A Battle of Persistence

It’s a little known fact that spiders are the most persistent animal out there. This fact is little known because I just made it up, but it should be true because my god are those critters stubborn.

At this time of year Hong Kong is already hot and humid (gravity might as well not exist as far as my frizz is concerned), and that means spiders are appearing from whatever place they have been hiding all winter. Said spiders are still small at this point but they have a predilection for weaving their webs across hiking trails at face height. Yep.

I go hiking daily, and at the moment this is how it goes:

1. Celine and Poppy arrive at hiking trails stupidly early so no one has been yet. Celine clears the spiderwebs with a stick as she walks. Poppy finds a spot of wet mud and rolls around in it (the latter is unrelated but is a frequent enough occurrence to warrant a mention)

2. The rest of the day’s hikers walk through trails, making it clear to any spider paying attention that these are busy and well frequented paths.

3. Spiders recoup from their lost webs, wait until all humans have left for the night and re-weave their webs *in exactly the same spot*

4. Celine goes hiking the following morning and loses her shit over the myriad of spider webs that are once again across the trail, at face height. Celine clears the webs — again — misses one, and steps through it.

5. Celine freaks out and gesticulates like she’s possessed in the hope that will ensure that no spider is stuck in her hair. Poppy finds wild boar poo and rolls around in it.

6. Rest of hikers come, re-iterating to (clearly intensely stupid spiders) that this is a busy path and not a suitable web weaving spot.

7. Spiders re-weave webs in SAME PLACE!!

Ad infinitum.

It begs the question: shouldn’t spiders have by now evolved to weave their webs in places other than highly frequented hiking trails? Surely the ones who are dumb enough to constantly weave webs in inconvenient places should have starved by now, leaving only smart, considerate spiders who will weave their webs elsewhere.

Obviously not.

At the moment I have the upper hand in this battle of persistence, because the spiders are small and their nets are fine. Give it a month though, and they’ll make way for another type of spider:

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Yes, that is a butterfly being eaten…

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They’re called Golden Orb-Weavers. On the one hand, they’re the size of my hand, so harder to miss than the small ones and on average that means less web-in-face incidents. On the other, their webs are thicker and sticky, so that if you walk through them it actually pulls  your head back a bit before it breaks. Yes, it’s as horrible as it sounds.

Oh and they also like to weave across hiking trails, and at face height.

I’ve tried going later in the day but it’s too hot and Poppy runs the risk of over-heating. So it’s face the spiders or give up hiking. I love my morning hikes, because once I get past the spidery bit it’s glorious and I get to look down on this kind of scenery:

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So spiders it is. I guess a silver lining is that I get a daily lesson in persistence as well as workout. I never thought I’d say this but my god I can’t wait for winter!

PS: some weirdos people make clothing out of Golden Orb-Weaver web. I guess it’s no weirder than using silk worms to make silk, but still…

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33 thoughts on “A Battle of Persistence

  1. As I was reading this I was thinking that I’d just not go … spiders and me don’t mix well! And then I saw the views – simply beautiful – and I agree with you … that make it worth it.

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    • It really does make it worth it – and then it means I get to be outdoors rather than work out at the gym, Poppy gets a run around too… It works brilliantly, other than those few months that are spider-spectacular 😦

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  2. I’m not sure I’ve picked up before that you’re in Hong Kong, or I’ve forgotten. I’ve been a few times (3 I think) and loved it. The pictures are gorgeous – even the scary spider eating the butterfly.

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  3. Oh yuk!!! Isn’t there one hapless unsuspecting hiker you can persuade to begin their walk shortly before yours?

    “No, please, you first dear hapless hiker …”

    Perhaps not in the boar poo, but what about rolling in the mud with Poppy? That could give you a crusty barrier against those sticky webs or at least your frizz will be tamed by the wet goo.

