Dear Internet

Brooke here:

Quick question for you… exactly how freaked out should I be when I release this thing tomorrow in the light of day?

I had nothing to put next to it for scale. Wait, no, let me rephrase: I didn't want to go anywhere near it to add an object for purposes of scale. If it helps, it's approximately 5" across.

I did some deft maneuvering with a Tupperware lid and an enormous plastic bowl, and it is now trapped under the bowl.  Fortunately, having the proportionate strength of a spider doesn’t mean much when you’re actually a spider, so it’s staying put until morning.

But I’m seeing a fiddleback pattern.  My mind is playing tricks on me, yes?  No?  Fire, and lots of it?

MORNING UPDATE: Enormous Not-A-Brown-Recluse spider survived the night and has been released in the woods where he can hunt bugs and smallish toddlers to its heart’s content.   The consensus of knowledgeable people suggests it was a larger-than-average huntsman spider.

14 thoughts on “Dear Internet

  1. From your link it says that a brown recluse will be less than 1/10 of the size of the spider you photographed. No idea what it might be, but unless you’ve got a embiggening device in your basement, it’s not that.

  2. The Brown Recluse family has over a hundred members, it could be a relative. That said, they’re not as dangerous as people think. They only attack if forced to, only kill small children, and who cares about kids? IIRC, your house is in Tenn, GA, or Texas, all of which are well within the Brown Recluse’s range. You will have some in your house. Basically, spray for bugs and move on. If you get bit, go to a doctor and he’ll fix you up. The bites are fine if caught early, and not terrible if you don’t catch them.

  3. With some googling, some research, and some guesswork (plus the spiders I witness all the damn time in our yard), Urs an I have tentatively identified it as a Huntsman Spider, or maybe a variety of Wolf Spider. So I’d not worry.

    Brown Recluse Spiders are fairly common, but MUCH smaller – like adults are 3/4 of an inch. I wouldn’t grab this guy, but you can safely escort him out of the house, and let him nosh on the insects outside.

    1. It’s not a wolf spider. It does seem to match huntsman though. We have wolf spiders here, and those fuckers jump at you, so you learn to ph34r them.

      1. Agreed. Wolf spiders are mean as snot and would not have let you come at them with a bowl, giant or otherwise.

        I think it’s perfectly acceptable to scream at happening across a spider of that size… I really wish I had not checked for an update today. Now I’ll have the creepy crawlies all day. It’s funny how spiders freak me out indoors, but outdoors, it’s just kind of expected (not around my house, but in THE ‘Outdoors’).

  4. It looks like the hunting spiders I’ve seen running around in the grass when I used to mow. Whatever it is, it’s not uncommon in my experience here, though at 5″ across it’s definitely bigger than any I’ve previously encountered. Being as I hate spiders, though, I’d say fire and lots of it. Remember, when you’re unsure what an unknown life form is, take the safe route and get a flamethrower! …Or in this case, just pour some paint thinner or nail polish remover in there with it and let the fumes do the work.

  5. *shrugs*

    Huntsman or Wolf Spider – Wolf spiders are generally a touch smaller. Neither are likely to do you any harm. They both tickle like crazy when on a person, but that’s about it, and releasing it should be a simple matter of sliding cardboard under the tupperware and carrying it outside, flipping the tupperware off the cardboard, and walking away for a bit.

    In short, outside of any innate fear of spiders you might have, this fellow’s fairly harmless.

  6. My immediate reaction was “yeah, wolf spider or cousin thereof … but yikes, five inches across? They grow spiders with HAIR on their cephalothoraces in North Carolina!”

    I have never seen any nastiness on the part of wolf spiders*, but then the ones around here (San Francisco Bay Area) are maybe half an inch across. I think they’re kind of cute. I’ve never had any trouble trapping-and-releasing one, but then, they’re half an inch across…..

    *Well, except against the insects they eat. But they’re SUPPOSED to do that.

  7. I think Bowen is right, and so is djheydt: a google image search suggest that is a female Dark Fishing Spider, native to southeast North America. The females get much larger than the males, ranging up to around 4 inches across the legs.

    If it is, it really doesn’t want to be in your house. It may have been looking for a shelter as the weather turns cold, but the things it likes to eat will all be out by the pool.

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