Doogie the Bold Jumper

We have a new member in the Beck/Welch household.

Truer words were never spoken than when a friend advised us that, once we had our wood stove in, our house would never be clean in winter again. Ash, wood pieces, papers collected for fire starting… we regret nothing because we love gathering around that stove.

But among the things we’ve brought in was a little visitor. I first noticed “Doogie” when I thought there was dirt on the wall. As I rose to fetch a sponge to wipe it down, the spot moved. Straight up the wall and katty-corner across the ceiling to crawl along the crown trim of our 1890s home.

Live and let live. Gnats living in the logs had also invaded; let the spider build a corner web up there, and feast on the annoying invaders.

But a couple of days later, Jack said, “I’m worried about Doogie.” (We don’t know why that’s his name; it just is.) “How can he be eating without a web?”

At that moment, Doogie jumped. I don’t mean freefall, I mean “envy of athletes” jump. A leap equal to a lion in the veldt. A “send Wendy screaming into the kitchen” jump.

Doogie is a bold jumper. Literally, that’s the kind of spider he is. Little, fuzzy, big mandibles, powerful legs. They don’t spin webs; they hang out in corners and when they see what they want to eat, they go for it.

After reading up on them via Google and using a picture from my phone to compare Doogie to some images, I was really pleased at my decision not to investigate up close. While bold jumpers can actually kill and eat things almost their own size, when confronted with a very large enemy, they tend to either shrink into their corner, or come out biting. Classic fight or flight behavior. I cannot shake the image of Doogie clinging to my nose, neutralizing the perceived threat had I leaned in to get a better shot. Bold jumpers aren’t venomous, but their bites tend to irritate human skin.

So Doogie occupies the unused upper portion of our sitting room, the gnats are fewer, he looks happy from this distance, and all is well. As Jack said, “It’s nice to have a new lodger.”

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