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    • I’ve tried to ask friends to come and hike ahead of me, but funnily, waking up at 6am to come get a face full of spiders with me isn’t on many people’s must-do list 😉
      Maybe rolling in the boar poo would work, the smell might be enough to send all spiders skittering back into the jungle! Wouldn’t that be nice.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Seriously though, i hope you don’t get bitten, but get medical attention right away if that occurs. They’re nothing to mess around with (I’m talking about the spiders but now I just realized what if a boar charges you!?!). Good lord, just sleep in !!!💞💥💖

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      • Haha, maybe I should just sack it all in and lie in — would be easier that’s for sure!

        The spiders aren’t actually too bad if they were to bite. The big ones are potent but they’re not lethal. The snakes are another matter, but I got too early for them to be out and about. Probably the same for the boars — it’s actually all pretty safe.

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      • Ok. It sounds fraught with danger and then some good posts !!!

        I’m conjuring up lots of mapping ideas. First post on maps tomorrow 😀

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  4. Beautiful photos of Hong Kong! The spider photos? Oooooo… I don’t know what I’d do … but good on you for your persistence! I also walk and hike to avoid the gym …

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    • Thanks Susan – Hong Kong is a beautiful place if you can get away from all the hecticness of the built up areas….
      To be fair I’d put up with a lot to avoid the gym — I really hate it. The smell, the fact you’re trapped indoors, and the fact that it feels so artificial: the gym always seems to be about weight loss and how you look, whereas hiking is about getting outdoors, the scenery… Which is a lot nicer!!

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  5. I mean, Celine, you missed one important poin: spiders are certainly wondering how is it that stupid humans don’t understand that’s a path for spiders and they keep waisting their webs and work.
    You should be more considerate in Hong Kong.

    It’s funny that you should mention spiders. I hate them. I mean, I hate all kinds of bugs for no good reason, but spiders are the worst for me. Still, here in Italy we say they are good luck (their webs can catch any kind of good luck, you know, but especially money) so I always leave them alone.
    I realised lately that a spider has taken residence inside the window frame of my bedroom window. Actually, there as been a spider there for a few years, I’ve seen the web before, but lately, I’ve seent he spider as well, a brown one that come out at night.
    I still hate them, but I don’t know why, I’m getting soft at this particular fellow.
    Mah… 🙂

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    • Ohhh I couldn’t have a spider in my bedroom. That would just freak me out. I get rid of anything that gets inside the apartment. Basically my rule is if it has more than 4 legs, we have a problem. Zero legs I’m on the whole ok with, so long as I don’t have to touch them 😉
      Although I guess if webs bring luck and money that would be a good reason to leave them alone…Maybe that only works for Italian spiders though! 🙂
      Haha yeah I totally missed the fact that the spiders are no doubt gathering to moan about my incessant encroaching on their spider path. I wonder if one spider has the equivalent of a blog and is blogging to other spiders about it 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, in a way they’re a good model to follow: pick yourself up and keep on going no matter the obstacles that break your net down. I do wish those spiders would give up easier though 😉

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  6. My three-year old ran into a spider web for the first time the other day. He had much the same reaction most people do (except it called it a “woolie” since having never encountered it before, he didn’t have a word for it). Once I explained to him what it was and pointed out the spider he was pretty fascinated. He’s at an age where he absolutely LOVES bugs, and chases ants and beetles all over the yard and the sidewalk.

    Not sure how he would have reacted to the golden orb weaver, though. I don’t know how *I* would have reacted to the golden orb weaver. :-/

    Awesome pictures.

    Latest post at Rule of the Dice

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  7. This made me laugh out loud. I am arachnophobic and hate spiders of any size. If I were hiking there, I’d bring a round-pointed shovel. Any spider I see gets whacked by the shovel and buried. By the time I got done, there wouldn’t be any spiders left on the hiking trail. I realize this isn’t very nice to the spiders, but there are a million other places for them to build their webs where I can’t hike.

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  8. I think it’s actually a good thing they weave across the trail, because then their webs keep getting disrupted, they don’t catch any food that day, and then they remain tiny. We don’t want them to get too smart! 😉

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