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incy wincy spider

Spiders, love or hate them, you cannot ignore them

Hands up who hates spiders. Hands up who is afraid of spiders. Hands up who has killed a spider, just because it was there. Hands up who has really paid attention to any spiders they have encountered.

To be honest, before I moved to Cyprus from England 12 years ago, I was very much a wuss where spiders are concerned. I would have run a mile before having any sort of interaction with the smallest of spiders. But, I’ve grown a backbone since my move having encountered all sorts of snakes and spiders. From the European Tarantula to the snub-nosed Viper, I’ve seen them all in one setting or another. But I have never met a Tarantula in a toilet… until now.

There I was, sitting on the loo, minding my own business, when out the corner of my eye a little hairy leg appeared from behind the half-shut door. Then another, followed by six more legs carrying a rather large Tarantula toward me. It stopped and I finished my business at hand and stood up. This was only the second European Tarantula I had ever encountered in Cyprus, but after my first experience it was never going to phase me. Here’s an extract from my book A Pat on His Back about my life in Cyprus as an expat.

The Invading Spider

Here in Cyprus, in May, all creatures great and small seem to come out from hibernation. By this time there’s blossom on the plum, almond and pear trees and the olive trees have their own peculiar version of blossom. This also attracts all manner of winged insects to perform the necessary pollination duties. And the appearance of the pollinators is quickly followed by the predators. The most obvious is the swifts and swallows that fly extraordinary aerobatic displays in order to catch winged insects. There are plenty of other, less obvious predators which I have rarely spied, except for my very first encounter with a spider. These creatures come in a standard shape and for anyone from the British Isles they are usually quite small. My first encounter was with a relatively small variety on a Saturday evening after I had arrived home. I was greeted by my dogs as usual and as they bounced around me I walked into the kitchen and then I stopped dead in abject terror. On the kitchen ceiling, next to one of the ceiling lights was the biggest spider I had ever seen. At that time, I was a complete coward when it came to spiders.  I was fifty-four, six feet two and a bag of nerves when I saw the size of the monster on the ceiling.

I stared at the ceiling at a loss to know what to do. Would it bite me? Who knows? Was it poisonous? Who knows? There were plenty of questions but no one around to give me answers or assurance. It was me versus the spider.

I had an idea and went into action. I cut the top of a large, clear plastic, water bottle. I then went to my office and laminated a piece of A4 card. Suitably armed, I went back down to the kitchen. Although the kitchen ceiling was fairly high, I was lucky enough to be able to reach up and position the bottle beneath the offending monster. I stood there and gently slid the laminated A4 card between the spider and the ceiling. The spider dropped with a barely perceptible thud into the bottom of the bottle and I quickly took it outside, keeping the laminate in place in case it made a bid for freedom. Going to the main gate I slid the laminate off and dropped the offending creature into the weeds and bushes outside the gate.
I returned to the kitchen elated, bristling with manliness. Hail the conquering hero… until the next time.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2020

If you want to read a little more about my adventures in Cyprus, click on the link below.





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