Seed Swaps

Living With a Spider

16 Jul 2012
Rainy 13°C / 55°F

I suppose it’s not everyone’s idea of an idyllic arrangement but I have been doing that for about two years. Living with a spider, that is.

When I say “two years”, I know this is the second winter.

Gus is not a great beauty and is not of any great size, either. I mean, compared to a fully grown Huntsman or even a well-fed orb spider, Gus is rather on the puny side and would certainly feature in one of those bully-kicking-sand-in-the-face-of-the-skinny-guy advertisements that usually sold what I think were called ‘bullworkers’.

No, I’m not suggesting that spiders have such magazines or even that they can read, I was trying to point out that Gus is not very macho. Having said that, I don’t even know if Gus is a him or a her. Guess ‘Gus’ could stand for Gussie or Angus. Androgynous, that’s the word I was looking for, non-gender specific such as Jayden, Jamie or Ashley.

Anyhow, we have this strange relationship whereby Gus inhabits the top left corner of the bathroom window and we both tend to our own business. I try not to stare too openly in the Gus direction and it, well, I’m not quite sure just where or if Gus stares at anything in particular. Have you ever tried looking into the eyes of a spider?

We have no secrets from one another. Gus sees me in all my primoidal glory as I shower and I have seen Gus devour a luckless fly without saying ‘grace’ or even waiting for the table to be laid.

Gus has caused untold mirth to pass between Esmeralda and me when we hear a shriek from any female visitors who have ventured into the bathroom to ‘powder their nose(s)’ and caught sight of Gus looming above. There has also been the occasional hardy soul who has offered to get rid of the brute per means of a rolled-up newspaper. I think this is more to assert their maleness and always hasten to add that Gus is part of an experiment and tap the side of my nose.

“Ah,” they say knowingly,“ah, gotcha!” Really, I say in my head, what part of what I just said do you understand?

Just for the record Gus is a black house spider with probably a body length of about 2cms. Officially called Badumna insignis the black house spider is a common species of Australian spider, found throughout much of Australia and New Zealand. It has a life span of at least 2 years and its bite is venomous though not usually fatal.

Through this relationship with Gus, I believe we have both learnt a little of life, such as give-and-take. Gus gives us a window full of intricate, if untidy, cobwebs and I take some/most of the web away whenever it takes over too much of the glass. Gus retreats into this little funnel shape of a web and waits until my house-cleaning is completed and then emerges to spin an equivalent sized web to what I removed in less time than it takes to say ‘daddy longlegs’.

And any errant flies are despatched quick-smart while I refrain from spraying any toxic fumes into the air. I’m sure our friends talk about us and our spider-in-the-bathroom fixation. I have a reputation for being more than a little loopy and Esmeralda is possibly criticised for allowing me to ‘keep’ Gus.

Well, they can all relax now as this morning Gus was missing from the usual spot up in the left hand corner. A search, slightly frantic, eventually found an emaciated Gus lying on its back all eight legs reaching skyward. A brief thought of some form of CPR was quickly dismissed and I flushed the body down the loo.

Later, I vaccuumed the window and it is now as if Gus never existed. But I have my memories.



Gus, Gus, Gus, you have left us all with such great memories, and, even though I never met you I feel I’ve lost a dear friend.

Posted on 16 Jul 12 (almost 4 years ago)

This might be my favorite journal ever!

Posted on 16 Jul 12 (almost 4 years ago)


Folia Helper

United States5b

You have a kind heart (and a mischievous soul), and tell a tale grandly!
Gus had a great friend, he will be missed.

Posted on 16 Jul 12 (almost 4 years ago)

In my family, it was a given that no one would ever think of hurting a spider. They were always known as friends of the household. Needless to say, this has caused a bit of friction between the grown-up me and society at large. I’m glad to know that there is someone else (albeit half a world away) with similar sentiments. And I don’t mind telling you that Gus’ demise, has brought a tear to my eye.

Posted on 16 Jul 12 (almost 4 years ago)


Folia Helper

United States4b

I too live harmoniously with all the spiders in my dwelling as well!

Posted on 16 Jul 12 (almost 4 years ago)

I second what Mamabluestem wrote. Thanks for the giggle.

Posted on 16 Jul 12 (almost 4 years ago)


Folia Helper


We had a golden orb web spider living between our plum trees along the driveway one summer. She was beautiful (& a jolly good hunter)…not to mention quite a talking point for anyone who visited. It was kind of sad when she finally died of natural causes but she left us a gift of a bazillion babies…one of whom went on to take up residence in our letterbox. One always had to remember not to put their hand too far into the letterbox because she’d sit there during the day cradling her egg sac. RIP Gus.

Posted on 17 Jul 12 (almost 4 years ago)

Oh my goodness….this story tugs at my heartstrings! Though a sad ending, I thank you for sharing it with us.

Posted on 17 Jul 12 (almost 4 years ago)

Thanks all for the spider support.

epiphany: I do like orb spiders except when I absentmindedly walk into one of their webs at night time. Never quite sure where the owner of the web is. Never had one in the letterbox but have had the odd huntsman take up residence within. Harvey was a fair lump of a spider who gave the postman a heck of a surprise one day when he popped the lid to be confronted by Harvey waving his/its front legs in his face. (insert laugh)

Posted on 17 Jul 12 (almost 4 years ago)

I need my dear sister to read this – she who has to check all corners of the room before going to bed ….and we don’t have any venomous ones! Thanks for sharing Gus’ tale.

Posted on 18 Jul 12 (almost 4 years ago)

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Castlemaine 3450


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