Big Daddy Sly lives behind my mop bucket, and he catches bugs.
A crumbling 1920s foundation is bound to have insects in the basement, and I really don’t mind them being there (sans rent) as long as they don’t get in my way. Insects are apparently a vital part of the ecosystem, and that ecosystem includes drainpipes, furnace ducts, and whatever goes on underneath the water heater when I'm not around.
Since my cat isn’t much of a bug-eater, Big Daddy Sly is at the top of the food chain down there. Over the past year he has spun elaborate webs between the bookshelf, wall, and sump pump, and from those webs dangle the desiccated bodies of sowbugs. When he gets tired of the current arrangement of cocoons, Sly drops the bodies to the floor where I’m unable to fetch them without disrupting his habitat. Some of the bodies appear to be strung together like bunches of sticky grapes. The reduced lighting makes the corpses twinkle and sparkle.
I see this gruesome display as a sort of warning to basement buggery: "go elsewhere or you will die." It’s like having a natural “beware of dog” sign, decorated with the skeletons of all the past burglars. But I do wish that Big Daddy Sly had a more humane method of feeding – free-range sowbugs, for example, dispatched with a quick blow to the head – and he could learn lessons from my Mennonite ancestors about wastage…Sly would look great with a hat and coat made out of fly wings. But he lacks that sort of initiative.
How long do spiders live? I don’t know, but I hope he sticks around. Sly and I are a good team and I’m happy to give him shelter.