about this blog



I started this blog in 2008. It started mainly as a way of tracking the evolution of my dry garden, and that led to an interest in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden. It's still about the garden and wildlife, but now my passion is thinking about how we humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas.

Monday, 6 March 2017

sharing the garden - and house - with spiders

I love sharing the garden with spiders and would never dream of being inhospitable. But ...  I wish they wouldn't build their webs across paths. It creeps me out when I get web in my hair and on my face, and I imagine it's a worse shock for them.


A Garden Orb Weaving spider has woven its web across a path I manage to avoid. Every night I visit it and watch it repairing its web from the ravages of the day, and polishing off any tasty insects caught in its web.

Usually it's not around in the daytime but the other day it must have been hungry and I watched it devouring a tiny fly, not at all put off by the fact it was still wriggling.






Then there are shy spiders that good at hiding. The Leaf Curling Spider (genus Phonognatha) uses a dried leaf to hide in. It is also an orb weaver like the one above, so there a big web around it. This one is carefully spun across the path to the compost. So far I have managed to avoid damaging the web and getting webbing in my hair by going the long way round.

If anyone knows how to train spiders not to build their webs across paths, I would love to hear from them.


Another shy spider is this Black House Spider (Badumna insignis) that comes out at night to hunt. I have glimpsed it a couple of times, but it must feel the vibrations of my steps because whenever I get near it immediately dashes into its hole. Mostly all I see is one leg. This spider adorns cracks in external doors and windows with its silk. It doesn't build webs across paths - like some spiders I know.

Brown House Spider leg

13 comments:

  1. Hey Catmint if ypu gently move their web away from the path and in the direction you would rather it will eventually learn .

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  2. thanks for the tip, Serena. Hopefully no more creepy spider silk on my face ...

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  3. Like you I am careful of them in the garden, but when they invade the house, I can't be doing with them there! Training spiders, now there's a thought!

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    1. You can start a spider school in England and I'll start one here!

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  4. Like you, I enjoy spiders and the work they do in our gardens and homes. My attempts at training them to build their webs away from paths has not been at all successful. Maybe we could train flies to buzz around less-traveled areas.

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    1. What a good idea, now we need a fly-training strategy!

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  5. It's spring here so webs aren't an issue (autumn is very tickley outdoors) and the last of the spiders which over-winter in my house are on their way out . . . or whatever happens to them at this time of year. I find I like all spiders as long as they don't have hairy legs - and as long as they don't run around on my bed. I don't know why I don't like hairy legs.

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    1. I'm thinking - waxing? shaving? But I suppose it would be regarded as cruelty to the poor animals.

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  6. I know some grown men who are so freaked out by spiders that they remind me of that cartoony image of a woman jumping on a chair because a mouse is running across the floor. It's just amazing. Most of the insect world fascinates rather than repels me.

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    1. Me too. A few years ago we had a house guest who had recently served in the front line in the Israeli army. He was petrified of spiders!

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    2. My guess is that more men that women are freaked out by spiders but I don't understand why.

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  7. I believe spiders are a sign of a healthy garden - I love them too - except for red-backs.

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    1. I don't mind red backs so much because at least they're not aggressive. I'm relieved there are no funnel web spiders this far south - so far anyway.

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