Spiders: Evil on 8 legs or Tortured souls living in perpetual terror?

A spider once bit me on the hand while I slept. I think it was more as a bite and run, seeing as I never saw any spider hanging around my room. But the bite itself was terrible. It swelled up, turned red, and got really itchy. You could see the fang marks. It wasn’t all that big, but I still have a scar on that hand from it. shudders

Yep, it’s real. I believe Jeff Corwin is the one who’s known for saying that it’s as big as a dinner plate.

Just look it up in Guiness. The largest specimen known had a legspan of 13 inches, and there are two other species which rival it in size. Lovely creatures, each one of them.

Me too. We manage to keep our house as bug-free as any extermination regime by just leaving the spiders alone. And we aren’t spreading chemical poisons around to kill birds and beneficial critters.

There is an interesting cycle of silverfish and daddy-longlegs (harvestman) in the house. We will begin to see a few silverfish. Then in a few days we begin to see daddy-longlegs. Quite often there is one in the sink when I go out in the morning. I let him (or her) crawl onto a paper towel which I shake off onto the floor so the poor little tyke can escape to eat more silverfish babies and eggs. Anyway, pretty soon we don’t see any silverfish and shortly thereafter the daddy longlegs disappear.

I’ve lived surrounded by all kinds of spiders for 82 years, including black widows and brown recluse for the last 54 of them, and haven’t had one attack me yet.

The spiders can sense your fear, and will bite you to put you out of your misery!

Well, not really, but I let spiders live as well, for the same reasons, so they can eat all the other bugs.

Also there is the strange fact that bugs won’t bite me, and haven’t for at least ten years. My cats are going through a bit of difficulty with fleas right now, and my gf is getting eaten alive, but I’ve not suffered a single bite, nor can I remember the last time I had a bug bite.

You know, it’s weird. I had a relatively small wolf spider in the bathtub a while back and I had to get Mr zoogirl to evict it. On the other hand, I pick up the birdeater at work all the time. She’s a total sweetheart.

I personally have an African Sunburst Baboon as my home tarantualla. He’s about three years old now and getting to be a good size. I’ve got the cage taped up and he lives on the highest shelf because he’s nerve-wrackingly venomous. One of his siblings put a guy in the hospital for a week when they were about a year old. His name is Cinnamon.

Does he freak me out? Not really. Do I treat him with great respect? Damn right! I would never let one of my teenagers mess with him. Fortunately, they don’t want to. They know better. I’m the one that CAREFULLY feeds and waters him.

I’ve fed Black Widows, Hobos and an assortment of Tarantullas at work and none of them really bothers me either. I’m just very, very cautious. The one that does skeeve me out?

Yep, the little wolf we found behind the Iguana’s cage and stuck in a tank! :rolleyes:

Say, what kind of birdeater do you handle at work? I have a so-called “bluish birdeater” that’s quite docile, but most other birdeaters are pretty darned nasty.

Not truly dangerous, mind you, but certainly aggressive.

We have tarantulas of a relatively harmless (to people) kind on the desert. And that means we also have the Tarantula Hawk (wasp). In the fall the male spiders migrate, looking for a mate I guess, and if you go for a walk on the desert you’ll probably see one or two.

Our tarantulas aren’t all that big, about the size of the palm of my hand at most.

I’m told she’s a Brazillian. She’s sort of a solid black and currently she’s almost the size of my spread hand. She sheds fairly often so I assume she’s still growing. We send her out on presentations almost daily. She’s been on TV too.

I prefer the geckos that appear in my place, they eat the bugs too and the best thing is: I do not have to feed them.

I wonder: can geckos take on scorpions? That could explain why I have not seen one in all the years I have been here in the edge of Phoenix…

Sounds like Grammastola pulchra to me. Not commonly called a birdeater, but then again, some people do use that term to describe all the larger tarantulas. (This species, as far as I can tell, is one of the larger of the docile South American varieties.)

Probably not, IMO. Geckos don’t have particularly strong bites, although some of them can bite hard enough to hurt a human.

I used to be of the mindset “They eat the bugs; they’re good for the environment.” I wouldnt even think of killing one, I’d just watch it crawl up the wall, facinated.

Then I got bit by one. This was 2 months ago. Not sure what kind it was. It was brown, quarter size. Could have been a brown recluse, but I’m not positive. I had hopped out of bed and thrown on a tshirt that had been laying on the floor. I didn’t feel the bite at all but noticed that the spider was crawling out from under the sleeve. I sort of flung my arm to get the spider off and then it quickly crawled away. Well, then within a couple hours I started feeling very uncomfortable. The pain was rather intense. The bite was in my armpit. It started swelling and I couldn’t put my arm down by it’s side. I also got the chills and was very weak and nauseated. I had extreme muscle pains EVERYWHERE. The pain under my arm was a burning pain. At night I would take 3 tylenol PMs and would wake up every half hour and have to put ice on the bite in order to fall back asleep. I felt so rotten that I couldn’t even make myself get up and go to the doctor until a full 7 days later. I was ok after that and probably didn’t even need to go to the doctor but I was concerned because I still felt so rotten. I didn’t start feeling good enough to go to the gym for 3 weeks.

