My lab is a junkyard!

I’ve been doing a lot of maintenance on the spider colony, moving spiders into new, clean cages, and so far, throwing the old cages and the cardboard frames into a pile. This pile:

It’s colorful, at least. All the cardboard is going to be thrown out after being thoroughly inspected (today I found 3 egg sacs hidden in the irregularities of the old cardboard frames; one advantage of the new wooden frames is greater uniformity, so it’s easier to find new additions), and the plastic cages will be washed and stacked for later use. In the future, rather than just disrupting all the spiders all at once, I’m planning to do a regular cycle of cleaning up a few cages per week, so that they don’t all pile up at once.

Not shown is the pile of wood scraps and sawdust on the other side of the lab. That needs to be swept up and thrown out, too.

Also, I’ve made a difficult decision: I’m going to avoid posting spider photos here in the future. I know that it’s driven a few people away — I have no idea how many — and it’s sad, but some people have a visceral reaction to close up photos of arachnids. I’ve realized, though, that this Patreon thingie gives me an easy way to self-select people with its various tiers — I’ve got an “Arachnid tier” and an “Architeuthis tier” that differ in only one way: one of them will include posts with the special reward of spider stuff, and the other one has the special reward of no spider stuff. If you want to see more spiders, join the Arachnid tier, and if you’d rather not, you don’t have to do anything.

The downside is you’ll have to pay $5/month, and I’m not going to compel my fellow arachnophiles to cough up cash…an alternative is just to follow me on Instagram, where I also post spider photos. No charge!


  1. davidc1 says

    You call that the lab of a mad scientist ,where are all the bubbling test tubes ,electricity stuff giving off sparks .
    And clearly no hunchback on the staff .

    Joking aside ,shame that people have left because of the spider photos ,there is no bigger spider hater than me ,but lately
    they have not freaked me out so much .But there is no guarantee that if a spider runs across my body when i am in bed
    i am not going to scream like a little girl .

  2. brightmoon says

    Reminds me of my bedroom. Too much crafting stuff all over the place. Which also reminds me that I was supposed to working on the Pile today.

  3. hemidactylus says

    Maybe just tag your spider posts with a warning and post the pics under the fold (if that’s a thing on this platform). I don’t mind your doting on your critters or sharing your passion. And I pretty much only follow your output here and your occasional Youtube live event.

    But I do know people with phobias for critters as innocent as lizards (they’re not even snakes) so keeping the phobic in mind is a good thing. After I was bitten by a dog when I was of early elementary school age I feared strange dogs for a while…well into high school.

  4. prairieslug says

    Long time reader here, just signed up to comment recently. Please don’t remove the spider photos from here. I hate instagram and am broke so no patreon. I like what hemidactylis said.

  5. chigau (違う) says

    I’m not signing-up for anything and I’m not taking money-for-food from my aged mother’s mouth to feed my internet habit.

  6. witm says

    I have to second praireslug and hemidactylis. Please don’t remove the spider photos and such from here, they are the main reason I keep reading your output, I really dislike spiders, but your writing and photos have really helped me get over myself. I’m unfortunately not signing up for another service (Patreon) or making an instagram account. I have no energy or use for that.

    Hopefully there will be more arachnid goodness here.

    I’m just a long term reader/lurker, but regardless, thank you for all your writing, but recently thank you especially for the spider content, it just makes me happy when I read it.

  7. batflipenthusiast says

    I’ve quite liked all the spider posts and found them very interesting. Are they going away then? or just the accompanying photos?

  8. magistramarla says

    I agree with others here. Please don’t discontinue the lovely spider pics! I don’t have a fear of spiders, and I’ve learned quite a bit about them since PZ got interested in them.

  9. says

    Just put triggers below the fold when they’re discovered.
    I don’t think it nice to tie trigger sensitivity to patron choices if I’m reading that right. They’re just supposed to be things we take into account when discovered.

  10. Loree says

    All the arachnophobes have already left… so the only feedback you’re going to get is to keep the spider posts. Let me add my voice to that chorus. I vote for eight legged goodness!

  11. Sean Boyd says

    Loree @11,

    Not all the arachnophobes have left. I can state this with 100% confidence, being that I’m one of them. I have mixed reactions to the pics: sometimes I find them interesting, sometimes I have such a visceral reaction that I start shaking (like that last pic of the gigantic Huntsman spider from a week or so ago.) But I certainly do not want PZ to stop showing spider pics. Mostly, I want PZ to do whatever he’s comfortable doing with spider pics, because he has shown that he takes into consideration what his readers think and feel, and that he has good judgment about what’s appropriate. Unlike the asshat that drove him into needing a Patreon page in the first place.

  12. says

    The first few times I saw the spider pictures, I was a bit put off (read freaked out); but now I just see them and then realize I see that I am very terrible at seeing differences and I get a little sad. So placing the pictures under the fold is probably a good idea.

  13. says

    I have to jump on the bandwagon of asking to please not stop posting spider pics here. A warning and posting under the fold should deter the arachniphobes.

    For the love of all that is good, please don’t make me use Instagram.

  14. lochaber says

    Well, that’s disappointing. :(

    And I’m saying that as one of those people who doesn’t really like spiders. Then again, my dislike is mostly reflexive, seeing pics of them on the internet usually doesn’t bother me much, and often times they can be rather interesting.

    Anyways, now that I’m once again gainfully employed, I’ll see if I can chip in a few bucks once I get my finances straightened out…

  15. johnniefurious says

    Is there a way to put them behind some sort of “spoiler” tag? That way, people can click on them if they want, leave them hidden if they don’t. The spider posts have actually helped me appreciate little guys (got a bug vacuum and everything.) I’d hate to see them go.