This is the twitching body of an enormous Black Widow spider I just sort of accidentally killed in my office. I was trying to catch it in a vase because I saw it climbing along right in front of my computer and thought, “Damn, that sure looks like a Black Widow, but it’s way too big. I better catch it and take a closer look.”  I accidentally maimed it when I tried to knock it into the vase so then I had to finish the job.  It was easily two inches long including its legs.

Are you KIDDING ME?!

Not for lack of trying, but I’m having a really hard time being zen about spiders right now. Last night I finally caught one of the suspicious, Brown Recluse-like spiders I’ve seen in my house lately.  I’ve been struggling with the fact that the reliable sources  – U.C. Davis, U.C. Riverside – say unequivocally that there are no Brown Recluse spiders in California. Fine by me. Glad to hear it. Please tell me what the heck THIS IS then?

Guess what it obviously isn’t? A wolf spider! A house spider! A grass spider! A jumping spider! A tarantula! A DADDY LONGLEGS! Those are the spiders that the know-it-all scientists over at U.C. Riverside snidely say are commonly confused with brown recluses. Listen, I’m not an idiot. I can tell a hairy spider from a hairless one, for example. I can tell a tarantula from a spider that is only 3/8 of an inch long, for godssake. And I don’t want to have Brown Recluse spiders in my house. I would LOVE to be wrong.  So if there’s a spider out there that looks EXACTLY like a Brown Recluse but isn’t, would someone please tell me what that is so I can stop freaking out? Because this badass mofo is sitting in a jelly jar on my kitchen counter right now, and he’s about to get a one way ticket to U.C. Riverside, care of Dr. Smartypants of the Department of Spiders.

My sister requested that I add this picture, presumably as proof that the spider is, indeed, inside a jar now.

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