Living in Australia, we become used to dealing with all the dangerous creepy crawlies that live in this amazing country. Being born and raised in New Zealand, where there is nothing deadly or poisonous except one spider, means it takes quite some time to get used to it! Especially living in the country.
I can remember when I arrived, in a quiet little Queensland country town called Maclagan in 1981. I lived in a constant state of alert! There were green tree frogs living in the toilet bowl, that made appearances at very inopportune times. There were ants big and small, that if you sit on the grass, would bite you on the bum! There was a long , thin piece of polythene pipe that sat on the tank stand, that was used to kill snakes – brown snakes and red bellied black snakes – of course there was no such thing as relocating wildlife in those days. The only good snake was a dead snake!!
And then there were the spiders … they deserve a paragraph of their own! The flesh eating White-tailed spider, the poisonous Redback spider, the rather beautiful St Andrew’s Cross spider and of course the large and scary , although mostly harmless Huntsman spider. It is the common Huntsman that features most prominently in this post.
The Huntsman spider can and does grow to enormous sizes and they look creepy. We have had many encounters with them but one of the first memorable ones came when my oldest son, BossBoy, rescued a damsel in distress at school. She had opened up her desk to find a rather large Huntsman sitting on top of her books! BossBoy leaped up out of his chair and immediately caught it in his bare hands. The Huntsman objected to that treatment and promptly bit him. Now while they are not venomous, as such – they are dirty and full of germs. BossBoy’s hand immediately began to swell and it was about here that I got the call to come and get the hero and maybe deliver him to the doctor. In the end, it took one tetanus injection and a course of antibiotics to convince the Hero that it was not worth the trouble and the next damsel in distress could remove her own spider!
Another Huntsman incident occurred many years ago, before I sold our family home. I was happily having a shower in our ensuite and I just happened to look up at the ceiling. There directly above my head was a huge Huntsman … just waiting to pounce on my head! I flew, dripping, out of the shower, grabbed a towel, all the time screaming for some fly spray which was duly delivered by one of my children. Yes, I sprayed that sucker white until I was certain it was unable to move anywhere. Smash cut to several hours later when I was in bed reading before I went to sleep for the night. All of a sudden, something caught my eye and I looked up to see this crawling up from the foot of my bed in full attack mode.
I have absolutely no recollection of how this incident ended! I was obviously so traumatised that I have blotted out the ending but I lived to tell the tale!
So last night I was heading to bed quite late when my eye caught movement on the wall. Yes, you guessed it – a Huntsman Spider was active and it was a big one. My first thought was to get the fly spray and go mad with it but by the time I had returned, that sneaky spider had moved and was heading for my bedroom! That was not going to happen so after watching it scuttle around for 30 minutes, it eventually got low enough for me to reach it. I trapped it in a plastic container and removed it outside then let it go!!!! Aren’t I the brave one?
I still hate Huntsman Spiders but I actually learned a lesson from them. The lesson was that you don’t have to stick by the old tried and true methods. Sometimes thinking through a problem and coming at it from a different angle works just as well if not better.
My week wasn’t only filled with spiders. In fact I celebrated a birthday with friends and family and I discovered that 58 is not as close to 60 as I originally thought! In fact 58 is going to be really great for trying new things and meeting new people!