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A crazy spider lives in the litter box
Darn crazy spider!
Imagine my surprise one evening as I started to scoop the litter box, and a big spider popped out of the litter. I reached over with the scoop to remove it from the box, and it ran -- fast. This Mario Andretti of spiders was wheeling around the box faster than I could move with the scoop. After giving me a merry chase, I was finally able to scoop it up, but then it jumped into the floor and laid a rubber streak down the hall. It sped into the laundry room and under the washer, and that was the last of it. Or so I thought.
The next evening I started to scoop the box again, and there sat Little Miss Muffet, except she wasn’t sitting on a tuffet, but it did start with at “T”. (That earned her the name.) Then Tas, my 20 lb. black monster cat, brushed past me, hopped into the box and proceeded to do some business. The spider nonchalantly moved out of his way. Either Tas didn’t see Miss Muffet or he ignored her. As soon as he left, Miss Muffet and I had another merry chase, and I lost track of her this time.
Again, the next day I picked up the litter box to completely change the litter, and there she was crouching under the box just waiting for her chance to jump back in. I assume it was the same one, after all, how many crazy spiders are there? I chased her again. This time she ran up the wall and onto the ceiling and through a vent.
As Dizzy Dean once said, this was déjà vu all over again. It just kept on déjà vuing, and I wonder if it was the same spider. How long is a spider’s lifespan? Anyway, a week later an incident occurred with a similar spider half that size. Did Miss Muffet lay her eggs in the box and this one hatch? I don’t know, but if it did, the rest of them now reside at the city dump. I rounded up the liner full of litter and tossed it into the garbage can outside.
I thought maybe these spiders were wolf spiders that wander into my underground house. Wolf spiders are a nocturnal ground spider that does not build webs. However, Miss Muffet and her family more closely resemble the common grass spider, a web builder, but I don’t find any webs built by her.
My residents are large, about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, including the legs, and grayish-brown in color. Unlike what I’ve read about the aggressive wolf spider, they are very shy and seem harmless enough. I’m glad because we can’t seem to rid our house of them. We don’t spray very often because we have cats with health problems, Katrina is 19 years old and Tas is diabetic. In the past the cats have chased spiders and eaten them, but this variety is not on their menu. They seem to prefer eating the spiders that build webs in the corners or eating crickets. Cats do have discriminating tastes.
I have a theory as to why the spiders are attracted to the litter box. Any time we see a web, it contains, or at least nearby is a spider of seemingly no kin to Miss Muffet or her family. I think those webs are Charlotte’s. I’m not sure that my speedy spiders are webmakers, and maybe the clay litter is the closest they can find inside to dirt (which means they haven't checked out hubby's den). Anyway, Miss Muffet and her relatives have provided me with some interesting entertainment that I can expect each spring.
September 11, 2012. When I went into the bathroom this morning, the first thing I noticed was one of the crazy spiders curled up dead in front of the litter box, a victim, I suppose of the spray I had used around the baseboards in the bathroom the week before. An underground house attracts all kinds of insect critters, and the only way one can have a “green” underground house is to live with them. We try not to resort to spray, but when unidentifiable fuzzy things invade the bathroom, that’s it! I spray. Anyway, back to the spider.
This is the closest I have ever come to one of them. I gingerly picked it up on a paper towel and took this photo. With the legs uncurled, it would be about 3 inches across. Can anyone identify it for me?