With brown recluse bites, some people have a terrible local reaction with the surrounding tissue becoming necrotic, leaving a crater in the flesh. That did not happen to me. I had intense burning and a big swollen lump about the size of a plum. I thought it was going to pop. But it went back down eventually. I still have a nodule and a dark spot where the bite was, but I think I had more of a systemic reaction.

Now I kill them sons-a-bitchs.

Your reaction sounds a bit like my boyfriend’s; he was bitten by something while gardening back in April (didn’t feel the bite, never saw a spider) and while he didn’t get nearly as acutely sick as you did, he was fatigued and achy for almost a month and the bite mark was swollen and very sore. It left a small pockmark with an area around it about the size of a nickel that is still somewhat darker than the rest of his skin. We are not in brown recluse country, and haven’t been able to figure out what bit him. (He’s fine now.)

On another note, I was walking off to bed the other night when I spotted something that sent me running - for a ruler. Biggest daddy-longlegs I ever saw camping out on the wall near the light switch. 5-1/4 inch leg span, and it wasn’t fully stretched out. This was a “Who’s Yo Daddy-longlegs.”

It’s funny, but while spiders creep me out, daddy-longlegs don’t bother me at all. So I left this one alone to eat all the bugs it wanted.

Dang! These things are driving tanks now?

I was driving along a dirt road in a Humvee in Georgia one fine summer afternoon. Doing maybe 20 mph. A hillside rose up to my left about 15 feet away. I saw motion out of the corner of my eye & stopped to check out what the native fauna was. It was a spider!

Me: Mitch (my passenger, a GA native), what the hell kind of spider is that!
Mitch: Oh thayat? Thet there’s a woof spayder.

At night I slept on the hood of the Hummer for the rest of the week.

In the interest of not perpetuating ignorance, I will not go into the mythical eyeball dining habits of the daddy longlegs. :smiley:

Spiders are allowed to be the size of a pinhead, here–and that includes the legs. Anything bigger gets smooshed. I have a tiny orange spider that lived in the corner by the bathtub for a while, but while I was on vacation last week took up residence between the mirror and the soap dish. I am trying to make his life there difficult so he’ll go back to the floor somewhere (it isn’t working. He likes getting splashed, I guess).

BTW: aren’t the brown recluse and the black widow spider the only two in North America that are capable of causing any misery to a person? Or am I wrong?

In addition, the hobo spider comes to mind. Careful with that link, I got the heebies just looking at the photos. ;j

Sorry, but you’re wrong. We’ve got a charming little visitor called the Hobo which has taken up permanant residant status. It’s freakin’ big, brown and quite nasty. The things are even hardy enough to survive up here. Matter of fact, we’ve had two brought in to the zoo in the last couple of years.

Oh, JThunder, I had a look at Bob today. She’s actually got kind of goldish guard hairs and her knees are striped. (Yeah, Bob’s a girl. Don’t blame me - the boss named her!)

Sorry to quote myself, but if you read the article on the hobo spider, you’ll note that it is imported to the US from Yurp. It’s not much of a problem there because of this abomination. I must point out that the fifth picture from the top (the spider is crawling “up” the screen on a white cloth) looks very much like the pair of spiders I noted in my OP, except those were a bit more reddish-brown and fatter. I don’t know how to feel about the idea that they may have been feasting on hobo spiders to become as large as they were, and thereby likely prevented my encountering one of those.

I have a spider living outside of my front door. It’s been there for weeks, it seems. Now, I might have gotten a broom and forced a relocation; but it wasn’t in the way, so I left it. I look every day to see what it’s caught. I’ve toyed with the idea of feeding it, but it seems awfully unfair to the poor moth that happens to rest on my door. I did catch a large black ant, though. I hate ants. They’re fine out in the wild, but I don’t like them around (or in) the house. Anyway, I managed to carch one (they’re fast!) and only maimed it a bit. The spider had a nice treat that day. I noticed it caught a larger spider the other day.

I’m still thinking it might be better to relocate the spider to the shrubbery, but for now it’s almost like a pet.

Geckos are neat, even snakes are “better” (imho) than spiders. I wouldn’t mind something other than spiders taking care of the bug population.

We have a bunch of mud martins that seem to do a pretty good job. WAAAAy cuter than spid3ers.