My husband is having difficulty with all the wildlife around here, particularly the snakes & spiders, but before I even moved down here, he was sending pictures of deer in the yard, dead armadillos by the road, birds in the yard, dead spiders from the garage, etc.
Part of it is that he’s very much a city boy who’s just not used to all this, and part of it’s that this is the South with more just more critters of all sorts.
That doesn’t mean we didn’t have wildlife where we lived in Illinois, because we did — deer, foxes, coyotes, mice, squirrels, bats, all the usual suspects that we pretty much also have here. But it was mostly innocuous. We weren’t worrying about poisonous spiders (brown recluse, black widows, brown widows) and snakes (copperhead, rattlesnake, coral snake, water moccasin) or leprosy carrying armadillos. There are even rumors of alligators being found in lakes in the area.
Since I’ve been here I’ve seen one small live snake — no idea what type. Many dead armadillos — I’m guessing they’re not too smart. Turtles. Bats (they were swooping over the pool one night while the girls were swimming). Lots and lots of deer. Many types of birds from hawks down to tiny songbirds.
And spiders — lots of spiders and even more webs. I’ve done some research so I know that the spiders I’m seeing are not ones I have to worry about. The poisonous ones tend to build chaotic webs in dark places. These build organized and beautiful webs out in the open; some are quite large with obvious rings.
One lovely lady, an orb-weaver, who for lack of any creativity I call Charlotte, has taken up residence on our deck. The first time I saw her, I have to admit, I freaked a bit. She’s big. Her body is a good 1.5″ long, with a leg span of probably 2″. She’s mostly brown with pretty markings, and her legs are brown and orange striped. She builds beautiful big webs, with the rings placed perfectly. Once I realized she was not a dangerous spider, I looked for her the next day but she and her web were completely gone. A few days later, she reappeared in a slightly different spot. One evening I watched for a bit while she repaired damaged spots. A couple of days later and she and her web were gone again.
Now she’s been building a web between the fan light and the wall. She’s smart enough not to attach the web to the actual fan blades. Some days she completely takes down her web only to rebuild it at night; other days she just repairs what’s already there. During the day, I can see her curled up on the light fixture, just waiting for evening. I always say hi to her when I go out. And I’ve refused to let my husband or daughter do anything to her or her web. They’re not happy about it, but Charlotte’s not doing any harm.