Just as I was curling up with my notes and a hot cup of tea tonight, I saw a shadow run across the kitchen floor. Thinking Harvey the mouse had returned with a peace offering (perhaps those delish Digestive cookies with the caramel and chocolate), I smiled and looked over my shoulder invitingly.
To my dismay, it wasn’t the adorable diseased varmint Harvey who had cast a shadow across my flat, but an absolutely enormous spider.
Good feelings melted away. I quit smiling.
I didn’t panic, however, as I had seen this type of spider a few weeks ago during the Great Revision Week Arachnid Scare of September 2013. I had faced this foe before and survived, unscathed, just like the brave Scottish warrior poets of my fantasies.
I quietly reached for my trusty purple Converse All-Star sneaker and bravely marched across the room to where the spider was standing.
It paused and turned to look at me.
I am serious. The spider turned around and stared at me.
So, I took a picture.
It’s a bit blurry, not because my hand was shaking (I was like the brave warrior poet, remember?) but, because the lights are really dim in my flat. That’s why the photo is crap. It’s the lighting. Ask any photographer.
If I hadn’t been scared out of my wits (Errr umm, in the grand warrior poet way of being scared out of my wits…), I would have put something by the spider for size reference. Let it suffice to say this is a really big spider.
Apollo the Arachnid Thunder God (yeah, I named him) stared at me as I brought my converse down with such ferocity, I fear I may have knocked a clock off my downstairs neighbor’s wall. Sorry, neighbor.
Oh dear, I can already feel the disapproval and judgement.
Don’t tell me it’s bad luck to kill spiders. Don’t tell me killing spiders brings rain. I live in Scotland now, I doubt anything will prevent the rain and I don’t kill spiders when they are outside. When they come into my house, however, it’s a different story. Action must be taken to eliminate all spiders who are attracted to me from the gene pool. Apollo will not be passing his poor-judgment on to any decedents. The smart spiders, who stay outside – in nature – where they belong, will live and thrive. The spiders who come inside get squished. It’s called natural selection. I’m just doing my part, ok?
The only thing worse than seeing Apollo the Arachnid Thunder God run across my kitchen floor, would be to see him run across my bed. Or my face as I awaken in sheer horror. Yuck.
Since Apollo was the second of his freakishly large kind I had seen since moving here, I decided that seeing really big spiders in Scotland might just be more common than I had initially thought. (Initially, I assumed the grossly over-sized arachnid was a stowaway on a bunch of bananas from the tropics because I thought spiders that big only lived in jungles).
I Googled “Really Big Spiders Scotland,” hoping to see a travel blog or two about these rare creatures. Instead, I found a ton of hits (and pictures) for the Giant House Spider.
Really, Scotland!? Giant House Spiders! Are you kidding me!?
I couldn’t bring myself to delve into any of the articles or sift through the pictures, but I did pull some fun facts from Wikipedia:
Female body size can reach 18.5 millimetres (0.73 in) in length…
…it has earthy tones of brown and muddy red or yellow. They also have conspicuously hairy legs, palps and abdomen.
With speeds clocked at 1.73 ft/s (0.53 m/s), the giant house spider held the Guinness Book of World Records for top spider speed until 1987 when it was displaced by sun spiders (solfugids) although the latter are not true spiders as they belong to a different order…
Awesome. Scotland is a breeding ground from some of the largest, fastest spiders on the planet. That’s fantastic.
I’m going to drink a glass of whisky and go to bed.