Meanwhile, our daughter headed into the kitchen for another serving of peanut butter fudge--she was hoping to feed the critter, and maybe encourage it to make babies.
After several fruitless missions, and a number of fuzzy photos, Adam had our answer. We had a wolf in the bathroom!
I read the online descriptions out loud to the family:
Although non-aggressive, they bite freely if provoked and should be considered dangerous to humans .... [They have] a roving nocturnal lifestyle to hunt their prey and can move very rapidly when disturbed.1
They are robust and agile hunters ... usually considered harmless to humans.2
Nothing like a little consistency among websites. At least we finally had a good photo or two. Click on either of them to see the bigger, scarier-looking image.
We could have made a pet of our particular pest (find detailed instructions on what you'd need to do here), the consensus among the adults in the house was to find a good poison and kill it.
Unfortunately, neither Lysol® nor Formula 409® is recommended for that purpose. Probably because they're not very effective. They did put a nice sheen on the funnel web, though. So, off to the store we went, only to find an aisle of ant, roach and housefly toxins. A few of them, however, did have a little yellow notice to one side that said "also kills spiders."
The problem with toxic chemicals is, of course, they're not just toxic to pests. They also carry big warning labels about using them away from children and pets, in well-ventilated areas. I ask you, is your small bathroom well ventilated? Really, do they expect us to coax the spider out of his comfy hole and onto the back porch where the breeze is better?
We waited until after our daughter was in bed asleep. We figured this was better for her health, plus we wouldn't have to explain why we were trying to kill her new favorite pet.
So far today, we've not seen the critter again. Actually, it ran away back into the hole when I started Lysol-ing it yesterday afternoon, so maybe it really did move to a new house. At any rate, that's the story my daughter's going to hear if she asks.