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A Scream from the Bathroom a Spiders Visit

Updated on August 4, 2015

Spiders Not Always Welcome Indoors

 This spider crawling along the ceiling would cause consternation with many people. Wikipedia public domain.
This spider crawling along the ceiling would cause consternation with many people. Wikipedia public domain.

Notes from a Lancashire Countryman

11pm at night- a scream reverberated from the bathroom causing me to run up the stairs in trepidation. Was there an intruder ? Had my wife seen a ghost ? What awaited me ?These questions passed through my mind in the couple of seconds that it took me from departing the kitchen and arriving at my wife's side in order to protect her from the cause of her distress. Upon my entry of the bathroom all seemed perfectly normal with the exception of my beloveds pale face and her shaking disposition. She pointed towards the empty tub and without a word left the room.

Inside the tub was a very large spider possibly Tegebaria gigantea the U.K.s largest species. My efforts to explain that the creature was harmless fell upon death ears and I was left to deal with "teggy" on my own. I simply cupped my hands over the spider, took it down stairs to the garden and released him into the garden. The spider was likely to be just as grateful to be out of the bath as my wife was to see it removed.

I have never understood the fear of the U.K.s 600 species of spiders which do not bite humans { or if they do the bite is not strong enough to break the skin} and cannot inject toxin of any kind. However, the fear is real for many people as my wife confirmed. Should you find a spider in your bath tub there are ways to remove it without touching  them or more importantly { to the spider} not killing them. One method is to hang a towel over the side of the bath allowing enough of the towel to reach the base. This will allow the spider to climb out if they are left alone for a while. If your inclination is to remove the spider out of the confines of your home altogether try putting a tumbler or similar container over the spider. Slip a thin piece of card { a post card is ideal } under the rim and turn the whole thing upside down so that the spider falls to the bottom of the tumbler. keep the glass covered with the card and liberate the spider in the garden preferably away from the house if possible. There are specific products for catching and removing spiders from your home but the former method is reliable and a lot less expensive.

So why do spiders come into the house during autumn ?. Some come in to hibernate, many come in and leave egg sac's behind that will hatch in the following spring.  Some such as the Tegenaria species habitually live in houses, where they feed on flies and other pests. They may inadvertently be brought indoors. Washing hung out to dry may be near enough to the ground to allow spiders to climb on board. Many will be unnoticed as the laundry is brought indoors. They may also just walk along the washing line and simply walk onto the washing. They can also gain access on the clothes you are wearing .  

How can you stop spiders coming indoors ? the simple answer is that you can't. Most spiders just find a suitable place outside such as an old stone wall where they will find holes and crevices in which to hide. They simply seal the entrance and become dormant until spring.

Garden Spiders

A look at your hedgerow on a damp morning will almost certainly reveal a plethora of spiders webs , sparkling with dew. It is at this time that you realise just how many spiders live in your garden and other localities. Many of these webs will have been constructed for months but they are only plainly visible on damp or dewy mornings. Species that do not construct aerial webs need to be sought out in such places as on plants, crevices in walls and even beneath stones. Many may be found crawling on the bricks of walls and houses. Let us look at a small sample of these species.

Garden spider-Araneus diadematus are usually found in late summer and early autumn. The female is often visible in her vertical orb web which is hung on bushes, low trees and herbaceous plants, they may also be found on fences and similar situations. The female is 10-13mm long while the male is smaller at 4-8 mm.

There is a diagnostic white cross formation along her abdomen which gives rise to the alternative name of the cross spider. This species ls her eggs which develop inside a silky sac and she remains with them until she dies.

NURSERY WEB SPIDER. Pisaura mirabilis--- This species may be encountered on foliage sun bathing.The females are 12-15mm long while the males are 10-13 mm . They are grey, yellowish or brown, with a slim body. There is a paler stripe running down the side of their carapace. The abdomen is marked paler along its sides. Along the top of the abdomen is marked with a leaf-like formation., however, this varies in size and colour. It is found throughout the summer. They are common and wide spread throughout the world. These spiders are commonly found in woodland but may well be encountered in gardens on herbage. When inclement conditions prevail they will come indoors. Locally this species is fond of nettle beds where many are located. They feed on insects and have been known to consume smaller spiders. They do not construct webs. They hunt by remaining perfectly still on the foliage until a victim comes close enough to be caught.

