In my stories, I use coins to describe spider size. What I mean is that the diameter of the spider and its legs are about the same as whatever coin. Just to clarify…
In the apartment that I grew up in, I’d have to go to war with those bastards every Fall and Winter. They’d just move in. I’m talking several dozen PER YEAR. And they weren’t wolf spiders or any crap like that either. Textbook fiddlebacks.
Ever got in a fight with a dozen and a half baby (bit smaller than a dime) plus their very angry mama (bigger than a quarter) armed with a rolled up magazine, a can of boric acid, and a blue streak that can only be described as “epic?” Try it sometime.
Those buggers are fast too. Mean as hell to boot. Probably 25% of the time it wouldn’t run if I missed my first swing. It’d jump to the side then spin about to charge at me. Guess that might explain why my reflexes get comments to this day.
I remember one time my sister and I were putting up the christmas tree. Was an old cheap fake one. We’d had it for years. Kept it in the box we got it in. I’ll never forget it. I reached in with both arms (wasn’t wearing a shirt even) and pulled the tree out. Then when I reached in to get the little branches and stuff I noticed a monster one on the inside of the box, on the side nearest me. It was HUUUGE. Goddamn thing made eye contact with me. That’s how big. Not really exaggerating either. It was probably a bit smaller than a half dollar. That was a really bad fight because it went after my 6 year old sister when I pissed it off.
One night while I was asleep I felt a pinprick on my collarbone about an inch from the end closest to my sternum. That’s the thick end. It didn’t really wake me up but an hour or two later I brushed a hand across it and there was a knot about the size of an English pea that was REALLY painful. The knot swelled into about the size of a walnut, with a BB-sized scabby hole in the middle. About a week or so later, I scratched the scab off and this corruption oozed out. It kept oozing until the swelling was totally gone. The thing would reinflate, I’d scratch and “milk” it again. This lasted maybe 4 days or so.
Around then, I was at football practice and I landed on that shoulder. The sound was like having a tooth pulled at the dentist. That wet crunchy sound. Just from falling onto my shoulder, the thickest part of my clavicle snapped. The doc said that it’s rare for one to break there since it’s the strongest part of the bone.
My theory is that the toxin killed the blood vessels feeding the bone matrix and weakened it enough to snap when it took an impact.
I also had another tiny little painful knot that swelled to maybe orange-size on my knee. Same process as before. The first “milking” used an entire roll of paper towels.
Done a lot of reading on the things. Hobo spiders, BRSs, and fiddlebacks are all names for the same spider. They love houses. LOVE houses. Shoes, closets, blankets, things like that are heaven for them. They like being cozy and do NOT like being disturbed.
Their venom is still damn near a mystery. It’s a pain in the ass to harvest and there is not much studying going on regarding the stuff. Nobody really knows what all the venom does, much less why it does it. The effects vary quite a bit from victim to victim.
Fascinating creature, really. Not exactly on my Christmas card list, but I do have a lively respect for the fellas.
Also, for those that may wonder why, I did not seek medical attention at the time of the bites because I was young, ignorant, and poor as dirt. 'Course in hindsight, I probably just saved myself some time anyway. BRS bite treatment is really a matter of steroids antibiotics and luck.