I owe at least one family member my spider story; she’s waiting on pins and needles. The photo is not of "my spider" and the photo is not mine (see credit below), but "my spider" looked something like this.
I’ve been traveling a bit and will keep the location of my “spider incident” secret to protect my wonderful host’s anonymity. (He certainly wasn’t responsible for a critter coming into my room!!)
So, I had this really nice room near a body of water in a wooded area and winter’s a commin in South Africa. Mice, lizards, bees—all living things are coming inside to seek warmth and comfort from the dropping temperatures.
On night two of my stay, I’m piddling about my room, and it takes awhile, but after several minutes, I notice this very, very, very large spider hanging out nearby my clothes rack.
How large was he? I will say he was the size of a dinner plate. Well, ok, perhaps a dessert plate. He was so big that it took me awhile to notice him because I thought he was a piece of the furniture.
As I grow older, I find it increasingly difficult to kill any living creature, but especially spiders because they can be very helpful in the house and garden (they eat lots of other nasty bugs!). While I’m somewhat familiar with North American spiders, I’m not familiar at all with South African ones, but I do know that South Africa has poisonous spiders, and at least two of my college colleagues have recently experienced spider bites requiring medical attention.
Alas, I didn’t have my “every-thing-but mosquito net with me” and I couldn’t find a LARGE ENOUGH container to catch him and release him in. (I would have needed a cargo container.)
While I hated to kill him, it was a case of “him versus me” and I knew if I let him wander throughout the night, I wouldn’t sleep.
So, after mustering a great deal of courage, and then mustering even more courage, I squashed him. And squash he did. He made quite a mess.
By this time I was quite creeped out and couldn’t gather any more courage to clean his squashed self up, so I went to bed—and was able to sleep even though I was creeped out.
The next morning, although I hated to pass the buck, I was hoping the cleaning crew would wipe him up. No such luck as there was no visit from the cleaning crew the next day.
Ok, now I was into a good day-and-a-half of dried, squashed, messy spider goop and I couldn’t stand to look at him any longer. I TRIED to clean him up. Much to my dismay, his squashy self left an irremovable GREASE SPOT that looked like anything but a spider kill. “Nice,” I thought to myself.
The next day, I left my room for my daily duties and returned home to a march of ants that had come in from the ceiling on the opposite side of the room, and in their majestic single file, had tansversed the whole of the room to feast on the grease spot remaining from the spider kill. “Nice,” I thought.
The next day, cleaning crew attempted the mess. “Great! Here comes the aid of the professionals!” Much to my dismay, while they had successfully cleaned up the feasting ants (and their single file transversing the room), the nasty grease spot remained.
“Great,” I thought, “I’ve ruined their room.”
In all of this I was extremely self-centered and worried WHAT the cleaning crew might think of this nasty, greasy spot and what on earth I had done, as the spider’s squashed body had long gone by way of the trash can.
In my vanity and embarrassment, I left a note (and a tip) explaining that I’d killed a spider and was terribly sorry for the mess. Am mildly worried that I will receive a bill for a complete room renovation.
Since my “spider incident,” I’ve learned that my spider was very probably not poisonous at all, as is the case with most South African spiders. (As in the States, South African poisonous spiders are very small and distinctly marked.) I was somewhat reassured, however, that I likely avoided a “very painful bite.”
Photo of spider found: