Hello, Spider

As I was waking up this morning and staring at the ceiling, I saw a brown spot start to move. I watched the spider crawl along, defying gravity with what I assumed were its eight “sticky paws”. Suddenly it wasn’t there, and I thought, “Uh-oh, now it’s on the floor and I have to kill it.” But I didn’t see it on the floor. I looked up and there it appeared on the ceiling again. I finally realized it was dropping down, either by accident or design, on a spinner thread, then crawling back up. It’s apparently building a web. Watched this until s/he went behind a blade of the ceiling fan, then I lost him/her. Now see it some days, not others.

You can tell it’s been a long winter when I’m so hungry for watching wildlife that a spider is a big deal. (I am, happily, not especially unnerved by them.) I started wondering:  how the heck do they stay up there, anyway? Went to the web, and found a site for kids under 10 years, called Ask a Grown-up:

“If you could take a really close look at a spider, then you would see that their feet are covered in tiny little triangular hairs. They look a little bit like paddles on the ends of stalks, and they give the spider a much bigger surface area. When the feet make contact with a wall or ceiling, they create a force – a temporary attraction between the bottom of the spider’s foot and whatever surface it’s on (the grown-up name for it is van der Waals forces).”

I see while searching that I’m not the only one curious about this. Here are other questions being looked up:

Can spiders die and still hang on the ceiling?

How do spiders walk on walls/ceilings without falling off?

Why would a spider spend days in the same place on the ceiling?

How do I get the spider off my ceiling?

How do you feel about sharing your home with critters?

What wild life are you looking forward to seeing as we edge (ever so slowly) toward spring?

54 thoughts on “Hello, Spider”

  1. Morning all. Well having adult onset allergies to dust mites has made me think a lot about who I’m sharing the house with. And although I wish I didn’t think about it quite as much as I do cuz it’s a little gross. I know that there’s spiders here but I don’t see them often and thanks to having kitties I don’t see mice either. So except for the dogs and the cats and the YA and the dust mites and the occasional spiders I’m not sure what else I’m sharing the house with. Do I really want to know?

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  2. OT. For Blevins book club members, we need a new host for Sunday April 15th. Jim and Cathy have had something come up so that they can’t host. I can do it unless anybody else wants to volunteer. And also for those who were at the last Blevins Book Club, you’ll be happy to know that Territorial Imperative by Robert Ardrey has gone to the library book sale now.

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      1. Aw, the name has been corrected. I thought you all were a much darker group than I had imagined. What was it? ‘The Blood Book club’ or something?? I kinda liked that!

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  3. The kitten and I noticed a very small moth flitting around earlier this week. I hope it wasn’t feasting on my sweaters all winter. I don’t mind spiders but I prefer them outside. Dust mites? Oh, I hate to think of the mites we have given how dusty it is out here. We sometimes have wasps in our window wells. The robins are back, and I thought I heard migrating geese yesterday.

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  4. I lived most of my life thinking that spider webs were made by spiders, but cob webs were probably something else. Then I stopped to wonder, what critter did make cob webs? Cobs?

    I got along with the critters who shared my living spaces, all but the mice and the bears. I had conflicts with both of them. My first English setter used to say unrepeatable things to the deer that grazed in front of our Wisconsin cabin, but after bears began coming around Spook decided deer weren’t so bad after all. That culminated in four bears throwing a party in our cabin, and no, they didn’t clean up after themselves.

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  5. One of our cats brought a live bird into the house. By the time we got the bird away from the cat, it looked like someone had been plucking chickens in the house. Our terrier at the time had to join in the hullabaloo and chase, of course. Pandemonium ensued. We don’t let our current cats ouside. I fear they would both be excellent mousers and birders.

    Every so often in the elemenatary school I attended, the custodian would have to flush a sewer rat back from whence it came. You can imagine the screams from the bathrooms when a child saw one of those in the toilet.

    What about cereal bugs?

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  6. While very few things gross me out or bother me, I cannot handle spiders of any ilk. When I see a spider, it’s death warrant has just been issued and it will surely see a quick demise. Yes, they have wonderful uses — just not in my house.
    Jim had gotten some nasty little spider bites on his ankle last summer, and combined with his diabetes turned into a tortuous, itchy rash all over his body for months.
    So yeah, no spiders allowed in my sight.

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  7. In the summer Piper would prefer constant access to the outside and a doggie door won’t work on our door or wall to the backyard. My cousin has a lovely magnet-closing fabric screen on the door out to their deck and it worked beautifully for them. So, we bought one. It worked well until Piper decided to go in and out the side (where it’s velcroed to the door jam) rather than the middle where the magnets are. It didn’t seem to be a problem and since he’s not good at learning new things, we let it happen. Until the day a terrified mole was sitting in the middle of the basement family room. He was easy for John to catch and release, but the dog can no longer let himself out and in from the family room (or anywhere else)!

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    1. One of our Welsh Terriers learned how to open the screen on our sliding doors that lead to the deck by simply sliding it open with her nose. She never brought prey into the house, though.

