Saturday Surprise — Izzy and Spiders!

Welcome to the WEEKEND!!!  I know you’re all excited to have a three-day wee … what’s that?  It’s not a three-day weekend?  Let me look at my calendar again … I could have sworn … oh … never mind.  Well, let me start over … I know you’re all excited to have two days off from work!  Yeah, kind of falls flat, doesn’t it?  Still … spring is nearly here, so that is definitely something to be thankful for, don’t you think?

I start this morning’s Saturday Surprise sharing a bit of a personal story.  You remember when I introduced you to the Significant Seven back in May of last year?   Since then the Sig-Seven have become the Sig-Six, for Orange died last summer, at the ripe (for a cat) old age of 19.  I mentioned that Isabella, Izzy for short, has serious issues, the most likely scenario being that she has the feline version of autism.  She comes out from under the sofa several times a day, but all it takes is a look or a word to send her scurrying back under.

The other day, I was at the store buying the usual 50-pound bag of kibble when I spotted a toy.  It was about 2-feet long, shaped like a wedge of cheese, with holes of varying sizes and two toy mice dangling from strings inside.  Now, our cats have two laundry baskets filled with toys, plus a kitty condo, kitty beds, and … well, they are spoiled.  But when I saw this toy, something just tapped me on the shoulder and said … Izzy will like this.  It was on sale, so long story short, we now have a cheese wedge in the living room floor along with a myriad of other “kitty things”.

But I was right!  Izzy does like it!  See for yourself …20190307_144857.jpg20190307_144908.jpg20190307_144912.jpgEven better, though … she actually let Miss Goose brush her, for the very first time ever!20190222_162702.jpgSo, perhaps she is beginning to get just a smidge braver?

I was doing my usual scan of news sources yesterday when I came across something in The Guardian that I thought would make a lovely Saturday surprise!  Now, I know some of you have an aversion to things that walk on eight legs, but these are truly so gorgeous, so different, that even you will be enchanted.  Well, all except perhaps the last one. blue-legged-tarantulaThis is the Blue-Legged Tarantula, only recently documented by arachnologists Ray Gabriel and Danniella Sherwood in the Journal of the British Tarantula Society (who knew there even was such a society?)  Isn’t he beautiful?  Malaysian naturalists, however, claim that they first photographed the spider in the wild and that the specimens were illegally removed from their habitat.  A fight over a spider!

peacock-parachute-spiderThis Peacock parachute spider is huge – about 20 centimeters or 8 inches in diameter! He gets his name from his purply-blue, metallic legs and his habit of jumping down from trees.  According to Matthew Robertson, senior keeper of invertebrates at ZSL London Zoo, this spider …

“Can deliver quite a painful bite as it parachutes on to the top of your head.”

Ummmm … maybe not, thank you anyway.  They are extremely rare and indigenous only to a small area in India.

peacock-jumping-spiderPeacock jumping spiders are extraordinarily colourful, with the additional draw – particularly compared with the peacock parachute spider – of being only a couple of millimetres long. According to the experts, jumping spiders behave much like dogs or cats.  Hmmmm …



Mirror sequined spider

Robert Whyte, an Australian spider expert, first caught sight of this tiny spider when its sparkly abdomen caught the light like a disco ball. The silvery sheen is made of guanine, a digestive by-product. Says Mr. Whyte …

“Instead of excreting it all out into the environment through their poo, some of it excretes out onto the surface of the gut.”

Well, that’s rather … yuck … but it is a beautiful spider!


Red-legged golden-orb weaver spider

This spider – found in South Africa, Madagascar and elsewhere around the Indian Ocean – is not just four pairs of pretty legs. Like others in the Nephilinae subfamily, it is known for its webs of impressive structural stability, strong enough to entrap birds and even bats. The web also glows gold in the sun, hence the name.


Wasp spider

This very large, very colourful spider resembles a wasp in order to protect itself from predators, although it is not dangerous itself. Its commitment to the aesthetic extends to its web, which has a wide, white zig-zag strip running down the middle for no clear functional purpose.


Crab spider

The crab spider isn’t quite as eclectic as some of the others, but I think it’s cute!  Instead of spinning a web, it conceals itself within flowers to ambush its prey, changing its appearance to match.  Clever little dude!  Rather like a chameleon.  According to Mr. Robertson …

“If they live on yellow flowers, they tend to be yellow. They sit there waiting for some poor unfortunate bee to come along, then they nab them. It’s quite grim.”

Ah, well … a spider’s got to eat, y’know.

desertas-wolf-spiderAnd last, but not least, we have the Deserta wolf spider!  These guys are a critically endangered species, and in 2016 a captive breeding program was set up at Bristol (UK, not Tennessee) Zoo with 25 individuals being captured and taken to the zoo, over 1000 spiderlings were produced in 2017 and it is hoped that some of these can be reintroduced to Desertas to boost populations.

And I also stumbled across an interesting tidbit positing that a fear of spiders is actually in our DNA …

Recent research has claimed that a fear of spiders is a survival trait written into our DNA. Dating back hundreds of thousands of years, the instinct to avoid arachnids developed as an evolutionary response to a dangerous threat, the academics suggest.

It could mean that arachnophobia, one of the most crippling of phobias, represents a finely tuned survival instinct. And it could date back to early human evolution in Africa, where spiders with very strong venom have existed millions of years ago.

Study leader Joshua New, of Columbia University in New York, said: ‘A number of spider species with potent, vertebrate specific venoms populated Africa long before hominoids and have co-existed there for tens of millions of years.

