(1) House Spider
(2) Bird Hide
Well, today we have two images of spiders. One that was in my bath and the other that was at the bird hide on the Kirk Dam... Two, that were about the same size, but looking entirely different, and I know which one that I would like to hold the least!
The one in my bath? Well I get them from time to time in my house, more so when it is warmer weather and the windows are open, as double glazing with vents in them will be closed in the wintertime. But! They are still there, at the top of your windows and doors, but most of the time in hiding, especially in the wet and windy conditions, when they will be snug in their cocoons. A warm spell will bring them out and about, looking for a tasty morsel. I have a TV aerial outside my bedroom window, and in the summertime it is festooned with them... The aerial itself is home to very small ones, with their own tiny webs that would only hold a midge, to the one that frequents the short pole that holds up the aerial, is the daddy of them all. It is a nasty piece of work, dealing with intruders post-haste, wrapping them up like a Saturday night take-away, to be devoured when required. This one disappears at the end of summer, and then emerges in the spring. It may not be the same one, but there is always one there.
Back to the one in my bath... It was the biggest one that I have ever had in my house. It scampered round and round the bath as I tried to place the two pence piece beside it to let you have a comparison to its size. It led me a merry dance, running around the bath as though it was a racing circuit, but it was on a loser, as it could not escape, and I had plenty of time. Eventually, it gave up and let me take a few images of it. I then coaxed it on to my hand, and I closed my fingers over it without causing damage, then deposited it on the grass outside, which was a waste of time, as it was a house spider, and so would try to return.
Now the bird hides one... It is a ferocious looking one, and about the same size as the one that was in my bath... It was capable of catching flies, and even Daddy Long Legs. I think that it looks ferocious because it was filmed from below its body as opposed to the bath one from above... Here you can now see what a formidable predator it is.
I watched it and others many times as I was in the hide bird watching. When I would have my break, with my flask of coffee and my usual banana, I would be entertained with the antics. They were as hungry as me, catching flying insects, injecting them, then wrapping them up for later on... This one had a full larder, and newer kills would be wrapped up and left on the web.
They are not daft. They seem to realize that the wooden flaps in the hide open inwards, so they do not attach their webs to them, saves them doing crawling repairs.
But! Like all webs they are at the mercy of wind and rain, and it shows. Many a day the one outside my window is practically non- existent, but, by evening, it is once again brand new, till the next winds destroy it once more.
The ones at the hide may look fiercer, but I take them on my hand without fear of them, and have never had any problems, but they are not everyone cup-of-tea.
On the subject of the spiders food 'flies', where they have all gone... When I was young and fridges in a house were a luxury, there were flies everywhere during the summer, and food was bought on a daily basis, as it would soon go off... It was kept in the coolest place in the house, usually in the scullery, and covered with muslin cloth to keep the flies at bay. There were that many that purchase of small cardboard containers about three inches long, which held a length of what seemed like thin cardboard about two feet long, which was covered in a brown resinous stuff, which was very very sticky, and both sides were coated. If, when hanging the on the ceiling, and getting it wrapped around your arm, it was hard to unwrap it. They held what seemed like up to a hundred flies on them and one would not last the summer. When they were full, they were put in the bin, as once a fly got onto one, death was a slow process, as starvation was the cause.
Now with fridges, we do not have this problem, but we do not need the fridges now as there are no flies, not in the home anyway.. Occasionally a Blue Bottle will enter through an open door or window, and then buzz around, crashing into panes of glass, which are invisible to them, trying to get out... They never seem to be able to find the way that they came in, in the first place... A rolled up Daily Record, Revalie,or Tit Bits, would soon persuade them to exit a.s.a.p., if not the newspaper would come crashing down on one that had landed on the wall of a newly decorated living room, leaving a tell-tale mark of a squashed Blue Bottle that would be there till it was redecorated again. So no flies to talk of, so what keeps the spiders ticking over? It has got me stumped.
First Published in the Buteman 11-04-2008