Studies have revealed that the male catches an insect before wrapping it up. he will then carry it around until he happens upon a female to which it will present it as a present. he will mate with her while she is preoccupied eating the gift. Where it not for this timely present he would most likely be eaten himself by the larger female.

The eggs she lays are placed into a sac she produces. The sac will be carried around by her { this may be observed between June and July} In her jaws until the eggs are ready to hatch. At this time she will construct a protective nursery web which she will protect bravely until her young are independent enough to disperse.

ZEBRA SPIDER--Salticus scenicus This species belongs to the family Salticidae-the jumping spiders. It is thought that the large prominent eyes afford the creature excellent vision. Indeed this species will sit up and take a close look at you as you observe it.

Female zebra spiders are 5-7mm long the males are smaller at 5-6mm long. These tiny spiders are aptly named having black bodies which hosts white hairs that form stripes. They are found throughout the world. On sunny days they may be encountered on walls, herbage and fences. They tend to hunt victims including other spiders of a similar or smaller size than them. They utilise their large front eyes to locate prey and stalk them until they are within striking distance. They then jump upon the prey in a cat-like manner. Studies have shown that they glue a thread to the spot where they take off from in case the target is missed thus, they can climb back up the thread to start again.

The male entices a female by performing a courtship dance which involves waving his front legs while at the same time moving his abdomen up and down . the better he moves the more chance he has of the female being attracted to him. Once they have mated the female will lay her eggs which are then protected in a sac which she guards with devotion. She will stay with the young until the spiderlings become independent.

OTHER SPECIES OF Common garden spiders.----INCLUDE;

SPOTTED Wolf spider-Pardosa amentata

COMMON Crab spider--Xysticus cristatus

WANDERING CRAB SPIDER- Philodromus aureolus.

HAMMOCK WEB SPIDER-Linyphia triabgularis

WINDOW Lace spider-Anaurborus fenestralis

SNAKE'S BACK SPIDER-Segestria senoculata

COMMON Orb weave-Meta segmentata

MOTHERCARE SPIDER- Theridion sisyphium

RED AND WHITE SPIDER-Enoplognatha ovata

WALNUT ORB WEAVER-Nuctenea umbratica


Along Came a Spider--

nursery web spider is common and widespread in gardens; Wikipedia public domain
nursery web spider is common and widespread in gardens; Wikipedia public domain
Zebra spider-is aptly named. photograph by Olaf Leillinger
Zebra spider-is aptly named. photograph by Olaf Leillinger


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    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      markbennis good to see you here. Thanks for commenting so kindly on A Scream from the Bathroom, they are much appreciated. Best wishes to you.

    • profile image

      markbennis 7 years ago

      This is very nice hub to read and with so much information about spiders that I never knew, you certainly know your subjects like a specialist so thank you, you are great source of information and an out standing writer.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      bellawritter23, nice to meet you. Thank you for your appreciated comments.

    • bellawritter23 profile image

      Erica Sanchez 7 years ago from California

      I love the words used for this hub D.A.L.! Thanks for the read.


    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      rafken, Indeed it is only here in the U.K. where spiders need not be feared. Thank you for your visit and for leaving your appreciated comments. Best wishes to you.

      The Vacation Lady, The spider on the bathroom ceiling is quite large but harmless to humans. Many people have this phobia about spiders. Thank you for your appreciated visit and for leaving your comments. Best wishes to you.

    • TheVacationLady profile image

      TheVacationLady 7 years ago from Everywhere

      OMG...these spiders in these pictures are terrifying!! I don't know what I would do if I saw one this big. As scared as I am of spiders I do try to catch and release outside (unless one of my dogs or cat gets to it first) HOWEVER...a spider of this size....hmmmmmm, I don't really think I'd be able to get close enough to catch it.

    • rafken profile image

      rafken 7 years ago from The worlds my oyster

      Very useful hub, however, I'm not in the UK anymore. Belize is a whole diferent ball game. When one of the family shout "spider", I have to approach with a little more caution. Thanks for the support.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      gr82bme, thank you for your visit . Spiders like many things in this world are loved or hated depends on your view. Thank you again for reading and for taking the time to comment.Best wishes to you.

    • gr82bme profile image

      gr82bme 7 years ago from USA

      I still hate spiders! I will never like them. I get them in my house all the time. YUK!

