These beautifully marked spiders tend to appear after the first rains - and the larger ones are up to 12 years old. They just keep getting bigger every year, and I would guess that the fellow who was found on my Reception Desk at the hotel is about 6 years old. Not a very big one at all, but big enough.
We were alerted to his presence by Preacher, who broke with the habit of a lifetime and started dusting in areas that are not normally visible; in the process she was wiping the side of the Reception Desk when she was confronted by a pair of hairy legs. As is standard in situations like these, she turned up the volume button, and her wailing and caterwauling could be heard from my house.
When I rushed down to see what was happening I found her cowering by the statue of Don Quixote in the courtyard, peering fearfully through the glass of the sliding doors into Reception. She pleaded with me to kill it, and was horrified when I picked it up and deposited it onto a piece of paper on the desk so that I could photograph it for this blog.
She begged me to kill it and I refused to do so - telling her it was one of God's Little Creatures, and it had a right to live. Her eyes went wide in disbelief! I then told her that they always hunt in pairs, and it has been a lot of fun watching her make her way round the hotel today peering behind every curtain and beneath every table! I know that in the months to come an awful lot of dust is going to build up beneath the Reception Desk, but that is a price worth paying!
Photos are below - the first one is a bit blurred as I tried to photograph it where we found it, but the others are ok.