My Spider Journal: Close Encounters

Doug's Spider Journal
August 15. Teenage Giant Yellow Sac Spider
At least one giant yellow sac spider survived last week’s cleaning frenzy. It’s twice the size of the baby spiders we saw, and it was just trucking around on the bedroom ceiling. Too high to catch. And now it has gone missing.

August 19. 2 AM. More Help from the Cats
Heading to bed late after attending the comic jam earlier in the evening, but the cats won’t stop meowing. Turns out that Watson and Crumble were climbing as high as they could and then climbing over each other trying to get at a spider on the ceiling.

Crowned Orb Weaver
Look at the little spikes on its legs! Photo by J. L. Martin.

I gathered my now-familiar spider-catching tools: footstool, mason jar, and greeting card. Stand on the footstool, put the jar on top of the spider, and then wedge the card in so I can hold it over the jar opening. Everything went smoothly this time with no frightening near-escapes. The cats seemed a bit disappointed that I captured the spider before they could. I took the spider out to the stairwell again and released it a few floors down. Not sure about the type of spider this time, but Janet took some amazing photos with a magnifying lens.

August 20. 1:30 AM. Janet’s Catch
Janet spots a very large and very fast spider coming towards her along the bedroom wall. It’s another adult yellow sac spider (not the teenager we saw earlier in the week). Where are all these things coming from? I thought they were supposed to come inside when the weather got cold – not on hot summer days! Anyway, we caught the spider and Janet took more excellent photos.

Giant Yellow Sac Spider - adult female
Janet says you can see all sorts of cool spider anatomy bits in this picture, but I’m afraid to look! Photo by J. L. Martin.

I released the spider into the stairwell again. It hid up inside the lid and looked like it was going to give me trouble, but in the end, I was able to shake it out of the jar without incident. And by “incident”, I mean a spider crawling on me.

Later, Janet examined the photos more closely and figured out that this is a female giant yellow sac spider.

August 21. Mystery Spider Identified
I posted a pic of Friday night’s mystery spider on Instagram and a reader (Thanks, s9k2d!) identified it as a Crowned Orbweaver, which looks right.

August 22. Dead Spider?
Janet noticed a spider up by the ceiling above the stove. “Is it dead?”

“You never know!” I’ve made the mistake before, thinking a spider was dead, only to have it suddenly spring to life and jump at me. We decide to leave it alone.

August 24. Oh Yeah, It’s Dead
That possibly-dead spider fell off the ceiling today. I found it on the hood of the stove fan. I was still very careful, picking it up, but yeah it was definitely dead. Why, I wonder? Not enough food?

August 25. Writing and Writhing
A quiet week, spider-wise. I’ve been spending a lot of time writing about spiders and not worrying about them. I’m writing the early scenes of the book, where we just catch glimpses of the spider. A leg here and there. Some glowing eyes in the darkness.

Tonight, I was coming home from the store and, walking under a tree in front of our building, I walked into what felt like a single strand from a spiderweb and then felt like spiders must be crawling all over me for the next ten minutes. Now I’m not even sure if it WAS a spiderweb.

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2 thoughts on “My Spider Journal: Close Encounters

  • August 31, 2023 at 10:12 am

    You can do this!
    I believe in you and root for you every step of the way. In your most recent posts I noticed that you’re only writing about your spider encounters but not about how you treat yourself to something nice afterwards. You know, to replace the fear with a more positive or at least neutral feeling. Not to intrude on your private life but would you mind adding a sentence here or there on what you do to counter the fear?

    Anyway, thank you for all your work! Love your web comic (“web” comic? Oh My God, they are Everywhere!!)

    • August 31, 2023 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks Mathias! I’ll be sure to mention the positive reward side of things more often. I keep forgetting to do that part, but it usually involves me taking a break to zone out and play video games or do sudoku. Relaxing non-productive stuff!


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