Friendly Neighborhood Spider Mom

Remember the huge spider in my shower on June 5? It soon vanished and life went on until today, when while yanking a clean towel from my kitchen towel rack, the stacking kind of rack seen in hotel bathrooms, I was aghast to see tiny black crawling specks all over my clean white towel and the other folded towels. Hundreds of — what, ants? No, newborn spiders!

Quick inspection revealed their cottony white egg case, ruptured (see top center of the photo, a bit to the right; it looks like piece of popcorn), and when I pulled out more spider-infested towels, Mom Spider emerged, fled beneath the tea towels and tried to hide her enormous self, finally dropping to the floor and fleeing into the bathroom. I took all the towels from the rack and threw them into the washing machine with hot water and soap and returned to look for Mom, curled up at the base of the shower, unmoving. I thought because I’d just thrown her babies into my washer that she had died of grief, or else, like the storied Charlotte the spider, finished with reproduction she had no further business on earth. I scooped her up with a long-handled spoon. She clutched it, and I escorted her out of doors, where she is free to make as many babies as she wants.

But what a great choice she made for laying and nurturing her egg case, in a nice soft stack of clean kitchen towels, just outside the bathroom door! Good job, Ms. Wolf Spider! Meanwhile, as I write this, hundreds drown, and any who didn’t will roast in the dryer; I expect PETA at my door any minute.[ P.S., the spiders won this round! I washed all the towels without sorting them and now they’re all freakin’ pink.]