Sunday, August 05, 2012

Picture copied from the  Snakes.co.za Forum
Almost a month ago I discovered a spider at the back of our house where the cats are which I originally mistaken for a Black Widow Spider. It was perched up inside its mess of a web near the roof beneath the skylight and for days on end whenever I would feed the cats I would watch it. Stare at it fascinated, actually. All because of a childhood regret when I was hunting for spiders to use in competitions where we would set two spiders on a stick to duke it out like small gladiators. During recess or lunch I would abandon playing with other kids and scour the old wing of the school buildings in our school. One day me and this kid were of one mind looking for spiders. Any kind of spider would do that we would house in discarded matchboxes. We were looking through the recesses of these old windows poking the sides with small sticks when I came on this small window corner with dense webs. I poked it with small stick but it broke so I abandoned it in search of a new stick or an obvious spider. This kid following right behind me poked the same small corner and was rewarded with a beautiful black widow spider. My jaw dropped as I marveled at the sight of its black shiny-ness and bright red marking on its belly. Wishing I could have poked harder earlier then I would have been rewarded with that spider for myself. I could only look in helplessness as he slipped in his matchbox.

Fast forward, while looking at this lone spider I eventually spied an egg and after a week or so the egg became a cluster of small spiders. I didn't think much of it as I noticed the cluster become smaller and smaller after another week. Forward further another week and a half, I discovered a huge spider in one corner, then a few weird looking cluster of eggs. Was I being rewarded with the "loss" of that special spider back in childhood? I kept watching these spiders in complete (morbid) fascination knowing at the back of head they were poisonous. But they weren't doing anything just hanging around. There's nothing wrong with it, right? I thought of finally announcing the news in Twitter yesterday but thought I'd better research a bit on the thing to better know if announcing it using a happy tone would be appropriate. I was wrong.

Everything I read about the species advised not to let them thrive and instead get rid of them as soon as possible. Further research about the matter pointed to identity of the spider as a Brown Widow Spider with the picture of the unusual looking eggs pointing out the difference. It's not as aggressive as its cousin but a lot of websites still advising the same, to get rid of it. So, OK. Much as I'm torn (really I do) on the issue of relocating them vs. eliminating them I'd best do the latter for the sake of the cats I'm taking care of.

So far I've managed to pinpoint half a dozen the pictures of which can be viewed after the jump. (WARNING: Really icky close-up spider pictures ahead, don't click if you're uncomfortable with the sight of them) 

I'm thinking of letting them live and advertising them online to arachnid collectors. Should I still let them live in spite of the danger they pose? Ergh! We'll see. I'll still be buying a bug spray in the meantime.

* Some guy captured one and kept it as a pet. That's something I could not and WOULD NOT do. Really!

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