My Three Spiders
A spider died in my shower this morning. His name was Floki, and I apparently triggered one of the traps he set last night for George, the Jumping spider that lives in the bathroom skylight. Whatever trap was hit, Floki ran at me across the ceiling but the steam from the shower proved to be too much and he fell into the water. I got him to the ledge of the tub but he didn’t make it. George made an appearance about an hour ago, so he has survived the attempted invasion of his territory.
I know that all sounds ridiculous, but it’s all real. Floki was one of three cellar spiders in our house, and we’ve been able to track them since we moved in December 2020. Floki wasn’t the biggest – that’s Ragnar – but he would hang with his front legs outstretched in a way that made him look much bigger. He traveled the most of the three, frequently moving upstairs and down for his kills. When he showed up in my bathroom last night, I knew it was to hunt George, and I joked with Rich and Alex that we’d have to do a spider funeral soon. I was pretty sure that George was not long for the world with Floki on his heels. The little jumpy spider that is now bigger than a dime doesn’t know how lucky he got because of my shower.
Some of you are probably laughing at me right now. Some might think I’m making this all up. Who names their house spiders? Truth be told, this is a huge deal for me. I’m fucking terrified of spiders. The fear level absolutely requires the use of the “F” word. I have multiple stories of me and spiders, and none are good. But these three – Ragnar, Floki, and Halfdan – have been given full access to my house because they seem to fucking hate other fucking spiders as much as I do.
Ragnar was the first of the cellar spiders to make himself known. He’s massive for something with such a tiny body, and he is fierce. It was his gruesome kill-space littered with dead spiders that allowed me to be convinced by Rich’s argument that he was going to be helpful. I didn’t even know we’d had that many spiders alive at some point down there! Ragnar makes sure I never have to know.
Back in September we thought Ragnar died. He was tangled up in a web with a much bigger spider at the bottom of the stairs, and neither seemed to be alive. For more than a day we thought they’d succeeded at killing each other. Then Ragnar popped up above the dead guy after another day or so, and showed us how lethal he is. Floki also showed up shortly after we moved in. He was stalking Vlad, the elusive black widow on the stairs, but Rich killed Vlad first and Floki vanished for a few weeks after. I got the sense he wasn’t impressed with us interfering with his mission. For the last year he’s been easy to identify with his unique way of perching in his webs – front legs out straight, almost shaping himself like an arrowhead. Wish I’d thought to take a picture of how different his pose was from Ragnar and Halfdan.
Halfdan is the newest of the three, and he joined Floki in the guest room over the winter. He’s the smallest and most likely youngest, but he currently has an impressive graveyard in his perch corner downstairs. I know Ragnar probably won’t be around much longer; the cellar spider has an average lifespan of 2-3 years. Halfdan will have a lot of shoes to fill now that Floki is gone. We can’t let the bad spiders take the house.