As you may be able to tell from my earlier posts, I am pretty fascinated by all the birds, bugs and other critters who live near us and come visit our house. Last summer, a big brown spider took up residence in the doorway between our deck and our kitchen. All summer and fall, she built the most incredible webs, and we always tried not to disturb her, since we figured she was making a dent in our pesky local mosquito and Mayfly population.
And then one day late last fall, she disappeared. All winter, we wondered what became of our spider, who Steven had affectionately named "Shelob."
To our amazement, last night Shelob came home, and built a huge web in exactly the same spot where she lived last year. I was anxious to get a good photo of her, and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do her justice. Tonight I took some pictures, and I think I managed to get a couple of good ones.
Here's the first one I got from inside the house. From that vantage point we get a view of her tummy:
Next I stepped outside and got this shot of her back. Isn't she incredible, in a terrifying kind of way?
Shelob quickly tired of my whole paparazzi act, and she retreated into a gap in our siding:
Curious about what kind of spider she is (and you know, whether or not she's capable of biting and sucking all the blood out of me, Steven and Sassy), I did a little google search and I'm pretty sure she's from the family Araneidae, also known as an orb weaver spider, after the big round webs they weave. According to this website, these spiders are reluctant to bite and when they do bite, the symptoms are pretty mild. Phew!