The house my fiancé lives in abuts a city park of well over 100 acres. Much of it is allowed to grow wild. So we see a lot more nature than the average homeowner. Rabbits. Mice. Eagles. Hawks. Falcons. Woodpeckers. Moles. We are often serenaded by Coyotes at night.
And then there are the spiders. Fortunately, this is the Seattle area, and therefore we are not visited by the huge, poisonous, aggressive hissing spiders that I experienced in Florida. (I often chuckle when I see a Seattelite freak out over a little tiny thing the size of a pinky fingernail. I mean, seriously?)
But I have to admit, this little lady got my attention.
She was about ¾ inch in length, with really interesting markings on her back. I tend to equate interesting markings with poison. She has chosen to lay her eggs on the back fence gate, so… shudder.
But I’m lucky in that I have a friend who is my go-to person for all things spider. I sent her this picture and asked her what it was. She said not to worry. It’s a jumping spider, phidippus audax, and while they can bite, they generally don’t bother humans if the humans don’t bother them. (That’s been my experience so far. She could have jumped 10 to 50 times her body length, but instead she sat there patiently while I took this photo. I think I may have even heard a long-suffering sigh.)
So, in this instance, I’m all about live and let live. That’s extremely adult of me, because spiders freak me out. It’s hard to anthropomorphize a creature that has 8 legs and more eyes than any creature has a right to have. They’re not cuddly. But I’m going to do my best to give this little mama the benefit of the doubt.
(Incidentally, if you see a spider inside and think you’re taking the high road by catching it and putting it outside, think again. An entomologist once told me that that’s the equivalent of throwing a land mammal in the center of the ocean. Indoor spiders are meant to be indoors. But hey, at least your heart is in the right place. Surely that counts in terms of karma.)
And there is good news for all phidippus audaxes (Audices? Audi?) everywhere. There is a cartoon series on Youtube called Lucas the Spider, and it’s based on this type of spider. It’s making a lot of people look at them with fresh eyes. Lucas is a cutie. Maybe fewer of us will freak out and squash these little guys because of him. I hope so.
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