Sep 10, 2008

Self-Sustaining Monster

The spider photos keep pouring in. I can't stem the tide...

Bonni encountered this huntsman spider at her home near Melbourne, Australia. That's her husband's hand in the bottom right; he's 20 feet tall, just to give you some perspective on the size of the spider. Actually, these arachnids can reach a legspan of over 6 inches (16cm). They are nocturnal hunters, whose flattened body allows them to hide during the day inside tree bark and in your pants. They can bite humans, which will result in pain and swelling, though a cold compress might help. The cold compress can also be used to clean up the mess that would appear in my undies.

Here's a freaky visual: like most (all?) spiders, huntsman spiders must molt to grow. Therefore, it isn't uncommon to see the skins of these giants hanging from trees and wires. Can you imagine (and maybe some of you Aussies don't need to imagine) walking into your backyard, only to find every tree limb decked with spider pelts, like some morbid Christmas tree? See how I torment myself? See how my arachnophobia has become a self-sustaining monster?

Thanks for the photo, Bonni. I've died a little today.

18 comments:

danielle said...

WHY IS HER HAND SO CLOSE TO IT?!

niner said...

Oh my GAWD that is terrible and ugly and I cannot believe anyone would stick a body part THAT CLOSE so it can jump on your hand, run up your arm, bite your face and poison you and then you die. (All spiders are poisonous to me since I can't tell them apart as my vision is a whirlwind while I run as far away as possible from them).

bonni said...

It's not her hand, it's his. That's my husband's hand, not mine (I was the one with the camera).

They can actually run up your body parts if they're scared. I had a much smaller one run up my leg once (outside of my pants, luckily) and I was definitely doing the "ohmighod there's a spider on me" dance.

But this spider was quite docile, really. We put it on the wall outside the house and I took the photos and it posed quite nicely for me. And I wasn't actually that close to the spider's face. It was just a camera with a good macro zoom feature.

Pseudonym said...

niner, actually, while huntsman spiders can make you swell if they bite you, they're very unlikely to. And they definitely won't kill you unless you're badly allergic to the venom (or they coould give you an infection which you don't get treated, I suppose).

In Australia, big spiders are no serious threat to you at all. be wary of the little ones, though.

Flartus said...

Nice macro lens, I must say. It helps to highlight the basic Fear Equation: Too many eyes + too many legs = too much creepy.

niner said...

Thanks, Pseudonym, but I have severe arachnophobia so any spider to me is scary. Story: I was a teenager and it was close to Halloween. I go shopping with my family and my brother holds up a large life-looking latex spider over my shoulder. It tickles my hair. I look over, scream really loud in the crowded store and stumble over a few islands of toys, close to tears. No one expected that reaction and my bro actually felt bad haha.

Plus, I have seen too many shows where the spider bites a person and their leg is amputated or some such thing. I am quite a paranoid person.

Hyony said...

I saw a spider as big as this one a half hour ago in our garage :/

T and S said...

Nice closeup of the face...the hand pretty close to the spider is a bit of risk though

Kit said...

... hand... THAT close to a spider? I would choose then to molt my hand and flee! And you can sure bet if one of those things ran up my leg, I'd be inventing some new form of breakdancing to get it off. Stop, Drop, and Roll... not just for fires.

Tracy said...

I had one about that size crawl onto my hand when I reached for the toilet paper one day when I was on the loo. First thing I did was scream. Then leapt off the toilet. Trouble was, I hadn't finished peeing yet...
*shudder*

Flartus said...

Tracy, I'd much rather have pee down my leg than one of those things on any part of my body! You made the right choice.

ChicChickory said...

May I say...Heebee-Jeebees! I've got them.

bonni said...

I will admit, I'm originally American, and I spent a lot of my childhood in Arizona, where a large, hairy spider is most definitely something to run away from, and immediately.

First time I saw one of these, I nearly wet my pants. Australian husband chuckled at me. It's only a Huntsman, it won't hurt you. And it didn't. They are actually fairly docile to humans and they're easy to catch and release, which is what I've done ever since.

Also interesting to note that Huntsman spiders actually eat other spiders, and insects. They sort of "lasso" them with their web. They're quite useful to have around, especially if you don't want to have even more spiders hanging around.

It's true that some of the most poisonous creatures on the planet live in Australia (including spiders), but this isn't one of them. I would recommend staying out of the ocean, though (I've lived here for years and though I've been to many beaches, I have never gone into the ocean for any reason, ever, at all, case closed. I'm not afraid of spiders, especially, but jellyfish, sharks, and who knows what other vile and evil things are lurking in the oceans, I just know it...)

Melly said...

Pseudonym, are you kidding?

"In Australia, big spiders are no serious threat to you at all. be wary of the little ones, though."

What about the funnel web?

Otter Mom said...

What a cool spider!

Pseudonym said...

Melly: OK. Apart from the most dangerous spider in the country, the rest of the big ones won't hurt you.

See? It's not so hard to keep them straight. You're perfectly safe in Australia. Just be sure to shake out your shoes before putting them on and you'll be fine.

Carrie said...

Might I just add a *GACK* to the comments.

That.is.all. Just *GACK*

That is not right - AT ALL.

Karlie said...

The husband is 20 feet tall?
Either that is a typo or that spider must be FREAKING HUGE!