Family adopts 'stray' spider after arachnid erects web in front of their security camera: 'We named her Lacey'

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

Spiders are quite the little artists when it comes to spinning their webs.

My family and I had our very own spider artist in residence over the summer. It lived on our front porch and built its web directly in front of our security camera. That meant we had a 24/7 live feed of our guest's activity, and let me tell you, that spider was incredibly active.

For the first few nights we spotted the uninvited arachnid dangling in front of our security camera, we did not welcome the sight. Several times, my mother went outside with a broom and swept the web away... but the spider always rebuilt it.

Eventually, we decided to let the spider stay. It was like a stray cat that walks into your house one day and seems to say, "I live here now."

We decided to adopt the spider unofficially, of course, and it would have to be an "outdoor cat." We weren't willingly allowing a spider into the house.

We decided our resident weaver was a lady spider, and we named her Lacey. Every night, we could see Lacey's handiwork on our security monitor, which is mounted directly above our television set for easy viewing.

After dark, Lacey would come out of hiding and eat all the insects she had amassed on her spiderweb throughout the day. After she ate her dinner, she'd consumed the tattered remnants of her day-old web.

After dinner and dessert, Lacey would commence rebuilding her web from scratch. It was always a work of art. She knew her trade.

It took a full 30 minutes for Lacey to construct a new web from soup to nuts. She worked tirelessly without a break until it was complete, and she did this every single night without fail, until ...

One night, Lacey didn't show up. Her web was studded with gnats and other small insects she usually relished for dinner. No one arrived to eat them.

Over the next few days, the web became progressively more tattered. Lacey still didn't bother to show up. We had to admit the truth to ourselves. Lacey wasn't coming home.

We don't know what became of her. Of course, spiders don't live forever. Nothing does. But we had formed an attachment to our spider friend and her nighttime routine. We missed her antics.

Then one day, a new spider set up shop in front of our security camera. Maybe there was something about the lighting or the warmth that suited spiders.

Our new resident arachnid wasn't as entertaining as the last. His weaving skills weren't as artistic or precise.

"He wove webs like lightning," my mother described. "It may not have been pretty, but the speed at which he wove was amazing. He spun that web like he was being chased on foot."

A week later, he was gone, too. Since we hadn't grown attached to him or even named him, we didn't fret the way we had when Lacey went missing.

Despite our affinity for Lacey, we aren't arachnophiles, especially not me. I never met an indoor spider I didn't try to stomp. That's what made Lacey special; she knew her boundaries.

Would you consider an outdoor spider a pet or a nuisance, perhaps both, perhaps neither? Comments are welcome.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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