1. azpaul3 says

    I see a category that would apply if it had a much stronger level of emotional content. Killer is so yesterday. Exterminator is too calm. Saturation bomber with napalm sounds about right.

  2. says

    Mostly? I’m a shrug & ignore. The only times it bothers me is when they’re dangling from the ceiling right at face level. I don’t know why, but I worry about getting sticky webbing stuck in my eyelashes or … whatever, I’m not even sure. But small spiders that can be missed in the wrong lighting so that you just walk right into them, that bothers me. I use a finger to break their drag line & then swing them over to a bookcase or wall before they climb back up to my hand.

    When the kids would call out about them, I confess to killing a few (the older can be really high anxiety – really high – and although it’s a living organism, I felt at those times I had to prioritize the child and not play around with making her wait while I went & got a cup & paper & all that. most of the times I took the pacifist approach when the kids didn’t want a spider around, even though I knew they could easily get back inside (or if not them, another just like them). But I also trained the youngest (who aspires to be a vet) and she is now entirely competent to perform the Pacifist’s duties while I continue on with my ignoring them unless they’re at face height.

  3. astringer says

    “Rescuer” category? This autumn in Scotland, spent an hour coming up with a method to save a house spider (pretty sure it was Eratigena atrica) that had walked onto the sticky side of a length of Gaffa tape where I was working. Releasing each foot was easy, but then she just plonked it back again in much the same place. With eight feet to get free all at once, that was not working. Dozens of cotton buds and numerous scraps of tissue eventually covered the tape (placed judiciously each time a foot was teased free) and she finally went free. She seemed happy enough in the kitchen for weeks afterwards.

  4. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    IE: Between the pacifist, who traps the spider under glass;
    and the zookeeper who lets them crawl onto his shoulders.

    When I see a spider, I turn aside, to let it do its thing (where I can’t see).
    “Good to know you’re around. I’ll stay away”, I say to them

  5. angoratrilobite says

    I also fall somewhere in between Pacifist and Zookeeper. I find spiders endearing and adorable but do NOT want them crawling all over me.

    Well unless it is a very adorable tarantula… maybe?

  6. Becca Stareyes says

    Mostly pacifist. I live with a cat, so spiders are generally not safe if I can see them in my house unless they keep to the ceiling. Before I got the cat, I was mostly content to leave the spiders to their business. They don’t know I’m a friendly mammal, after all.

  7. says

    I’m the pacifist. In warmer months, I use the cup-and-cardstock method to get spiders outdoor. Now that we’re in a Minnesota winter, I’ve been using cardstock to make breezes to shoo spiders into corners where they’ll be safe. I almost stepped on one crawling across the carpet the other day, but it shied away from the wind and scuttled under a cabinet. I felt much better about their chances there.

  8. says

    Hard zookeeper. Have been a keen observer of several generations of harvest spider living over my front door, and the only time I relocate them is when one is in my shower

  9. says

    A former pacifist, PZ inspired me to become a zoo keeper. Also my last relationship was with an abusive partner who was deathly afraid of spiders. PROTECT ME MY EIGHT LEGGED FRIENDS! Save me from the insane stalker woman.

  10. festersixohsixonethree says

    I am most certainly a pacifist – except when taking those who murder spiders (in)discriminately to task for their barbarity.

  11. GenghisFaun says

    99% zookeeper. I like having them around to eat insects. The only ones I’ve ever given the pacifist treatment to were quite large. One was stuck in my sink desperately trying to scale up the steep slope near the top, but always slipping back down into the basin. The fact that I heard the pitter pattering of it’s legs before turning the light on to see it was enough for me to decide upon catch and release. We have a lovely, steep, forested hillside behind our house, which I feel confident was better suited for our eight legged friend than my bathroom.

    All insects ‘not taken care of’ by the spiders get the pacifist treatment.

  12. lumipuna says

    In early autumn, I briefly chatted with my neighbors while they were cleaning their porch. Their daughter is about Iliana’s age. There was a spider hanging from a silk thread on the porch wall, and I offered to relocate it to the nearby shrubs as I went on my way.

    I snatched the silk and tried to cup my other hand under the spider, but it quickly dropped down to the concrete floor where I couldn’t pick it up with my bare hands. I still tried if it’d climb upward on my hand, but no. The little girl was delighted by this show and proclaimed, “It doesn’t want to go!” I had to concede that was indeed evident.

