Spiders are not creatures I'd be inclined to keep as pets, but I do appreciate the work they do around the garden. In fact, it's forbidden in my house to kill a spider. The correct method of elimination is to make use of the Eviction Jar and relocate them outside somewhere. If you're brave, like my husband, you can pick them up with your fingers to deport them, but squashing is not allowed.
This odd-looking fellow turns up every year and hangs out in the same spot on my live oak tree. He makes his web high enough not to be a problem to anyone. Apparently, he's called a spiny orb-weaver and you can see that he's busy making a snack of a careless fly here.
Does anyone else see a smiley face on this spider?
I have hundreds of other spiders, of course. Black widows, brown widows, little jumping spiders, huge wolf spiders, and those pale ones that hang from the oak trees, to name a few--all doing a great job of eating insects in my garden.