Saturday 15 December 2018

'Two big ones crawled out of my kids' toy box' - Irish mother shows photos of these uninvited guests to her home

Meta menardi, the cave spider
Meta menardi, the cave spider
Meta menardi, the cave spider
Steatoda grossa, a close relative of the false widow
Steatoda grossa, a close relative of the false widow
Steatoda grossa, a close relative of the false widow
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

This woman’s home in the west of Ireland is frequently visited by spiders.

Rachel Towey from Furbo, Connemara has two boys, and has been living for six years in her home. She says that every time she embarks on a deep clean of her home, she finds some uninvited guests.

"I’ve lost count of how many I’ve seen over the last few years to be honest."

“Every few weeks, if you’re doing a decent clean, you’d come across them.”

“There were four in our porch. And since then, we were cleaning out a toy box before Christmas. It’s one of those old vintage steam trunks. We put it up on the table in the living room and two big ones crawled out of that.”

“There were four dead ones in the compost bin that turned out to be cave spiders which are quite rare. It was strange for them to be in the compost bin.”

“I thought 'what the hell was that?' I’d never seen anything like that before.”

Rachel, whose children are aged nine and 11, says while she herself doesn’t fear the spiders she would hate if they came close to her boys.

“It’s quite a small, oldish house. Before I moved in, the landlord had renovated it. The floors and skirting boards are new.”

“They’re always behind something. All my furniture is antique-y kind of furniture as well. They pop out of it.”

She added: “I don’t think they bother you, unless you put your hand near them or bother them. I think I’d hate if I was stung by a bee more. I’m not living in fear or anything.”

The mum-of-two says she's intrigued to know what species the spiders are, but doesn't feel the need to eradicate them from her home.

“It’s not come to a situation where one of the spiders have been on my sons."

“If I lay down tonight and saw one running across the pillow, I’d flip out. If I saw cockroach running across, they’d freak me out as well.”

“I’ve talked to people in the area and they’ve seen them as well. I guess some people who really hate spiders would be freaked out by them.”

“I find them slightly fascinating but in a way that you might find a scorpion fascinating. They’re all over the house. Any time I do a deep clean or move the furniture I know they’re there.”

Dr Michel Dugon, a lecturer in zoology at Venom Systems and Proteomics lab in NUI, Galway said the spiders are examples of cave spiders and cupboard spiders.

"The cupboard spider Steatoda grossa, which is a close relative to the false widow but not the one that made the headlines in recent years (Steatoda nobilis). Steatoda grossa is present in Ireland for at least 100 years and is a common spiders in houses and barns."

"The Meta species (most likely Meta menardi), as their name indicate, are usually found in caves but often find their ways in dark sheds, drains and other dark, damp places."

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