Arachnophobia

Tarantula on the garageThe first time we saw one, The Little House was barely framed in.
“What is that on the side of the foundation?” Dale said as we drove into the driveway to have a look at our new home.
“It looks like someone threw a big mud clot,” I answered, but as we got out of the truck and walked closer, we realized it was the biggest spider either of us had ever seen.
I wasn’t terrified, even then, but amazed at really, how beautiful tarantulas are. We had no idea this area had tarantulas, but have since marveled at seeing them in the road and sometimes stumbling upon the holes they dig in the ground for their nests.
Yes, it’s big spider season here again, they’re out and about gathering food for the winter. It just isn’t the tarantulas on the move, but other insects of the 8-legged variety are more prominent outside too, building webs closer to the house and lights where they can catch as many unsuspecting moths and other food as possible.

Sade with a tarantula A neighbor of ours who doesn’t yet live here full time called me the last time she was here, “The big spiders are back,” she said. “There’s a huge one out here on the deck, I think they’re coming to get me.”
I had just had a conversation the week before about leaving the outside critters alone with her grown daughter, who was staying there temporarily while looking for an apartment in town. She had bought all kinds of poison and wanted to spread it around outside. “It’s outside, just leave it alone and it will leave you alone,” I advised. “They’re there to help with the flies, mosquitoes and ticks.”
It kind of amazes me that people move into nature and then are shocked to find it here. The eco-system has worked for millions of years when we humans don’t interfere, and if we allow, it could even work in our favor. I’m reminded of the time another neighbor knocked on our door to tell us, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know I shot a great big black snake right in front of your driveway.”
I think he was expecting us to thank him. Instead, I said, “Well, thanks, we’ll now probably have problems with wood rats.” We had never had problems with wood rats before, but the following week, we had one get under the hood of the truck and eat the wiring.
The black snake wasn’t harmful to anyone, but was probably protecting our property from unwanted rodents. We don’t even bother snakes here unless they’re poisonous and a threat to us or the dogs, and we do have copper heads, water moccasins and rattlers here that we have had to kill.
Some snakes, such as the black snake and coach whip that would stretch out and sun itself on one of our downed trees near the house last year, will even eat the poisonous ones and keep them away.
The first summer I lived full-time in The Little House I did see a big brown wolf spider in the bedroom. It’s my policy to try and capture anything (except those big brown woods roaches that fly, or flies) and get them out. Only this wolf spider jumped at me when I tried to trap him in the jar, so unfortunately, he had to be eliminated.
However, when they’re outside, we do just leave them alone, tarantulas aren’t poisonous here and have no desire to have a run in with a human either. Spiders are amazing to watch though, we spent about a ½ hour the other night watching a big brown spider go after something he had trapped in his web on our deck and we’ve been known to stop the truck in the middle of the road (no traffic here) so we could get out and watch a tarantula cross (and take photos).
The desire to either capture or kill tarantulas around here is so strong for some people though, our local paper, The Baxter Bulletin has even ran articles to encourage people to just leave them alone because they are so important to the eco-system.
When I regale my friends and family with stories such as seeing a tarantula on our walk, they’ll sometimes say, “I don’t know how you do it.”
Well, you can’t be a wimp and live in the country, that’s for sure and I feel I’ve been blessed to be able to live on our land in The Little House, and I’m grateful the wildlife have been good enough to share with me.

Do you have a fear of anything in the wild?

Spider on the deck

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13 Responses

  1. Elaine says:

    Kerri, I wonder if you have a lot of brown recluse spiders there? We are in Kansas and we have a lot, especially in the storage shed. I have to admit, those I do kill if I find them in the house or in the storage shed. All other spiders, I usually leave or just remove. We don’t have tarantulas here.

    I have found that running some bar soap around the boxes in the storage shed seems to deter them from getting in the boxes.

    I love your blog….gives me inspiration. We have a 900 or so sq foot house with 2 small children, and sometimes it feels like we HAVE to get more room, but I read other’s blogs to remind myself that no, we can do it right here and be happy!!!

    • Welcome, Elaine and I’m glad you enjoy the blog! I’m from Kansas as well. My husband and I are “Dottes,” born and raised in Turner, which is part of Kansas City, Kansas now!
      Yes, we do have the brown recluse here and I agree, they can be dangerous, so I don’t mess with trying to get those out of the house.
      Thanks for the tip with the soap, we do have an issue with spiders of all shapes and sizes crawling into our boxes in our storage building!

  2. Kim says:

    I get the oogies about grasshoppers. They’re just too big, destructive to my plants, and crunchy when stepped on. Bleugh.

    We’ve got an insect here in our 1916 ozarks home, though, that I’ve never seen before. It’s like a cross between a scorpion and a fuzzy catepillar. I call it the Eyebrow so that it doesn’t completely freak me out. It seems to be nocturnal; I only see it at night on the front porch. I don’t kill him, because he’s outside, but he sure does give me the willies.

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, Kim, I’ve seen the “eyebrow” guys too. I’ve wondered what they are also.
      My dogs eat the grasshoppers, saving me from accidentally crunching them. 🙂
      We only moved 300 miles to the south, but as far as insects and wild animals, this is a world away from where we’re from. It’s like stepping into Jurassic Park, everything is so big!

  3. Cyndi Lieske says:

    Good for you for looking out for the spiders. Those are really amazing pictures. I always trap and relase them, too. The biggest ones I’ve seen here in Michigan are the wolf spiders.
    Glad you told your neighbor you didn’t like him killing the snake. People can be so stupid about killing harmless snakes.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Cyndi. I need a macro lens for the camera to take better photos of small critters. I hope to get one soon.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Cyndi Lieske says:

    Those are some amazing I’m glad you are a friend to the creatures that share your home. Good for you for letting your neighbor know that he shouldn’t have killed the snake. Sometimes people can be really stupid about the harmless snakes.

  5. Frugal Kiwi says:

    It is a shame that people feel they must kill things out of hand. We don’t have many spiders here in New Zealand and the ones we do have are generally not poisonous. I’m always happy to see them around, but will relocate interior arachnids also.

    • Kerri says:

      I know, I think it’s sad too. I can’t quite identify with this idea that other living creatures don’t have the right to keep living.

      Love your screen name, BTW – thanks for stopping by!

  6. Oh. My. Goodness. Those spiders look even bigger in comparison to the scale of your home!

    • kerri says:

      Yes, they are pretty large in comparison to The Little House. Maybe we could film a scary spider movie here, ya think!? 🙂

  7. Kerri says:

    I’m glad you trap and release. One of our friends said they had a tarantula in the house once. I don’t want them in the house, but try to recognize also they go wayward sometimes and are just looking for warmth.
    We can’t have the poisonous snakes wandering near the dogs, but really, since we leave the “good” snakes to do their jobs, haven’t had too many problems with the “bad” ones.

  8. MarthaandMe says:

    I don’t think I would be happy to see spiders that big in my house! Eek. I’m also not happy to see snakes outside around the house. Our policy is to trap and release though – my husband and son take the snakes to a wildlife preserve and release them there.