‘Humans were at perennial, unpredictable and significant risk of encountering highly venomous spiders in their ancestral environments.’

And on that note, I shall leave you to your weekend!  Keep safe and enjoy it, however you spend it!Weekend

45 thoughts on “Saturday Surprise — Izzy and Spiders!

  1. An autistic cat called Izzy
    Would get herself in a tizzy
    She loved to hide
    In a cheese inside
    ‘Till Miss Goose brushed her frizzy

    A spider fear is palpable
    Spider venom quite calculable
    We slap them away
    They jump into the fray
    And we panic, oh so fallible.

    Eclectic but such fun.
    I used to be afraid of the big brown hairy housespiders. They are really cave spiders, but dark houses suffice as a substitute. Unfortunately, thousands of these unfortunate creatures met with the slap of a slipper, or rolled up newspaper from brave daddies saving their screaming children from sleepless nights. Now these harmless critters are almost extinct. What a shame we didn’t learn that they wouldn’t hurt us. Ran blooming fast though…. Could cross a ceiling at great speed! 😁

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re on a roll today!!! Great limericks! I’m not afraid of spiders, but Miss Goose is, so I usually gently let them walk onto a piece of paper, then release them back “into the wild” of the back (or front, whichever is closest) yard. They are safer there, anyway, for the moggies think they are great fun! Every now and then, though, in the bathtub I will find one that is carrying what seems like thousands of babies on her back, and unless you look closely, you really cannot tell until you slip the paper under her and the babies scatter everywhere! They only seem to appear in the bathtub, and usually there is no solution other than death … theirs, not mine.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Really???? I do a post with beautiful butterflies and you do spiders? Actually, they are quite beautiful. Here in Florida we have in the forests a spider which has a span of about 8″. Trust me, a heart attack is imminent on a forest trail when suddenly hanging between trees in front of your face is a giant spider waiting for dinner.😁🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hmmm … you have a point there … your butterflies were infinitely more beautiful and innocuous than my spiders. And yes, my friend, if I were walking in the forest and anything 8 inches in diameter dropped on or in front of me, I would simply have heart failure right then and there! 🕷️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Jill,
    I was hoping you were going to have a picture of the rascal who bit me almost two years ago, but my hopes were dashed. After months of searching I found one picture of her, but I didn’t think to bookmark the site, and I cannot find it again. She was beautiful, long black legs with white circles at every joint. She was also quite ugly, a blue angular head atop a black rounded body. About 2 – 3 inches long in total, with legs that the book said were strong enough to propel her in jumps of up to 20 feet or more. She landed in Gail’s hair, and I reacted without thinking, knocking her off. She fell straight down,, and onto my sandaled feet. She took a huge bite out of me just above the ankle, then took off so fast I thought she was flying. Flying spiders! No. It was only after I found her picture I learned it was jumping. If any of your readers know this little girl I would love to know her proper name, where she comes from, etc. In 20 months I have only talked to one other person who has seen this type of spider, and she never wants to see another… I do, just not an angry one!
    But it sure was nice to see Izzy out and about. And Miss Goose too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps somebody will have an answer … meanwhile, I’ll see if I can find one for you. An answer, that is, not an actual spider. 😉 Yes, it is always good to see the little one out and about … she is so skittish that if you even look at her she runs away. Miss Goose, not so tiny or skittish!


  4. Jill, you got me thinking about spiders and cats, and James Bond. Those are some colorful spiders, but I vividly remember the Bond movie where the tarantula crawled inside his sheets, a fear of more than a few of us. The other is when an arch nemisis with a cat created a double of himself. Bond kicked the cat and when it jumped into the person’s lap, he shot that person. Turns out there were two cats.

    More power to you with six cats. That number is prevalent in my blog post this morning. Best wishes to Izzy. We have one dog and one cat, but the latter is diabetic. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bond … James Bond. 🙂 Many years ago … I don’t remember, but at least 10, for I was still working at the time … a spider crawled in bed with me while I slept and bit my leg. To this day, it still flares up quite frequently! No idea what sort of spider it was, but it packed a punch! And I remember about 40 years ago, I used to hang my clean sheets on the clothesline, and one time bees nested in the fitted sheet. We had just begun to doze when both of us began getting stung multiple times! And yet, I still like bees and don’t mind spiders. I must have a forgiving nature! 😉

      Is your diabetic cat by chance orange in colour? I ask because our cat, Orange, the one who died last summer, ws also diabetic and we were told that many orange cats do have diabetes more than other colours of cats. In the same vein, many pure white cats are deaf. Interesting.


    • I like cats … most days, anyway. I don’t mind spiders, though I still have troubles from a spider bite I got more than 10 years ago! The little monster was in bed with me, unbeknownst to me, and bit my leg. Hugs Jack! ❤


    • Thanks Michael! Our cats drive us nuts and at the same time bring us so much joy! We have another who is dying, and that is the one real downside to our furry family members … it hurts to lose them.


    • Four FEET???? Did you say four feet??? And more coming! And now I can carry an image in my head of my dear friend Hugh, up on the roof covered in ice and snow. 😱 Please be extra careful!!!


        • I’m certainly relieved to hear that! I wasn’t enjoying the picture of you upon the icy roof! I worked with a guy who took a 2-story tumble from the roof of his house doing that very thing, and broke both hips.

          Take heart, my friend, spring must be almost here, yes? We are supposed to be 73 degrees on Thursday! Surely it must warm up in Minnesota too?


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