Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Creepy Crawlies

I have to admit that I’ve become a bit of a spider freak since we moved to “our desert”, as my kids like to call it. When we lived in the city, the very idea of a spider made my skin crawl, but now when I find one, the science geek in me comes out and I actually get a little excited.

It all started about four years ago when I found a small brown spider under some boxes. The spider had a marking on its back in the shape of a fiddle. I knew that the brown recluse had a marking like this so I got online to see if I could find a photo. It was surprisingly difficult to find an actual photo of a brown recluse but I learned from descriptions and drawings that the spider I had found was indeed a brown recluse.

Now, most people would have been horrified by this finding. I, however, found it very fascinating and started catching all of the spiders I could find and checking to see if they were recluses. We’ve found a few black widows but the majority of the spiders at our house (other than the daddy long legs) are brown recluses. Since we moved in I’ve found over thirty. They really seem to like the accommodations in our shed, but there have been a few that have found their way into the house. The only one that really scared me was when I put Talise's jacket on her and there was one on the back of it. I was really glad I was helping her that time.

I found one a few months back and managed to get some pretty decent photos. They’re so small that it’s difficult to capture the detail of the eyes and the fiddle shaped marking. This is best way to identify them. They aren’t the only ones with the fiddle shaped marking but that combined with three pairs of eyes in the shape of a V means that chances are very good it’s a recluse.

In addition to the spiders, we have also found a few wind scorpions (aka camel spiders), a walking stick, three or four scorpions, a couple of red racers and one rattlesnake. Plus, there are hundreds (not an exaggeration) of cottontail rabbits and ground squirrels that love our little patch of grass in the front yard.

If you’re interested in seeing the kind of damage a brown recluse can do, just go to http://www.youtube.com/ and do a search for “brown recluse bites”. For those with weak stomachs, you may want to forgo this option. Most of the videos are pretty disgusting.


  1. You are CRAZY!!!!!! Really? You are insane to get that close to that thing! I know all about your fascination with creepy crawlies I have seen your jar on the bathroom counter!!! Love ya!

  2. Hi, saw your comment on Nathan Bransford's De-lurking blog post and thought I'd say hi.

    I'm quite grateful to live in the city. I don't get the creepy crawlies in Mesa.