My partner knows there is a spider in the house
July 2, 2017 6:23 AM   Subscribe

We've looked everywhere. It's not a large area to search, our humble home. It's a bedroom, bathroom, study, kitchen, and living room. There's a spider somewhere in here. Trying to find it has become a trial. I trust my partner, and when she says she saw it I believe her. I've seen some pretty big spiders, living in Australia. Though, we can't keep searching for this one endlessly. My question is: how can we forget there is a spider here or not here in our home, without knowing for certain.

It was as big as her hand, which could be a huntsman. They get pretty big, though they don't make webs, because they don't stay for long. Maybe it left? We're not freaked out by spiders either. We both think spiders are cool.
posted by adept256 to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A huntsman won't hurt you, and you're probably already living with a bunch of creepy crawlies that you can't see, so what's one more! They can hide in pretty tiny places, flatten themselves and slide behind or under things.

If you're truly spooked, give the bedroom one last lookaround, then sleep with the door closed with a rolled up towel blocking the gap under the door. Leave a window or two open if you can. It won't seem as scary in the morning.
posted by kjs4 at 6:36 AM on July 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Research, plausible deniability, story telling and magic

First of all, research indicates that huntsman spiders prefer territory that is undisturbed by humans, and will go inside houses to take shelter from rain, but do not willingly settle new territory in what they consider the area where a mated pair of larger predators (you) might be interested in preying on them or their egg sacs.

Plausible Deniability:
Therefore your spider is probably either already gone or wants to be gone at it's earliest convenience. As soon as conditions warrant: e.g. it's not about to rain and other spiders might misguidedly come in to shelter in your home, make sure there are ways for your temporary house guest to leave, that lead it to nice neighbourhoods where it might want to live, especially those that have food supplies for spiders such as crickets, and male spiders who might be singing enticingly about how handsome they are and how lonely they are.

Story telling:
If you are the least bit credulous - and most of us are, I would bet money that you have in the past spent money because of an advertisement - you can come up with a story that you tell yourselves concerning the spider which makes you feel more comfortable about her temporary tenancy in the house. The story that works will depend on the way you tell stories. For me, being whimsical, I would give her a name like Orchestrella, and talk about how she had to hide when the horrible humans were hunting for her because she had put down her valise, and how your cafeteria was devoid anything good to eat and how hungry she got with nothing wriggly to eat and only inert dry crumbs, but luckily it got dark and she retrieved her valise and was able to get out again to hunt for her One True Love, the boy spider with a Rhett Butler mustache. But your story is likely to be much more prosaic because you are not me, and might be, "It could have been hiding in the garbage." or "We probably stepped on it." and "If I did get bitten I'd get to take the day off work, just in case, so I'd catch up on those last two episodes of Game of Thrones." Notice how realistic and reassuring all three of these stories are.

Finish up with an act ritually performed to convince yourself emotionally that all is well and your spider has moved on. Seal the exit that you left open for the spider to leave. Formally thank the spider out loud for performing a cockroach inspection. Or vacuum and then dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag in the outside trash. Say a prayer of thanks to the deity of your choice for protecting you from spider bites. Write down the words, "I am confident that our spider is gone."

(Things not to do: Get a fluffy feather and tickle your partner; watch a scary horror movie about spiders; drink too much caffeine.)
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:03 AM on July 2, 2017 [56 favorites]

I give myself this talking to: You didn't know the spider was there until you saw it, and until then, you were fine. You can't see the spider now, and you can't do anything about it. The spider is there, but not bothering you, just like it was before you saw it. I guarantee it was in your house before you noticed, and that there are others in your house that you will never see. They exist even when you can't see them, but before you were aware of this spider, you were fine. Go back to that state.

Spiders are a fact of life, stop being freaked out by the concept of spiders being in your house. They are there now, they will be there later, they will always be there. Let it be. Don't reach where you can't see, shake your shoes out, and let it be.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:17 AM on July 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

There are always spiders. Occasionally you will actually see one. Not seeing one is not proof of no spiders, simply proof of shy spiders.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:41 AM on July 2, 2017 [6 favorites]

Some spiders are attracted to the ultrasonic frequencies of an electric toothbrush. You could try switching a brush on in different parts of the house.
posted by Perodicticus potto at 9:18 AM on July 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Spiders' eyes shine in the dark. Turn off the lights and scan around with a flashlight and look for a tiny shining dot. This will likely fail because the spider will have sought refuge under something, or died, or split town, but it's another thing to fruitlessly do, if you're searching for a pastime. If you do find it, you'll probably do this anyway, but for anybody else reading who has to deal with a more panicked response to insects and arachnids, try to do the cup and card trick, where you upend a bowl or something over the critter, slide a stiff card underneath, and gently transport it, unmaimed, outside. My boyfriend does this with roaches, and it's very nice. Modeling a calm, gentle reaction and not supporting the panicmurder response has the effect of calming it in the other person. I'm not there, yet, with roaches, but I expect soon I'll be a cup-and-carder, myself.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:39 AM on July 2, 2017

Just enjoy the meme?
posted by zadcat at 2:57 PM on July 2, 2017

Why does it matter either way, especially if you think they're cool. I mean, they don't bite, they don't chase, they're not going to hunt you down and kill you. It's very likely not still in the house, but if it is, it's not going to do anything anyway. I have one in my bathroom at the moment (I'm trying to catch it to let it out) but he's not doing anything. If I were you I would operate under the assumption yours has found its way out and forget about it.
posted by Jubey at 3:13 PM on July 2, 2017

Response by poster: She was cursed by a witch to wander the earth on eight hairy legs. Only a kiss would break the spell. Yet like one of those crap fairy tales, there was no happy ending. We found Jane the Brown Spider on the bookshelf in the study. We're glad that during her final hours she found refuge with us.

Now what do we do when our house is haunted by a ghost spider?
posted by adept256 at 4:03 PM on July 2, 2017 [15 favorites]

They shed alarming looking skins that they leave lying around, might this be the case?
posted by glitter at 12:51 AM on July 3, 2017

Response by poster: Jane left a body that was very much full of spider. She joined the kitchen scraps we donate to the compost at the community garden. In the spring when the flowers bloom, we'll remember her.

My partner and I would like to thank Jane, for making us take inventory and even finding things we thought we had lost. I have a cherished copy of Shakespeare's tragedies, which has annotations written in the margins over 80 years ago. A schoolgirl's thoughts upon Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet, are recorded there, and I thought I lost it. Jane in perhaps her final act, showed us where.

I would like to thank Jane the Brown, not the spider, the mefite. For being a super genius and very wise and we would like to award them the highest honour a civilian in Australia can give, The Koala Stamp. Thank you Jane.
posted by adept256 at 1:46 AM on July 3, 2017 [10 favorites]

Response by poster: We've been looking at the book, there's a picture of it here.

We're not superstitious people, we don't think the place is haunted. I took that photograph on my phone as proof no really I'm not kidding, look.

It's just really weird, and now we're reading the notes for clues.
posted by adept256 at 7:31 AM on July 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

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