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Pastella 13, nice to meet you. Your story of the spider also amused me. For some people just the sight of a spider is enough to cause hysterics it seems. Thank you for reading and for leaving your comments. Best wishes to you.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Pegcole17, nice to meet you. Thank you so much for your amusing encounter, and for your appreciated comments. You are forgiven for the double post ha,ha, best wishes to you.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      ok sorry, double post. I was too quick on the button.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiikkkkkkkkss! A Spiiiiiider! eeeyow. When I stepped out onto the porch this morning to let the dog out, I felt something brush the top of my hair. Looking up into the porch light, dangling above me was an intricate spider web glistening in the morning dew. I danced around madly turning my head upside down, frantically brushing the sticky strands from my hair. The neighbors must have thought I was crazy. Oh well.

      What a great story you tell - and good advice for mercifully removing these intruders.

    • profile image

      pastella13 7 years ago

      Spiders! The very word fills us all with dread. I cannot kill anything; after all, they've got just as much right to live as we have. We just get a tumbler, piece of cardboard and put them into the garden.

      It reminds me of one instance when my daughter got her coat off the bannister and was putting it on. I happened to see the biggest spider I've ever seen crawl inside it as she was putting her arm into it.

      I wanted to say something, but the words got stuck in my throat. I stood there with a look of horror on my face and pointed. She took one look and turned into someone who was in the throes of a full-blown fit, while desperately trying to rid herself of this cumbersome heavy-weight material that seemed to have wrapped itself around her like a zipped-up sleeping bag. The more she struggled, the more she got stuck.

      The screams were unmerciful and it must have sounded if she was being murdered. Hysterically, not knowing whether to laugh or cry, I eventually managed to free her and she ran to the other room.

      And the beauty of it is, she didn't even know what she was supposed to be frightened of!

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      hi 2uesday, thank you for visiting. I can't imagine a gardener such as your self being squealish about spiders. best wishes.

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 7 years ago

      An interesting spider page, I find the little spiders that 'jump' are sometimes more difficult to catch then the bigger ones. But it is the big spiders that make me squeal.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Support Med, it is true that in many parts of the world some species of spider can be dangerous. We are lucky that here in the U.K. none of our species are poisonous to humans. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment.

    • Support Med. profile image

      Support Med. 8 years ago from Michigan

      If it's big and it suddenly appears, I may scream! Had one on my front enclosed all last summer, it didn;t bother us so we didn't bother it, it was good to catch the the flies and bees that sometimes would get in, in spite of the screens. Wonder where it is now? Or did it die during winter? I really do not know. As for the zebra spider, I would love to see that male mating dance, LOL! I'm not a spider fan, do not like them in my home. I have seen pics of people who have been bitten by spiders and it looks like a deep hole; maybe it's the type of spider bite, I don't really know. Recently, on the news there was a woman who lost her breast because of a spider bite, she took it for granted, thought nothing of it and did not see a doc about it until too late, it was a Brown Recluse Spider. I'm no spider expert, so I just don't want to get bit.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Thank you coverly1 for reading the hub and for your comments. You have much more reason to be wary of spiders in your country than we have here in the U.K.

    • coverley1 profile image

      coverley1 8 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Good information. I don't fear spiders, but after being bitten by one which made me very sick, headachy, slurred speech, feverish and an enormous swelling at the site of the bite I am now wary of them. In Australia we should all know our snakes and spiders but I don't. Keep promising myself to learn more about day! It wouldn't have mattered how much I knew when I was bitten because I never saw the thing before it bit me.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Thank you. In the U.K. spiders are generally harmless. The larger house spiders only do good by eating the tiny things we don't see, but they are still there1

    • profile image

      poetlorraine 8 years ago

      i have never come face to face with a large spider, nor do i want to ..... enjoyed the hub

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Thank you TinaV for your appreciated comment. Nice to meet you!

    • TINA V profile image

      TINA V 8 years ago

      I play with house smaller spiders when I was still a kid. Funny, isn't it? But I have a fear for bigger spiders. There is one type of a spider that is poisonous. I just forgot the name. I was able to watch it on tv in National Geographic. This hub is very informative.

      Have a great weekend!

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      I have read your hub , excellent. thank you for your comments

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 8 years ago from England

      Hi, I just thought I'd pop over and say hello. yes I still hate spiders, did you read my hub about them? it will tell you all about my exploits with the horrible little beasts! thanks again Nell

    • LizzyBoo profile image

      LizzyBoo 8 years ago from Czech Republic

      I have a fear for spiders. I actually bought 3 tarantulas to get rid of the fear. Thank you for your hub. I am not affraid of tarantulas anymore but when I see a spider in a bathrom, I scream as mad!


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