My Mother Loved Spiders

My wife doesn’t particularly care for spiders, but out of respect for me, she doesn’t kill them. When we were first married, she would often say “There’s a spider in the bathroom, can you remove it?” And I would go in and pick it up and go into the hall and just sort of set it on a bookshelf or something.

It was quite a while before she saw me doing this, and our resulting surprise was mutual. She couldn’t believe I wasn’t taking them outside, and I honestly hadn’t realized that’s what she was asking. I just figured she didn’t like them in the bathroom for some reason. It had never occurred to me to evict them.

Growing up (in that same house), we never killed spiders. I was taught that they ate insects, and so we respected them. My brother even had a bunch of pet spiders in an aquarium for a while, and later got a tarantula. We had them in our rather wilderness-ish backyard, and they’d occasionally come in the house, and just let them alone. At one time, we had a spider just on the wall of our living room, for months, which we called “our front-room spider.”

Part of the reason my wife doesn’t like spiders is apparently she’s been bitten by them. I have never gotten a spider bite. My theory is that of mutual respect. They know I like them, and in return they like me.

On the oh-so-wonderful occasions I get to crawl under the house in the 14-inch dirt-floored crawlspace, blowtorch in hand, to fix the plumbing, I see hundreds of spider webs and egg sacs. That would be horrifying to most arachnophobes, but it doesn’t bother me. They see me coming, say “it’s okay, he’s cool” and leave me alone.

My mother was an interesting woman. The stereotype is that women are more likely to be squicked out by bugs and such, but she always liked spiders. We once had fleas and needed to bug-bomb the house. She handed me a cardboard box, and told me to go throughout the house, collecting all the spiders, and take them outside so they’d be safe.

After we bug bombed the house, she told me to go ahead and put them back.

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One Comment

  1. Mary Schramm:

    I have also liked spiders all of my life, and they seem to like and trust me. I believe this is from a sense they get of how I love them and they know I will not hurt them.

    House spiders are in a house for a reason. They will die outside. I also used to put them outside, but in my research found the fact that a house spider is where he needs to be. Without them, we would be overrun with tiny insects that can get into our houses regardless of how tight our doors, windows, etc. are. I also found that outside spiders are very numerous, numbering about 5,000 species to an acre. They are not prone to bite and are more afraid of us than we are of them. They are also trusting of me. I respect that they do not want to be handled and will bite out of fear. I was told by my mother that it is bad luck to kill a spider.

    I had the unique gift of being able to watch an extremely large spider, on an extremely large web, on my front porch. The sun would set and I could see exactly what he was doing with the last rays of light. At exactly sunset he would begin to repair his web. The silk would come from the front leg and it was woven in the most beautiful way. In the beautiful evening rays of the setting sun, the silk from his leg and the web would be all different colors. After a long repair job, he would settle down for the night’s work of getting his dinner. This continued for a month and half or so and then one night I went out and the entire web was gone. I was so upset and called my husband out and he pointed up to the wall above the porch, and there was a cocoon made from the entire web. I am supposing the dying or dead spider had laid eggs and the spider itself was going to be a source of food for it’s young. And so the cycle of life went on.

    The people in my life find my love of spiders strange. I also love nature and all that is in it. Since I can’t replace life, I don’t destroy it in any way.

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