“Mom! HELP!” the cries of my teenage son Sam came lofting down from his upstairs bedroom. Busily trying to get three boys out the door for school, I stop, call back up to him and ask what was wrong. “Quick, I NEED you!” he replies. At age 15, the only time Sam “needs” his Mom is when he is really sick or he is hungry, so I stop what I am doing to check it out. Upon first inspection I see no visible signs of distress. Sam is dressed for school, there is no blood, and all his limbs seem to be in working order.
“There!” he points with shaky fingers as he jumps behind me. I squint into his mood lit teenage bedroom. “Uh, what am I looking at?” A huge sigh is released from his lips as he dances nervously around me. “That GIGANTIC spider!” “Kill it!” I hear my husband and oldest son yell in unison.
But my family knows better. I am a spider whisperer. I quickly retrieve two cups and round up the palm sized spider and carefully release him on our farm. My husband starts in on the lecture on how it will just find it’s way back in the house and bite us in the night, but I just smile, thankful, that I saved another one from the wrath of my family.
Our horse farm hosts quite a variety of spiders. Two beautiful banana spiders the size of a mans hand ( now That’s big! ) had taken up residence at our front gate along with it’s egg sack. The female resided on the left side of the gate, the male on the right. Their beautiful webs, Several feet long with their complex zigzag patterns, had occupied the ever growing weeds at our farm’s front entrance for close to two months. Each day as I entered the farm I would stop to appreciate the spiders, knowing that soon, I was to weed the area around them and was concerned about pulling down their webs.
Finally the day arrived to tackle the weeds. Although the task at hand was daunting, I was more concerned about pulling down webs, especially since there was an egg sack involved. However, to my surprise I found that not one, but both spiders had moved their webs in the night to the far right side of the gate, just out of reach of my impending work. NO WAY. I had communicated my intentions and these spiders had picked up on it to insure their safety. I spent the better part of two hours, weeding, raking and cleaning the planters as my eight legged friends watched on. The left side of the male’s web was interconnected to one weed that had to go. Now what. I pulled the weed gently and watched the web fold and billow in the wind. Never moving the spider kept his eyes, all eight of them, on me. I then carefully replanted the weed deep into the dirt to help regain the tension in the web. Satisfied with the reconstruction, the spider turned his attention to more important things, like the lunch that had just arrived. What makes this story even MORE remarkable … a day after the spiders had moved their webs for me to clean, they moved them right back to where they had been living for two months prior.