This year is notable for absences. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times on Twitter, but have not written about it. We’re now well into May. Where are the house spiders?
This house has two very predictable spider seasons. The first comes in April. The big Tegenarias that hibernated will have woken up and be wandering around, looking for spider love. (BOM CHICKA WOW WOW!) In April, down comes the rain, and instead of washing poor Incy out, it washes the bugger IN. In herds. Droves. Collectives. Some evenings the little dickheads arrive in such numbers I start checking twitter to see whether #OccupyChillersHouse is a thing.
When I say “big”. Look under the cat:
I didn’t manage to rescue that one.
In September it all happens again, when we get the first cold snap. In they come.
During the first heavy rainstorms of April it is normal for me to find a dozen or so of the very big ones, over the course of a few days. They nestle behind the bath-towel. Hide in the loo. Scuttle out from under the fridge. Mostly, they scamper down the hall. The cats tend to get to them first, unless the spider is very lucky, and quite often all I find is a collection of abandoned legs or, sadder, simply an intact corpse where Anton has frightened the thing to death by following it around with his nose on it until it is no longer interesting. Spiders don’t have much stamina. It is my experience that the biggest and strongest can only take a few minutes of mortal terror before they expire, even if they are not being physically damaged. The ones who don’t get physically damaged are rare. Normally each of the cats in turn will give the spider a bit of a suck and a bat around before passing it on to the next cat. It’s not a nice end.
Tegenaria domestica used to terrify me. I was properly phobic about them. The cats changed that. Having watched them despatch a few hapless victims, I found that pity is stronger than fear. I bought a spider catcher (I strongly recommend these), and my mission in life now is to get to the spider before the cats do. I catch them and release them at some distance from my house.
But there aren’t any. Where are they?
Are you hogging them all?