You may have seen their webs at your house. They like the underside of roofs or decks or patios, wherever there are some angles and materials to work with. They’re probably there right now, somewhere you’ve overlooked, getting bigger and fatter with each passing night. They’re one of the great spiders of the west, known commonly as the cat-faced spider, (because, when seen at the correct angle, their abdominal bumps do indeed make them look exactly like cat heads).
I’ve got a couple of good ones out at my place, including a big-bodied bulbous brute—maybe two inches long from tip to tip—who hangs out right by my front door. His name is Boris, a name to which any old Who fan will immediately relate. (On an early album, they did a crazy Entwistle song called “Boris the Spider.”)
When he first showed up in July, I reacted in a normal, sane way, which happens on occasion. I grabbed the broom, intent on trashing his web so as to encourage him to go find another spot to live this summer. You know, I couldn’t have a giant cat-face living next to the door. It’s just something a decent person won’t allow. Right? But then, I began to inspect his work.
The web was there, fully constructed, but he wasn’t. During the day, cat-faces like to creep up into a nook or crack, somewhere they can hide and be out of the sun. They’re total Draculans, coming out at dusk and hanging in their webs awaiting victims until dawn. Dangle all night, hide all day. You leave me alone, I’ll leave you alone. A fine attitude for a spider to have, I’ll admit. You won’t see these guys wandering around looking for hands or legs to bite. And anything that eats flies and moths, that’s a positive.
Anyway, as I inspected his web, I had to admit—it was a helluva piece of work. A beautifully built circle of silk, comprised of 30-50 equally spaced concentric circles, and carefully attached to the roof and walls in key locations for maximum support.
Obviously, I couldn’t tear this thing up. It was really quite something. And to think, he engineered it in the dark, while upside down! I had to admit—big props for your skills, my arachnid pal. At dusk, when he crawls out of his crack and takes up his spot in WebCentral, to surf upon his gently moving creation as it sways back and forth in the fading zephyrs of the afternoon, he’s really quite the stylin’ cool cat. Er, cool cat-face.
So we’ve made our peace, Boris and I. He eats all the damn flies and moths he can, and I make sure I don’t walk into his web and muck it all up. And come Halloween, he should be frightfully huge, and I’ll have a superb monster of a spider hanging next to my door to righteously spook all the little sugar suckers who dare to come a beggin’.