An unexpected house guest in Harrison

A fierce looking spider with a reputation arrives in the cabin of an unsuspecting tenant on Harrison Lake

Black Widow, an unexpected house guest in Harrison Hot Springs.

Black Widow, an unexpected house guest in Harrison Hot Springs.

A new resident has arrived in my cabin on the lake.

My peaceful little cabin on Harrison Lake has been an oasis, a respite you might say from the city life I grew up in, until lately when my peace of mind, tranquility and sense of calm was momentarily shattered.

Though I share my humble abode with an adorable 16 pound rescue cat named Cherry, who of late has found herself in a few troublesome situations, such as opening the front door in the middle of the night, and stranding herself on the neighbor’s roof…her presence has always comforted me, and I have always known that should a critter arrive, my chubby companion would do what cats do best, and pounce on the intruder.

That being said, not all critters are known, some critters, make themselves invisible, until the moment they feel comfortable enough to be discovered; which, leaves me with the unpleasant thought of the length of time that I have been cohabiting my space, my oasis with said creature.

One night as I was admiring my little cabin by the lake and its charming simplicity…I went into the kitchen and as I turned toward the sink I had the strangest sensation that I was not alone. I felt my spine begin to tingle and the little hairs on my arms began to rise up and I knew that something was amiss.

So, I looked in the direction that I sensed the disturbance, and to my sheer horror and fascination was the distinct outline of a very black and fierce looking spider. It was hanging upside down, low to the ground, and in an impossible space to capture. It was located in that place between the fridge and the stove, the one that’s hard to clean between, without moving said appliances.

I stared it down. And I froze. I knew that it was no ordinary house spider. I knew that it was no black spider of the garden variety. I’m from Calgary and I’m used to condos in the sky, and never in my life had I ever seen this type of black spider in the wild or domestic for that matter.

But, I had a sinking, sick, feeling in the pit of my stomach that I knew exactly what kind of spider it was, and it filled me with dread, as I imagined an infestation. Where else were they hiding I thought?? So, instead of dealing with the spider head on I did what any good journalist would do, I ran into the other room, grabbed my phone, sat on the bed and googled black widows….that was my hunch for the species of the very distinct spider hanging in my kitchen.

I gaped at the photos — the darn thing was hanging upside down, and sure enough in the description, it noted that black widows are hour glass shaped and hang upside down and have a distinct reddish mark on them: I noted position and shape of the spider in my kitchen and the reddish tinge on it.

Flip…fits perfectly I murmured to no one in particular. I began to perspire slightly. I also noted from the description that widows are typically not aggressive and though their venom is highly toxic, they are not eager to bite, unless they absolutely have no other choice.

The description also said that widows are shy. They are shy husband killers…so I thought fair enough…I’m living with a shy, toxic, spider with relationship issues and if it bites me I may or may not be in serious trouble, depending on allergies, etc..

So, I went back into the kitchen, thinking of ways I could kill my shy intruder — there was a fire extinguisher between the two of us, so perhaps, I could extinguish it to death, but as the thought crossed my mind and I arrived at my guest’s location, it had disappeared.

Clever, I thought….

It had sensed my hostility…more like fear…and fled the scene like any good murderess. I had seen the red marking which confirmed its identity…two days later I arrived home and caught the thing in the same location scurrying away as I entered the kitchen, this time on its front. It was more of an “aha I caught you in the act this time, less afraid moment,”…still it went without capture as it went back to its refuge behind the fridge.

Since then, there have been no more sightings, so either it has moved out with the arrival of warmer weather, or my cat has eaten it on the fly. Either way, I hope the thing is not planning an attack…I don’t know what the experts think about having a black widow for a roommate, but it just might be time to call the exterminator.

Agassiz Observer