Monday, May 29, 2006

Creeeeepy (the evidence)

There she is - my evening visitor from last night, moments before I blasted her with bug spray.

The baseboard she's on is 2.5 inches wide. And what's that glinting in the flash - fangs?

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Anonymous dre! said...


Did I tell you I hate spiders?

I am no spider expert, but I just did maybe 10 minutes of web research and I think it's a harmless funnel spider. But it kind of looks like a brown recluse. I hope those bastards aren't in New Jersey!

5/29/2006 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger bibliofilly said...

That one brown recluse really looks like it, but the markings are almost certainly that of a wolf spider, which is harmless.
And brown recluses really don't live this far north, so relax.

If the screen isn't fixed when I get home today, I am printing a copy of the spider pic and showing the management what's getting inside.

5/30/2006 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger karen said...

She wasn't a brown recluse - she's a wolf spider. The glinting is her eyes - she's got (well, had...) eight. Wolf spiders are generally not a danger to humans or pets. Even if you do manage to get a bite, it'll just swell up and be itchy - not necrotic like a hobo spider or a brown recluse. I have all this on good authority from an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC. In an effort to find out if we should burn down the house or not, I took our first spider in to AMNH for identification. The look on the guard's face when he discovered a huge, live spider in my bag was priceless! The entomologist who checked her out for me was thrilled - ours was the largest wolf spider he'd ever seen and, on close inspection, he told me she was pregnant. We kept her over the winter and got our own little national geographic lesson. Wolf spiders attach their egg sacs to their rear and carry them around until the spiderlings come out; then they carry the spiderlings around on their body for a week or so until they're big enough to move on their own. Surprisingly cute! I have pictures but can't figure out how to post them in a blog comment.

5/30/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger bibliofilly said...

I am increasingly sorry that I killed her. I hope she wasn't a mommy!

5/30/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous dre said...

Maybe it wasn't a she?

Where did you keep the pregnant spider? How many babies did she have? What in the world did you do with them?

Sorry for all the questions, but I don't know of anyone who wouldn't have squashed the mommy or at least released her into the wild.

5/30/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger karen said...

It was probably a she. The males are quite a lot smaller and not so filled-out looking. You’re also much less likely to find a male around, because the females eat them.

We kept our spiders in an acrylic box, approximately 15” x 8” x 10”, with a ventilated top. it had a layer of wood chips, then a layer of forest loam which was kept slightly damp. we had a ceramic water dish set into the loam and a large (6”?) fake hollow rock cave that took up about ¼ of the floor area.

The crickets had a similar set up, but it was much smaller. I felt minorly bad about being a slum lord and cramming ten crickets into half the space one spider got, but the crickets rarely lasted more than a day or two so there wasn’t really time to feel awful about it.

Our first pregnant spider had (we think, they’re awfully small to start) fifty-two spiderlings and ate every one of them. We released her into the wild (back of our wooded lot) in May on her own. Our second pregnant spider (because you can’t possibly get by with just one…) had fewer - forty something – and ate all but eleven of them. We figure she was fuller since she’d consumed two males. Either that or she felt less crowded? She was smaller than the first mama. We released her and the remaining spiderlings into the wild the next May. The spiderlings are the size of pinheads when they come out and grow really fast – in about four weeks, they were roughly the size of dimes.

As for not squishing them, it’s hard to squish something the size of a hamster. I may possibly have collected some cool mom points for keeping them, though, especially if you consider that providing for them was not cheap! All told, setting them up cost roughly $40, with an average weekly cricket expenditure of $2. Cricket food (who thought you’d need to feed your pet’s food??) was ridiculous - $8 per jar of gelatinous cricket cubes – but heaven forbid your spider should eat malnourished crickets…

6/02/2006 10:03:00 PM  

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