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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Big-Scary-I-Found-It-In-My-Kitchen Inspiration -or- Why I Believe Tolkein Went To Summer Camp in Alabama

Quick! What does this remind you of?

I'm thinking..... Bilbo Baggins does the bad end of Mirkwood.... anyone else?

What about this one?

Samwise vs Shelob in a Three Round Death Match? anyone?

Are you seeing this?

These horrible, hideous, orc-loving, cock roach-cuddling, hobbit-gnawing man-eaters are what I find in my closet, my kitchen, and by my front door.

After spending a month in Alabama and seeing the availabale spiders my running theory is that Tolkein's mother used to bring him here on vacation. Obviously the "nest" webs of the rapid wolf spider are what inspired Tolkein to write the scene in Mirkwood forest for the Hobbit. Waking up to a rapid wold spider on his chest or night stand is what inspired the encounter with Shelob, I'm almost sure of it. Same predatory habits (stalking prey), same size (give or take an active imagination), and the same basic description (brownish). Yup, this is the spider of Tolkein's fevered childhood nightmares.

This is Rabidosa rabida the Rabid Wolf Spider. It has 5 inch legs and no fear of anything. It is a wanderer (hums the song) that likes to stalk it's prey. And the infernal thing took me nearly a week to identify!

I had to actually catch one (stalking the Small and Pink toddler who nightly raids the fridge- I kid you not the stupid thing was waiting in front of the fridge like I was going to make it a sandwich!), put the creature of all-minor-evil in a container, and sit there turning it around for a good view of its markings while I searched google. All I can say is I hope it has a headache.

Being rather soft-hearted (and hearing that the spiders will eat ants) I put the Son of Shelob in the backyard where it was chases by a large toad. The spider escaped and tomorrow I can watch Rabid Spider vs the Ant Queen live. The ants ate the Japanese beetle that was harrassing my tomato plants alive, but they also like to bite Small and Pink so it's hard to know who to root for.

So.... back to the point of this post......here's another source of inspiration. You don't need to go stalking through the Forgotten Realms or a D&D reference book to find good monsters. Or maybe even good protagonists. Although, if you make this spider a good guy I'm not sure we can talk anymore (that means YOU Sparky). There is inspiration for writing everywhere (including in front of the fridge) if you are willing to stumble out of bed and almost step on it (or look for it, which might be safer).

Good luck hunting inspiration!

I'm off- the hunt is on to find something that likes to eat roaches AND big spiders. Preferrably that isn't a big poisonus snake, or a small smelly cat, that will eat toads (the toads keep my garden lovely by eating slugs). Suggestions such as "bigger spider" are really not what I'm looking for here.I will however accept applications from pixies and garden gnomes. If they do my dishes while scaring away spiders that would be an added bonus.

P.S. Pictures and random information on my striped nemesis found Here. A big thank you to the people at FCPS for their willingness to play papparazzi to the inverts of the world.


  1. . . . you just know now I need to have a spidery protagonist, right? %-)

    *spins plot ideas*

  2. Hehe. *plans to stumble out of bed and see what sort of inspiration she steps on*

    Though it shall most likely be laundry :S

  3. *foresees laundry monsters in a future short story*

    Sparky, that's just wrong. On so many levels wrong....

  4. Blech. We have them in the Chicago area, though not as big or as prevelent as you seem to have them. And you're so right that they have no fear. Makes me want to get out my best stomping boots.

    I have heard of pluggable insect repelling, high-pitched noisemakers. The pitch is too high for human ears, even dog ears, I think. We've used the rodent version and it worked well. But I've no experience with the bug one.

  5. I have one plugged in thats supposed to keep insects away. I have no idea if it works, I haven't seen anything on that one wall but the rest of the house is fair game....

  6. A House Gecko (think the Geico Lizard, but plain and brown, and hopefully not narrarating while it feasts on your spiders and roaches)!

    :) Terri