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    2. Our son has a Westie named Baxter. He would love to catch a mole and bring it in the house. Their cat is mean, and purposely went into the bathroom, closed the door partially, and waited for Baxter to stick his nose in the opening, whereupon the cat scratched him. The cat kept it up until son removed her from the bathroom. The cat also has taken to opening their dresser drawers and strewing their socks and underwear all over the house when they are at work. The dog is kenneled, so they know he isn’t doing it.

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      1. Oh yeah, I was nonplussed by it’s appearance. John was none to happy about it, but I had the woman card and I played it. I don’t think Piper brought the mole in, I think it saw an opportunity, and in a moment of curiosity, bravery, or stupidity, waltzed in by himself. I could be wrong though. Piper did seem as surprised as we were to see it. The way Piper was using the screen, made it nearly an invitation to unwanted visitors.

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    3. We used to have a dog door and it was great until we got a cat. Since I don’t want the cats outside, no more doggie door.

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  8. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    A cat of yore brought a striped ground squirrel in my house and released it. Unfortunately it was worse for the wear and it collapsed so we could remove it. Ugh.

    One of our dogs has been sick for 2days after an attempted food change that did not go well. We are watching her carefully and she is now in a broth diet until her tummy settles. I was up a lot last night cleaning her kennel.

    Three days ago we saw a javelina pig right outside the condo. Oh my.

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    1. Oh, that’s too bad. Our big Humphrey has a delicate stomach. He’s on the special food. he’s just a big ole sensitive soul in the first place. I love him for that.

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  9. We had a cat that was afraid of everything outdoors . . . until he experimented and found he loved the outdoors. He then began importing critters to be play companions indoors. We were amazed at some of what he brought us. A baby woodock, for one. And once be brought in a kangaroo rat, something I had never seen except in a Disney film.

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      1. No. I actually netted and released both the baby woodcock and the kangaroo rat. Hopped just like a big kangaroo. The surprise for me was when the cat brought in frogs. Hard to imagine a cat walking around with a frog in its mouth!

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        1. I didn’t think kangaroo rats lived in Minnesota, and as it turns out, they don’t. The gift that your cat presented you with was more likely a meadow jumping mouse, which I didn’t even know existed. Learn something new on this trail with regular intervals. Was this at your house in St. Paul or at your cabin?

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        2. We have kangaroo rats out here in the Badlands. A ranching friend had one in her pickup truck. It was alarming.

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        3. Good catch, PJ. This happened in the summer we lived in the basement of a fly fishing tackle store near Brule, Wisconsin. That’s about 20 minutes from where the cabin in northwestern Wisconsin. That area is home to the woodland hopping mouse, but not the kangaroo rat.

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        4. Yes, Steve. Both meadow jumping mouse, not field, and woodland. Minnesota has, if you count voles, shrews, mice, rat, lemmings, moles, chipmunks, squirrels about 30 small rodents that are indigenous to all or parts of the state.

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  10. During the summer months when the basement is, shall we say, damp, centipedes tend to congregate down there. Thankfully, spiders take care of most of them. I find their remains in cobwebs. During spring and summer, we’ll sometimes have tiny ants. They’re attracted to the dry cat food that is always available for Martha on the counter by the back door.

    Although I never see mice, I do see occasional evidence that they’re inside at least part of the year. Since I’m not allergic to dust mites (thank god, or I’d no doubt be miserable) I’m not going to worry about them since they’re too small for me to see. Pretty much anything smaller than mini dachshund is, these days.

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    1. I found a partially chewed mouse head in our basement a couple of years ago. I think mousie came in the house in a box full of ripening tomatoes from the garage, and was speedily dispatched by a cat. Mice out here carry Hanta virus, which can kill you. I am thankful our house has been mouse free for all the years we lived in it.

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  11. Then there are the weird bugs in the basement that I only see around cat hurl or under bricks. Husband calls them pill bugs. We no longer have cats who hurl regularly.

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  12. I am looking forward to getting outside and seeing more birds, even squirrels and chipmunks. I’ve seen an occasional bunny, but there are enough cats around that I’m not concerned about too many of them.

    I’m not looking forward to tick season, and will stay away from the wilder areas, after last summer’s bout of Lyme.

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  13. I once had a bat in the house, many years ago. I came home from work and found the cats sitting and staring at a filing cabinet that was on casters, with only an inch or so of clearance beneath it. The bat had wedged itself underneath. I shut the cats in the kitchen and carefully moved the filing cabinet, expecting something to scurry out from under it, but the bat was just lying there not moving. I put a bowl over it and slid a piece of cardboard underneath it and carried it out to the garage and left it. The old garage I had at the time was not very structurally sound and had some openings where the roof met the walls, so I was sure the bat would not be trapped if it recovered. When I checked on it the next day, it had one. It didn’t have any visible injuries, so I figured it was probably okay. This was before I knew about the Wildlife Rehab Center, or I likely would have taken it there.

    I was happy that I found the bat during the day when it was torpid, and didn’t have to manage its removal at night, when it would have been flying around.

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