Huge spider

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medbh
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Huge spider

Postby medbh » Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:33 pm

I went outside to get the mail yesterday, and there was a HUGE spider (2" plus with legs) hanging from the roof. I seriously wondered if it was a native spider or something from the tropics. I'm an outdoorsy person and generally am fine with spiders, but it freaked me out. It had a huge body and super long legs. I made my husband go look for it when he got home from work. He didn't see it, but found a web that stretched from the ground to the roof of the house.

So what's the biggest/nastiest spider you've seen locally? Think that was an escaped pet, or are there native spider-dog hybrids? <shudder> I think I'm done checking the mail until we get a couple of good frosts...

fisticuffs
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Postby fisticuffs » Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:39 pm

Was it just a big garden Spider?..
Image

They are pretty common around here. I had one hanging from 2 stories up at my place also have one every year where we go out to smoke at work.

medbh
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Postby medbh » Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:45 pm

fisticuffs wrote:Was it just a big garden Spider?..

They are pretty common around here. I had one hanging from 2 stories up at my place also have one every year where we go out to smoke at work.


That's the shape, but it was brown with white specks. And what do you mean "just" a big garden spider?! I've been gardening for years and have never seen one like that before. Wisconsin spiders are supposed to normal-sized and eat eat mosquitos and flies, not mice. I only want to see big spiders on the nature channel.
Last edited by medbh on Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

fisticuffs
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Postby fisticuffs » Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:51 pm

That's the shape, but it was brown with white specks. And what do you mean "just" a big garden spider?! I've been gardening for years and have never seen one like that before. Wisconsin spiders are supposed to normal-sized and eat eat mosquitos and flies, not mice. I only want to see big spiders on the nature channel.


I'm pretty sure this is what you have. They've had a lot to eat this summer. Around work we are overrun with grasshoppers and I've seen some pretty big carcasses in our Garden Spider's web. They are harmless even when unusually large. That might also explain the color difference although most of them I have seen stay pretty yellow. I could be wrong though any other guesses?

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Postby Violet_Skye » Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:56 pm

Was it this brown spider?

Image

I had him hanging around my garden last year...body is about the size of between a nickel and a quarter, add legs to that and you have one giant creepy crawly. I normally have plenty of garden orb spiders like the one in the pictures posted above, as well. I haven't seen either of them this year, though. Just plenty of gargantuan sized grasshoppers.

medbh
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Postby medbh » Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:20 pm

Violet_Skye wrote:Was it this brown spider?


That's the right color, but its body was bigger than a quarter. Maybe I just got a really well fed one...

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Postby fisticuffs » Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:26 pm

You should try to lick it. Does it taste venomous?

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Postby ilikebeans » Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:53 pm

Probably was a common barn spider (Figure 9). Yes, they do eat insects, including large grasshoppers and moths. No mice.

You can check your mail again-- we don't have any dangerous spiders in this state.

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Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:09 pm

ilikebeans wrote:You can check your mail again-- we don't have any dangerous spiders in this state.

Not so fast.

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Postby el guante » Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:02 pm

honestly, i think this is the best thing about moving away from madison. a very noticeable difference here in downtown minneapolis. when i come back to the isthmus for shows i'm always reminded of how many spiders there are. no thank you.

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Postby ilikebeans » Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:34 am

Henry Vilas wrote:
ilikebeans wrote:You can check your mail again-- we don't have any dangerous spiders in this state.

Not so fast.

Eh.

Research has shown that over 80% of suspected "spider bites" are caused by other arthropods, such as insects and ticks, or other disease states.
...
Both the black widow and the brown recluse (neither of which is native to our area) are timid, nonaggressive spiders. Confirmed bites from these spiders are extremely rare in the Upper Midwest.
...
Brown recluse: "Only two specimens have been recorded in Wisconsin in the last 25 years."

Regarding those species, I would think your chances of encountering one in Wisconsin, let alone getting bitten, are far smaller than getting struck by lightning or winning the lottery. Educated guess.

But then there's this:

The bite of a common sac spider (Chiracanthium) can be misdiagnosed as a brown recluse spider bite. Injuries develop in a similar manner but are much less severe. Reactions, such as swelling, slow healing, and ulcerated sores around the bite site, are similar enough to be confusing. If you are bit-ten by a spider, ice and elevate the bite site. Seek medical attention if the symptoms persist or intensify. Physicians will often prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary infections. Most bites will start to improve in a few hours to 2-3 days.

I've run across this description before, which had me a bit concerned. We regularly have sac spiders (picture: scroll to figure 4) in our apartment building, usually in corners by the ceiling in the hallway.

However, I've never heard of anyone being bitten from these spiders in our state in all my years. Not saying it doesn't happen at all, but I'd be more worried about getting bitten by your neighbor's Jack Russell Terrier.

Anyone in health care heard/seen anything about sac spider bites?

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Postby snoqueen » Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:21 am

No official info from me, but I remember when we were little kids, we loved to pull apart those woven spider sacs. They're full of itty bitty tiny pale white spiders! At least they are at some certain time of year. They're inside the sac cannibalizing one another all winter, and in the spring the survivors gnaw their way out. Or something.

Folklore, I'm sure. But the spiders never did us any harm, the big ones or the itty bitty ones either.

I hope kids are still given enough free time these days to observe and enjoy spiders, anthills, toads, and other curiosities of the natural world.

Here's another curiosity: The daddy long legs spiders make a noise. It's a single click, soft but sharp, repeated at long intervals. If you've got one up in the corner of a room, you can hear it and follow the click to locate the spider. I don't know if it's a chewing noise or a communication, but it sounds like someone clicking their fingernail.

My father showed me this. He also had a theory box elder bugs communicate with each other by screaming at a pitch inaudible to humans, but I'll save that for another time.

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Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:37 am

snoqueen wrote:My father showed me this. He also had a theory box elder bugs communicate with each other by screaming at a pitch inaudible to humans, but I'll save that for another time.

There's a mother-in-law joke to be found in there, but since I'm not married yet and like my future MiL very much, I won't make it.

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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:39 am

snoqueen wrote:Here's another curiosity: The daddy long legs spiders make a noise.


This sentence raises a question I've been curious about ever since I saw The Mythbusters episode about daddy long legs.
What do you all call "daddy long legs"?
On the show, they used what I've always called a cellar spider but made no mention of the thing that I grew up calling a daddy long legs, the harvestman.
Watching the show, I remember thinking how stupid it was because the harvestman isn't even a spider, but apparently, my usage is not the most common one.

So, what say you Forons? What do y'all call "daddy long legs"? And where are you from? 'Cuz I want to know if my usage is limited to a specific geography (I grew up in Northern Illinois.)

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Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Oct 17, 2008 10:49 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:So, what say you Forons? What do y'all call "daddy long legs"? And where are you from? 'Cuz I want to know if my usage is limited to a specific geography (I grew up in Northern Illinois.)

I do remember that from the venom episode. Didn't realize they weren't using the right critter. I know the harvestman as "daddy longlegs," and I'm from the Appleton (WI) area.


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