Eight-legged freaks!

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I was shifting some things on the back porch when I saw it: the biggest spider I’ve ever seen in this province.

It wasn’t huge, I suppose. The circumference of its legs was no bigger than a few others I’ve seen since we moved here three years ago. But it was pretty sturdy, and sturdy all around. A wolf spider maybe.

I dropped the object it was on and retreated. And later, when I was using the barbecue, I made sure I was wearing shoes.

As you may have guessed, arachnophobes might want to skip this post. Yes, I’ll be bringing you all the spider news that’s fit to pirate from other people’s web-sites.

Like this little fella, who found a nice place to stay cozy for five days or so: http://www.shortlist.com/home/spider-found-in-ear

Or this little info tidbit: apparently hot weather south of the border is bringing out the creepy crawlies: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/08/drought-heat-bring-spiders-out/?hpt=hp_t3

Thank goodness it hasn’t been unseasonably hot in Nova Scotia this summer, eh?

This will be old news to a few of you, but some researchers have managed to use genetic engineering to create spider-goats: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/CuttingEdge/spinning-tough-spider-silk-goat-milk/story?id=98095

OK, that was pretty skuzzy, the way I tricked you into thinking there’d be a big goat with tons of eyes and legs hunkered down in an acre-sized web. Still, though, can’t help but think I’d get a slight chill every time I saw a goat with spider lurking in its genes.

Ever heard of these little fellas? The Sydney funnel web is big, aggressive and highly poisonous. Oh, and it can survive submerged in water – like a swimming pool – for far too long: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMiZq1vWGAk

Nova Scotia is blessedly spared from such critters, as is most of Canada – although black widows make an occasional appearance in places like southern Ontario. I never saw one when I traveled to cottage country in that province, but these were common: http://www.frontenacnews.ca/2009/09-25_jun_25/outdoors_lol_09-25.html

And saw lots of these (http://www.richard-seaman.com/Insects/Japan/Spiders/GiantWood/) when we lived in Japan.

I do have a soft spot for jumping spiders, however. And apparently they’ve developed quite a fan base online: http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/447253.page

I’m working on my comfort level with insects generally. Centipedes are obviously vile, of course, but I’m challenging myself to get past my bias against spiders. The positive self-talk re. bugs has actually had some effect, too: I’m much more relaxed around stinging insects, such as wasps, for example, and less repulsed by slugs than I used to be (not technically insects, but definitely creepy crawlies).

Anyway, you can take comfort in knowing our cold climate insures the worst thing that could bite your toe when you put on your slippers is a fat, hairy, gray monster probably no bigger than a loonie…unless you live on Church or Victoria streets, where some surprisingly large arachnids have been found: http://content.lincolnelectric.com/graphics/email/archive/iweld/1005/spider_large.jpg

Probably not in your house, though. I wouldn't worry about it. Forget I even mentioned it.


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