It was big, it was hairy and it was not incy or wincy. While I was away in Bangalore, this pre-historic looking creature decided to visit our bathroom. Just how he got in (climbed up the waterspout?) baffles me and I am now on a constant watch for similar such critters. I am so glad that I didn’t actually see it.
I’m not as afraid of spiders as I am of snakes. Spiders move quite slowly. But I don’t even want to look at this one, it makes me itch. I’ve encountered large spiders before but they are usually thin and wiry and beautifully marked. This one is fat and hairy – I don’t like that. To me this looks like Shelob – the giant spider from Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, in to whose lair Frodo and Samwise have to escape to get to Mount Doom. Tolkien says of her,
“But still she was there, who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness.” “Not far down the tunnel…he was aware of eyes growing visible, two great clusters of many windowed eyes – the coming menace was unmasked at last. Monstrous and abominable eyes they were, bestial and yet filled with purpose and with hideous delight, gloating over their prey trapped beyond all hope of escape.” (Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book 4, Chapter 9, Shelob’s Lair)
The DH kindly (and bravely) returned this unwelcome visitor to the wilds of our garden and its natural habitat. The spider was perched on a newspaper but apparently he went quietly. Abroozi kept his distance, peering over the DH’s shoulder as he knelt down to take the pictures. It looks much better here than on our bathroom floor.
I looked up Shelob and found that Peter Jackson’s insipiration for her was the Black Tunnel Web Spider (Porrhothele antipodiana) found in New Zealand. They leave their burrows in summer in search of a mate and commonly wind up in bathrooms where there is moisture because they dessicate easily. If you are bitten by one, it causes numbness and itching but is not poisonous to humans (not sure about canines though). But these spiders are not hairy, whereas ours was.
On further investigation, I think it might be a Trap Door spider of the Nemesiidae sub family (picture from wikipedia) although these are not often found indoors.
Spider and creepy crawly enthusiasts do get in touch with helping me identify this.
Growing up on the College Campus in Vellore, the DH and I have encountered many reptiles, arachnids and even a monitor lizard once. Dolphin Hill is a similar untamed, natural paradise and we’ve had visitors from the reptile family, luckily just on our driveway and not in the house. Here’s a Viper we found curled up on a cold windy December morning. Crows and kites swept down trying to carry it off (as it looked under rather dead) but as they approached, they flapped their wings hysterically and took off pretty quick. Even a baby viper has enough venom to kill you.
Chameleons are pretty common but I thought that this guy had a certain joie de vivre (joy of living) about him, like a punk rocker with his his tight black leather leggings and bright red coiffe.
Good to know that we’re not completely alienated from the natural world… but I wouldn’t want them in my house!