  13. says

    Rescuer. Have given a spider a bath because she got dusted by diatomaceous earth. Otherwise, zookeeper, housemate, duster-arounder, fruit-fly-provider.

  14. PaulBC says

    Easy. Pacifist. I admit I once sprayed a black widow that was living under our deck with pesticide. I had a toddler at the time, and it took a couple of days to make that decision. The weird thing is it vanished by the next day. Could something have eaten it? I hope I didn’t poison some other animal.

    The ones around here I either live with or try to move outside without harming them.

  15. bcw bcw says

    Actually, you’re the kind of guy who has an angel appear to tell you she’s found some spiders and that you need to build an ark with lots of little rooms for the spiders and feed them flies. And then your wife finds some more and you have to build more wooden stick arks.

  16. Waydude says

    I’m The Roommate. I let them be and do their thing mostly, but sometimes I kick them out if they land on my face while I’m watching TV

  17. asclepias says

    Rescuer and housemate. I am baffled by people who seem to think spiders will come after them. When I was in high school, my sisters used to have me come get daddy longlegs out of the bathtub for them, and for some reason got annoyed when I explained that daddy longlegs are not technically spiders. When I was volunteering at the animal shelter, one of the vet techs and I were headed down the hall, when she saw what I would consider a medium-sized spider in the hallway and immediately backed up about 10 feet, saying, “Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.” I went over and scooted it into the electrical room, and she acted like it was the bravest thing she had ever seen. “It could have been a brown recluse!” she said. Crawling across the hallway in the middle of the day? Unlikely. I mentioned this incident to one of my friends who has a PD in arachnology, and she said brown recluses only bite when they’re actively being squashed. (I am equally baffled that, when I mentioned the rattlesnakes I’ve seen in the field to a friend, she said, ‘You’re brave.” I mean, they jump up and scare you to let you know they’re there, then crawl away.)

  18. nomaduk says

    In that vague area between Screamer and Pacifist. Little ones don’t bother me much. Big ones give me the creeps. I don’t want them crawling, jumping, or dropping down on their little filaments in my direction. I’m careful when looking up words in a dictionary that fall near ‘spider’ or ‘tarantula’ lest there be illustrations (the Internet has largely solved this problem).

    That said, if I need to get rid of it, I will capture it with a glass and a sheet of card stock or something similar and take it outside. I realise, intellectually, that they are useful and generally harmless; instinctually, however, I have an entirely different response.

  19. angoratrilobite says

    @11 I legit yelled at my boss when he was about to squash a spider. He later said my tone made it sound like he was murdering puppies.

  20. jimzy says

    PZ, I don’t remember seeing photos of you with spiders on your shoulders. Are you a pacifist, a zookeeper, or secretly a screamer?

  21. woodsong says

    Zookeeper, married to a former screamer. The husband has mellowed a lot under my influence, and now only requests the removal of spiders from the bedroom (when he sees them) and the shower before he uses it. Occasionally, a large wanderer will spook him, and I’ll capture and release it.

    We did have one notable occasion (before he mellowed out of the Screamer stage) when our bedroom was full of no-see-ums that got in through the screen, and he agreed to my proposed solution: bring in a few of the long-legged house spiders to take care of them! I promised to find and remove the spiders when the insects were gone, and he agreed that he’d tolerate half a dozen harmless spiders hanging out in their webs for the sake of being free of the million biting insects.

    He was a bit alarmed when I had to tell him (three days later) that I could only find three of the five spiders I had brought in…

  22. jimzy says

    I was walking behind a friend during the day who suddenly started flailing and screaming. Rather stunned, I asked “Are you OK”? The reply: “Yes, just spiderwebs”. We walked on as if nothing happened.
    Another time, I was at work and heard two coworkers next door: “There’s a spider in the window”! “Is it inside or outside”?! …pause.. “It’s inside”! – gasping and sounds of horror. I go over past the coworkers now standing outside the door to the window. I don’t have anything to collect the spider and want to get back to work. “Would you like me to capture or kill it”? Simultaneous “Kill it! kill it!”. I then smooch the spider with my thumb. “He killed it with his finger”! Gasps of horror. I pick it up with my thumb and fingers. “He picked it up with his hand”! As I walk by the coworkers, I tap one on their earlobe. Shrieks of terror…

  23. nomdeplume says

    There are only two kind of people in the world – those who hate spiders and those who find them fascinating. The first two are the same (scream then kill), the second two are the same (trap then study).

