The Eight Legged Monster

Last night I decided to sleep early. As usual, I got so distracted and ended up sleeping at my normal time. My distraction was of the eight legged variety.

So what happened was that I was brushing my teeth and I was doing one of my physio exercises at the same time. I have a weak right ankle and my physiotherapist recommended balancing on that leg only, with eyes shut whilst brushing my teeth. It sounds a bit absurd but next time you are brushing your teeth, give it a go – not easy! Balance not being one of my strengths, I almost ended up in the bathtub. Lucky for this chap, I didn’t.

Giant House Spider in Bathtub

I’m sure the spider and the other members of my household are glad I am no screamer when it comes to spiders. Screaming is definitely a bad idea in a tiled bathroom. Anyhow, I got my camera and that’s how I deprived myself of an extra half hour of sleep. Sad isn’t?

This spider is often seen in my house during summer. They are quite common and are known as giant house spiders. If we were to get technical, I believe this to be a Tegenaria gigantean but I’m no arachnid specialist so this is just a humble guess based on the spider’s size and location (South east of England). I am unsure of it’s gender. The size seems to be quite large which makes me think it’s a female but this time of the year, it is usually males who roam around looking for a mate.  Abdomen looked to be between 1.5-2cm but I never confirmed with a true measurement.

You’ve probably experienced this at least once in your life, where you find a great big spider trapped in the bath tub. To prevent these nasty surprises, the British Arachnological Society recommends placing a towel on the edge of the bath tub so the spider can leave. As tempted as some may be, turning on the tap is a quite cruel thing to do. Spider escaped into my sister’s room and since she was not at home at the time, all was well.

Giant House Spider

So what do you if you find one of these beasts roaming the floor? Turn on the vacuum cleaner?  Wrong! If you can live with them, that’s great as they do rid you of all those pesky little flies. If the ideal repulses you, no fear, relocate them! As a Spider Rescuer, you will capture any spiders within your home and toss them into your neighbour’s garden. Gently.

Equipment:

·        Something to trap the spider in. It needs to be something you can easily hold with one hand since your other hand will be very busy. Plastic cups or tubs are ideal. If it is see-through, you will be able to better see where the spider is. I prefer plastic cups as they have higher sides and are easier for my small hands to handle. Plastic is better than using your mum’s best china – just in case you panic and drop it.

·        A piece of thick card. This needs to have a bigger area than your cup or tub.

·        A towel to place in the bathtub to allow spiders to escape

·        And if you need a confidence boost or just don’t like touching spiders, some washing up gloves.  If you do this right, you should never have to touch the spider but a pair of gloves might just make you feel better anyway.

It’s quite simple but you will need some speed if your target is a house spider. Daddy long leg spiders are much easier. If speed is not something you have, then opt for a bigger cup or container so you have more room for error. The last thing you want is to miss and accidently squash the spider instead. Make sure there is enough room to fit your spider into the container. This method works on walls and floors.

·        Aim to place the container over the spider so it is trapped inside.

·        Carefully slide the thick card underneath whilst keeping a hand on the container to prevent tipping it over. This is why a see through container is best, so you don’t accidentally catch the legs.

·        Once you have the card underneath, you should be able to easily lift the card and the container and turn it upside down. If that is a bit difficult, you can try sliding your fingers underneath the card before lifting. Make sure you keep the container and the card touching as spiders can dash through small gaps. A thick card will prevent gaps from occurring.

·        If you used a cup, you will find your spider won’t be able to get back up once you turned the cup upright. Now all you have to do is toss it out.

(Photos courtesy of Spidey the Crab, a close relative of the Giant Spider Crab)

See, not too hard and beats lugging a heavy vacuum cleaner around. My family members found it strange at first but now, when there is one in the house, they just call me and I sort it out.  Senseless killing is sad so give it a go next time. You might surprise yourself!

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