First some reassurance – I am by nature an arachnophobe, and on the off-chance you are, too, this blog post has no images of spiders – apart from the pretty tame Miss Muffet picture, so feel free to read this before you decide if you would like to visit my spider gallery page.
One of my former editors insisted we did not print big pictures of spiders in our morning paper as he did not want people turning the page and choking over their porridge (or curds and whey).
Why do I dislike spiders? Who knows? When I was a child they were there lying in wait in the dark outside toilet, but surely it’s more than that…
It’s strange that I’m OK with very small spiders and possibly VERY big ones such as plump tarantulas or even Shelob in Lord of the Rings.
What really gets me is the full-size house spider, Tegenaria gigantea. Don’t expect any pictures of that here! I relate other house spiders to this benchmark, so I always think of “half-size” or “quarter-size” spiders.
Size is important, and also surroundings – I’m OK with spiders in the garden as long as they don’t dangle over my head or neck.
I am OK with most insects, so I can only conclude it’s the EIGHTNESS of spiders that gets me. The SIXNESS of insects is fine.
Spiders also tend to stick around. You can’t just drive them away as you can with winged insects.
Maybe it’s the bulbous abdomen – which makes them pop not crunch when you splat them.
At university I was influenced by The Descent of Woman by Welsh writer Elaine Morgan and the aquatic ape theory. But I’m not sure I agree with her idea that women are scared of spiders because they were scared of crabs on the beach during that phase of evolution when we were living on the shore. I’m not scared of crabs…
Although I shudder at spiders, I am also fascinated by them and last year I vowed to try to identify them and photograph them instead of stamping on them. It was probably in autumn, when garden spiders are so big and juicy.
I did have a bit of a setback the other week when spring-cleaning the garage. Sorry, I cannot tell a lie, I did squish a couple.
However, I then got back on track when I saw movement on the carpet one bright morning and realised it was a woodlouse spider (Dysdera crocata). These big (but not huge) red-legged things REALLY made me cringe when I was a child, but this time I found an old drinking glass and trapped it while I went for my camera.
Then a few days later I managed to snap a tiny zebra spider (Salticus scenicus) on a sunny wall, so I feel I am back on track and it’s time to publish my finds…
Now go to my spider gallery if you dare…