Widow 1
One of the most beautiful spiders (and one of the only real Black Widow spiders I have ever seen. Disclaimer: I didn’t have a camera that day so these pictures are from the web). There she was, working in her web in all her glory. After a few minutes of looking we carefully went back to our campsite. I resumed my barbequeing and a few minutes later along comes the diminutive male black widow. “Turn around” I told him “Run away, she’s going to eat you after you serve your purpose” Of course he didn’t listen and I found out later that in some species of black widow the female does not eat the male.
Interesting links: black widow phylogeny
page06-1.jpgBlack Widow 2
So that’s why I say poisonous spiders must be my totemic animal.
Added on reposting: My family absolutely refuses to return to this campsite because of the Black Widow. Also, last summer a nearby resevoir collapsed temporarily closing one of the other State Parks in the area. I’m not sure if this particular camp ground was affected…

4 Responses

  1. Ew! You take the prize for the creepiest spider post, I’d say. I have a brown recluse hanging out on my porch… I’m tempted to go kill it now… before it does the kinky spider love thang.

  2. I’m of two minds about that. While we lived in that house my daughters were three and 7 and as I mentioned I got bit, so I had no problem killing them. If it’s not really posing a danger to you or your family I’d leave it…Still haven’t had the dead one looked at by anyone who knows a lot about spiders.

  3. Every house I’ve lived in has had a number of brown spiders that strongly resemble the top picture. It’s been about 18 years since I got bitten by one. The bite left a lump about the size of a fingernail. The lump turned black a day later. Not too painful, and it was gone in a week. Despite the strong resemblance, I doubt the spiders I’m thinking of are Brown Recluses. Brown Recluses are supposed to be rare where I live, and these guys are everywhere – even people who think they don’t have any spiders in their house have them. In any case they turn a neat blue-gray color as they get older, and whoever heard of a Blue Recluse?
    When I was a child, I got a pair of 2 foot high steel cabinets with about 40 small plastic drawers each. One I used to organize various odds an ends, and the other I stuck in a corner of my room and mostly ignored. But the numerous spiders in our house loved it dearly – I left the drawers open a bit, and it seemed whenever a spider needed to molt, it would crawl into a drawer, molt, and hang out for bit. At one point I had about 150 spider exoskeletons in it. In retrospect, it’s too bad I didn’t take the opportunity to dust the specimens (they were covered in dust) organize them, and identify them. Unfortunately I don’t recall what happened to it.

  4. Brown Recluses tend to be field dwellers, which is how we got ours. There was a field in some common area back of our house that was kind of overgrown with weeds. At one point someone came and cut all the weeds down, which is when we really started having problems…
    That would have been cool…and better than killing them!

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