An unnamed man in Redding, California attempted to kill a Wolf Spider by lighting it on fire on Sunday.
It didn’t go well.
Most people who discover a spider in their homes resort to squishing it with paper towel, or stomping it with a shoe, or whacking it with a broom. (Or, in my case, screaming for my husband to do it. Yes, I’m afraid of spiders. Don’t judge.)
This guy? He’s not most people.
His weapon of spider destruction? A torch lighter. It is similar to a cigarette lighter, but is larger and more powerful and commonly used for cigars.
In his defense, the spider WAS freaking huge. It wasn’t your average little house spider. It was a “WTF! This spider is the size of my hand!” Wolf Spider, common in California.
It’s widely known that it’s bad luck to kill a spider. If you have to kill a spider, you should apologize to it first in order to reduce the bad juju coming your way.
I don’t think this guy apologized.
I also don’t think this guy has ever seen the 1990 movie Arachnophobia. It’s Jaws, but with spiders. And spiders? There ain’t no messing around with them.
Set a spider on fire? It’ll set your house on fire. At least this one did.
According to the Redding Record Searchlight and battalion chief Rob Pitt, “The fire caused moderate damage to the apartment when one of the residents tried to burn a spider to kill it.”
Outdoor Life has named the Wolf Spider the 9th most dangerous spider in the world. According to an article written by Tim MacWelch, “Even though the Wolf Spider is poisonous, its venom is not lethal. This spider is not known to be aggressive; however, they will bite if they feel like they are in harm or danger. They also move extremely fast when they are disturbed.”
I imagine being set on fire would be disturbing.
According to an interview with Lyndsey Wisegarver, a caregiver for one of the men living in the apartment, the Wolf Spider did, indeed, run. WHILE ON FIRE. Right across a mattress, which promptly burst into flames. While the residents of the apartment were able to extinguish the fire on the mattress with their garden hose, it was no match for the spider’s wrath. The fire spread to a nearby flag collection, the bedroom drapes, and eventually the closet. It was put out by local firefighters within 20 minutes. There was an estimated $11,000 worth of damage.
As for Wisegarver and the two men living in the apartment, they were unharmed. (Unless you consider being traumatized and beaten by a spider harmful.) They are, however, going to have to find another place to live as the apartment is no longer habitable. (And is, in all likelihood, going to be haunted by one pissed off spider for the rest of time.)
Perhaps it wasn’t all bad luck, though. According to Wisegarver, “They had been thinking for some time they wanted to move out. Sunday’s incident just sped up the process.”
“We’ll make it work,” she said.
No word yet on what happened to the spider.