  24. gleigh says

    I used to be a screamer. Then I had a daughter who was fascinated with bugs (term used very loosely); she would bring them to me and tell me how wonderful they were. I did not want to pass on my fear, so I tried very hard to fight it down. After a while, I was converted — bugs are neat creatures. Now, 1/4 century later, I enjoy my little housemates. They are welcome to live in the house, although I do relocate black widows (which rarely come inside so are not really a problem). What’s not to like about spiders. They are good company and provide free pest control. Students at my school gave me the nickname Spider because each time they told me a spider was in a corner of the classroom or out on the playground equipment, I would enthusiastically suggest we all go watch the spider and see what we could learn. My daughter helped me overcome my fears; I hope I helped at least some of the children avoid being afraid of our 8 legged friends. I disliked teachers whose first reaction was to kill the animal; I think I made my disgust fairly plain; I can find no reason for passing along irrational and sadistic behavior to youngsters. I’m not a pacifist because I gladly share my house, but I don’t think I’m a zookeeper. I don’t go out of my way to collect the spiders; I don’t regard them as pets. I am a bit less tolerant of the scorpions. I do relocate them when I find them in the house. I’m sure they have always been a part of the indoor ecosystem, but I do not see them very often. I’ll share the yard with the scorpions, but not my house.
    I have always want to ask Dr. Myers: There are lots of great spider books for children. Do you have any favorites you share with your grandchildren?

  25. JimB says

    woodsong @24
    What do you suppose he would have done if you told him you could only find 12 of the 5 spiders… :)

  26. mandrake says

    (Full disclosure: I love all spiders and insects that aren’t able to convert me into a protein shake.) As an auto mechanic I encounter spiders pretty routinely, especially in the warmer months. But I also have encounters with spiders in winter months when you’d expect any spider to be in a state of frozen death. I have many times removed a brake rotor or drum from a vehicle in coldest winter to witness repelling spiders looking to escape the chaos. I always take the time to relocate them to a warm corner of the shop. I’m mostly successful.

  27. PaulBC says

    As Philip K. Dick once put it (in the words of a character, and disapprovingly)

    If I had known it was harmless I would have killed it myself.

  28. vucodlak says

    Voices tell me where to go
    Guide my hands in moonlight glow
    No one taught me right from wrong
    All I know are battle songs
    I’m a killer

    -Ruby the Hatchet, “Killer”

    I don’t scream unless it’s one of the spiders that visit me in my nightmares. Or worse, in night terrors. I once kicked my desk chair halfway across the room because a nightmare spider was building a web on it and across the end of my bed. Horrid thing had legs a good half-meter long, gnarled and twisted like tree branches. I kicked at it, screamed a bit, and kicked some more until the crash of the chair hitting the floor woke me. I had to search my room thoroughly before I could bear to lay back down again.

    I try to be a little more tolerant of spiders than I used to be, but they aren’t welcome in my living space. One morning last week I was brushing my hair when a spider plopped down on the counter. I’m not sure if the foul thing came out of my hair or from the hairbrush, but it’s in hell now. The ones outside I generally try to leave alone, unless they touch me. Those that build webs in my way I used to kill, but now I usually settle for removing the webs from my path.

  29. says

    Pacifist with mild zookeeper leanings. I like to look at the spiders a bit before I release them outside.

    Caught a beauty of a Bold Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax) the other day – she had delightfully iridescent green chelicerae and the cutest orange spot on her rump (ah, the blush of youth!). She also threatened to try to kill me and eradicate my line from existence, repeatedly, despite me being, oh, roughly a million times her mass – bold, indeed! Maybe I should post photos to the Discord forum?

  30. birgerjohansson says

    I am a spider roommate. I don’t mind unless they start to emulate “Wicked City” critters.

  31. woodsong says

    Jimb @27,

    I think he would have taken that for a joke, then (deliberately) changed the subject to not thinking about more than a dozen spiders in the bedroom for three days (that’s how long it took for the bug population to disappear).

    Yes, there probably were that many lurking out of sight. I wasn’t aware of them if so, and they weren’t very effective at controlling the bugs.

  32. KG says

    Housemate – and I like to think, a considerate one. I always greet my octopedal fellow-residents, rescue them from the bath if necessary, and carefully relocate them if they are somewhere they might get trodden on, or eaten by the dog.

  33. KuraZed says

    Sorry I’m late. Mostly Zookeeper with some Pacifism.

    Is there a species of spider that loves dog fleas (in the UK)? I’d gratefully share my home with those and supplement their diet or provide minor encouragements like a wooden frame on a high shelf.