Living in Central America, things about myself that I thought would never change, are changing.
I have never really minded spiders, they don´t send me into a panic, or send me running. Perhaps I can "blame" my mother for my lax attitude towards spiders, being that she makes sure to have a pet black widow in a jar in the house at all times. Totally worth it, throwing other spiders in the jar and watching the death match is awesome, to say the least.
However, living and traveling in Guatemala and the surrounding countries, where insect life is abundant, has changed my attitude towards these creatures. Upon sighting a spider in my room or wherever, I used to be a "catch and release" type, believing that spiders are good because they kill far more annoying bugs. Then, one day as I commented that "Spiders eat other bugs", the person I was conversing with made the comment, "Yeah, and they get eaten too". Touché.
I live in a three story, virtually open air house, in the highland jungles of Guatemala. Spiders are everywhere in my house, literally. There are thousands of them, no exaggeration, sometimes I wonder if it´s millions. For the most part they mind their own business and stay out of my way, in the corners of the rooms or wrapping their webs in areas of the house where they are not bothersome. I even get a bit giddy when I see a fly or mosquito struggling to escape from a web as the spider approaches to kill it dead. Damn the flys!!!
But all this being said, if a spider is in my space, I no longer have the "catch and release" attitude. I now have the "smoosh upon first sight" attitude, even the tiny baby spiders. What am I supposed to do here? I swear, if I catch and release, it will come right back in, plus they are just too numerous to catch and release all damn day long. I have better things to do than chase spiders around my room. They will learn to stay out of my space, or they will be a gross looking wall decoration, right next to the smooshed flys.
The hugest spider I ever had to smoosh was when I was in Guatemala the first time, last year. This thing was the size of a small baby and was on the wall of my hotel room. I could not do anything until that thing was dead. As my flip-flop flew through the air towards the thing, I screamed like a little girl, then did the dance of grossness immediately afterwards for at least two minutes. The giant was mangled and dead on the floor, but I was able to change my clothes without being watched and I was able to sleep.
The above pictured spider, inside the toilet tank of the hotel I stayed in during my recent trip to Mexico is the inspiration for this blog post. That spider is also the size of a baby and being in a very precarious position, I had to be creative with how to smoosh it. A long stick came in handy. Then it floated in the toilet water as the flushes drained and refilled the tank. I´m sure someday it´s body will rot in the toilet tank water and the circle of life will be complete.