The Swellendam SPCA went above and beyond in a response to a woman in South Africa who called the police because she was frightened of the rain spider in her bedroom. Here is the report from the SPCA, in full, written with the same care, dedication, professionalism and good humour as that used by the SPCA officers that responded to the call.
Swellendam SPCA wrote: “On Friday night we were referred a call from SAPS – never a good thing on a Friday night; especially after a very hot and gruelling week.
“A very distraught lady had called them to ask for assistance with a rain spider that had entered her bedroom. Since it didn’t quite qualify as a house breaking entering incident, they referred the call to the SPCA.
“Common rain spiders (palystes superciliosus) are mostly harmless. They are capable of biting but they seldom do and in the event it happens it’s no worse than a bee sting. We thought of giving advice over the phone but also considered that perhaps the lady in question suffered from arachnophobia and we couldn’t leave critter and lady in fear, so off we went on the rescue mission.
“We arrived at the property to find two ladies outside the house with their dog – immediate evacuation seems to have been the strategy there 😄
“We entered the bedroom to find the unwelcome visitor in the ceiling corner as expected and proceeded to ask for the necessary tools: a soft broom and a brandy glass. The circumference of the glass is important because you don’t want to damage the spider’s legs when trapping it. In absence of a brandy glass, an ice cream tub had to do. The Inspector proceeded to gently sweep the spider into movement but it quickly ran across the ceiling and hid behind a mirror. The Operations Manager slowly and steadily unhooked the mirror from the wall and laid it on the bed ready for the Inspector to deftly place the tub over the spider – she missed 🙈 😄
“The spider again ran across the bed and hid under the mattress and then under the bed itself, both of which would now have to be up-ended – the job made all the more difficult due to the breaking out into frequent fits of giggles 🤣
“Bed came up to finally uncover the spider. This time the Inspector didn’t miss and the spider was safely caught and released unharmed in the garden to the delight of the ladies who could now return to their property in peace.
“The ladies were grateful and apologetic and we thank them for feeling compassion for the spider despite their fear. Spiders are an important part of the ecosystem keeping insect populations under control.
“We advised them to in future keep their windows closed on rainy summer nights 🤣🤣🤣”
The fear is real! Responses to the spider rescue
Several South Africans have responded saying the fear is real and they can relate to the panic. Some asked for tips on how to handle removing “terrifying” rain spiders and Parktown prawns, while others said they’ve found a way to co-habit. “We have a few rain spiders living in our house. 😁 They have names. We respect each other’s space… 😁” said one Facebook user. “Oh my gosh I catch them regularly, but usually pray for them not to be inside😁 ,” said another. “I place a dishcloth over them then run😱 to the front door and release the poor leggy spider from my terrified hand🕸️🕷️🖐️❤️😉😅into the garden. 🐛🍁🌱🌳🍀🍃🌿”
One woman revealed: “My husband is terrified of spiders. I am the one that catches them. I caught a rain spider once for one of my neighbours. He was a terrified wreck.”
As many said: “Kudos to both the SAPS for taking their fear seriously and SPCA Swellendam for going out to the rescue. Heart warming!❤”