Despite my fascination with nature and science, and my fondness or critters in general, when it comes to the creepy, crawly varieties, there isn’t much love. This is especially true for spiders.
I’m very well aware of how useful spiders are, of the vast quantities of insects that they consume, of the pests that they manage, and of their general preference to avoid us as much as we wish to avoid them. They do a lot of good.
But they have too many goddamn legs, they skitter about too much, and I just frigging hate them! I’ll tolerate them outdoors, to a point – but once they enter my territory, be it my basement or my garage, all bets are off. Even just looking at these photos and writing this post is making my skin crawl.
I had several encounters with abnormally large spiders as a child – we’re talking spiders like those monstrosities in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Okay, so I exaggerate; they weren’t that large, but they seemed it at the time. And they were about the size of my hand, so we’re talking a leg spread of 4-6 inches. See that crawl out of your recliner chair and tell me how you feel about it!
Because of this, any kayaking expedition begins with the de-spidering of said kayaks. This is especially true at my parent’s house, where the kayaks are kept under the deck on a rack and become frequent homes for crawly things. I won’t get in one before thoroughly hosing it out first. (Another reason why sit-on-top kayaks are good!)
The spider in these photos is a variety of Wolf Spider, and a female to be sure. That’s her egg sack that she’s carrying around under her abdomen. She was clinging to the tarp that covered the kayaks, and she got hosed off into the grass when I cleaned it off.
Honesty time: if I displaced a bird from a nest, I’m sure I’d try to put it back. But I wasn’t about to try and catch this critter and rescue it. I settled for a few photos of her in the grass, then went on my merry way. Being out in the open like that made her an inviting snack for the local birds, I’m sure, and perhaps especially so for the nesting wren, which was then spending it’s whole day foraging for its nestlings.
The camera provides a certain amount of insulation for me when it comes to subjects like this. I’m sure as hell not going to break out the macro lens, but at 300mm I’m a comfortable distance away, and am able to focus on the technical aspects of getting the shot (as opposed, say, to the hairs on this thing’s legs – good grief!).
So there you have it. Tell me I’m a bad naturalist. There’s a lot of people I know who would have killed it outright, and I didn’t do that at least. Maybe she made it across the lawn and into the safety of the leaf-litter in the woods. Where her eggs could hatch, and little baby spiders could swarm all over and……ick.