I have a sign in my apartment that says, “Keep calm, it’s just a spider.” I was torn about whether to buy it when I saw it. Of course I think that nobody needs to get upset at the sight of a spider. I am more than happy to be the spider catch-and-releaser. But on the other hand, “just” a spider? More like “it’s a fantastic spider!” I really do love spiders.
There are so many different types of web spiders in my area. Some are orb web spinners, who make the familiar eight-spoked roundish webs. There are grass spiders which spin flat sheets of webbing, and funnel spiders that spin funnels of webbing in which they hide, waiting to jump out at prey that blunders into their web. I even saw one orb web spider that apparently took a lesson from the funnel spiders– it had glued together the top edges of a leaf beside its web, creating a safe retreat when a big predator (me) came poking a camera near the web!
The different kinds of hunting (non-web-spinning) spiders fascinate me too. Wolf spiders, jumping spiders, crab spiders. The latter are one of my favorites, especially when they match the flower they’re sitting on, so they are perfectly camouflaged. And I’ve already talked about how amazing mother wolf spiders are, in my Freaky Family post a few days ago.
As for venomous spiders, we do have black widows in my area. I had never seen one in the wild until moving to my current apartment, though. There’s a small field with a walking trail around its edge nearby, and I found my first wild widow (there’s a band name for you!) on the concrete retaining wall. It was so plump and glossy! Definitely worth the hunt.