Being the daughter of a Biologist we had a revolving door of wild critters living in our house. Reptiles, mammals, birds, and insects of every shape, size, and venomocity. (yeah, it’s a real word.) (okay, it’s not, but it should be.) Of course our wild guests typically lived in large glass houses topped with plenty of heavy rocks. And they usually enjoyed only short stays in our wild animal hotel. My Mom was grateful.
There were really only two of our pets that I recall my Mom actually enjoying; in fact she even let them sorta go free range around the house. One was a tortoise, the other was a jumping spider.
The jumping spider’s name was Smedly. It enjoyed a status of greatness that Charlotte would probably understand. I don’t know if Smedly was a boy or a girl. I never saw offspring or love interests. I’m not even sure where Smedly lived exactly, but since it was often seen crawling around the kitchen, one can assume ‘home’ was somewhere nearby. No one was allowed to smash Smedly (like we did the wolf spiders). Smedly was a member of the family.
Because of my Mom I’ve started a similar tradition. We give refuge to several jumping spiders a year, all of which are (of course) named Smedly. When my kids spot one they get excited to show me, and quickly try to usher the newest Smedly into the kitchen.
Why jumping spiders make great house guests:
- They’re quiet, harmless to humans and require little TLC. A truly low maintenance pet.
- They’ll happily take care of flies and gnats for you at no extra charge.
- Guess what else they eat, wolf spiders. My husband got a picture just this week to prove it.
- They jump.
- They’re beautiful (unlike pretty much every other spider in existence). Check out the ‘peacock spider‘.
- In order to be able to jump so well, they have amazing eyesight, and will actually watch you move around–it gives them the appearance of a level of consciousness that far exceeds their body size.
- They’re fuzzy.
- They don’t spin webs to catch their food so you need not worry about cobwebs in the corners (they hunt their prey like a cat, prowling then pouncing).
- You can definitely use the word ‘cute’ when referring to these Ewoks of the spider world.
If you are bored and feel like wasting some time, look up jumping spiders on youtube and watch the videos of these little guys in action or do an image search in google. Almost as cute as my kids. Almost. And I’m pretty sure you’ll want to get a few Smedlys of your own.