Last week on my birthday I found some time to take a short walk in college woods. I went by what I call the ‘turtle log,’ a white pine that fell into the oyster river, I nearly always find painted turtles soaking up the sun on the old tree. I once counted eleven or twelve turtles on it at one time. It is a very popular spot, however it is exceptionally difficult to sneak up on to get a decent photo, since the brush is very thick, the slightest noise sends the turtles plopping into the water, a comical sight. They scoot a little bit and then roll off and fall into the water with a splash and are out of sight in an instant.
I walked out onto the log, the few turtles that were on it had already fled. I was just exploring, and hoping to be fortunate enough to spot one in the water. As I walked back down the log toward the shore area after exploring, I caught my breath as I spotted a huge spider on a little shrub, a shrub which I brushed past as I walked onto the log. I was clearly unaware of my surroundings to have missed such a beast. The spider was perched along it’s nest or web, a cluster of leaves woven together. With it’s legs stretched out it was undoubtedly close to the size of my palm (what does it eat, chipmunks?). I snapped a few photos, but there is not much of a scale in the photo to the right, but it was easily the largest spider I have seen in years.