I’m living in my own private Tanelorn

As autumn arrives, so does the influx of bold jumping spiders (Phidippus audax) into the garage. I personally have no problems with them in the house or outside, and not just because I’m not an arachnophobe. P. audax, at least in Texas, actually thrives indoors, where it feeds on silverfish, cockroaches, or any other verminous prey it can tackle. Between its distinctive green chelicerae and the distinctive personalities shown by individuals, P. audax is always welcome.

Well, not completely. That is, I don’t have problems with the occasional jumping spider on the ceiling, the cats become rather perturbed. Tramplemaine has become rather resigned to the reality that Dad won’t bring them down as treats, but Leiber will stand on his haunches and howl. Considering that the cat already sounds as if he’s been huffing helium, this howl belongs to a grasshopper mouse and not anything feline, but it’s still annoying in the middle of the night. I also have issues with jumping spiders in the garage, but that’s because I worry about stepping on them. That happened last night, when one P. audax big enough to cover a nickel fell off my bike seat and tried to use my leg as a launch platform. I just gently picked him up and carried him to the greenhouse.

This may seem cruel, seeing as how the greenhouse is full of carnivorous plants, but it’s not intended as such. This time of the year, the spiders are far too big to be snared by the sundews or any of the small Nepenthes pitcher plants. With the larger Nepenthes or the Cephalotus, they’ll hide inside the pitchers and wait for prey. When something comes along that might be reasonably tasty, WHAMMO!

You’d think that the Mediterranean geckos already inside the greenhouse might have issues with the influx of jumping spiders. You’d be right. Considering that the geckos won the war against the orbweaver spiders in the greenhouse last spring, they’re getting smarter, and the spiders are getting bigger in compensation. By next spring, either I’m going to have homicidal jumping spiders big enough to fit with a saddle and ride to work, or I’ll have sentient geckos. Either way, all I need to do is fit the greenhouse with cameras, and sell the resultant footage as lost episodes of Babylon 5. Everybody wins.

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