In fairness, have you seen Australian spiders?
Police from the Harbourside local area command in the Australian city of Sydney have 'fessed up to investigating the attempted murder of a spider. As the command's Facebook page records, last weekend its officers “received numerous calls in relation to a violent domestic [incident], with reports of a woman screaming …
A Redback yes, but a Funnel-web no. Hell no.
That said, I am partial to a huntsman around the place - helps control insects and tend to enjoy nothing more than being left alone. I approve of that.
My partner insists I remove them so I usually hope they escape notice - otherwise it's ladders and plastic containers and other such wastes of good beer-drinking time.
Ah, what a lovely topic with which to scare all you British scaredy-kats!
First, let's see what we're talking about, here's a female redback: Latrodectus hasseltii and here's a male Sydney funnel-web spider in warning posture: Atrax robustus. If you check Wiki 'Australian funnel-web spider' both images and text you'll get some lovely photos, and the text has a rather graphic description of bites under 'Medical significance' and 'Symptoms'–not for the fainthearted.
Redbacks are rather boring but common (they're everywhere in my backyard, leave a bit of wood there and after a week or so, I'm bound to find a collection of them under it).
Atrax robustus (the Sydney funnel-web) is a far more exciting animal. As dan1980 says the funnel web is reasonably large (probably 2 to 3 times the size of a redback) and the males, whilst slightly smaller than the females, are particularly aggressive, especially so in the summer months during the mating season. This is when males go walkabout looking for females, in the process they can turn up in the most unexpected places (in a shoe of instance). Moreover, when it rains heavily they are often washed/flooded out of their funnel-web burrows and to escape the water they will end up in places such as laundries, under washing machines, in laundry baskets full of dirty clothes, and at the bottom of swimming pools (yes, they can survive under water for a long time, so one should always look at the bottom of the pool before swimming).
Funnel-webs make good, easy to manage pets!
Well, 'interesting' probably would be a better word. Whilst my place is loaded with redbacks, it's comparatively devoid of funnel-webs. As one place I worked, this was not so for one of my staff, his backyard had a ready supply of them so occasionally he'd bring a few male A. robustus to work and we'd set them up in a very large coffee jar on my desk complete with sufficient dirt and small rocks so they could make proper funnel-webs burrows (normally, there's only one per jar as we don't want any fighting). Periodically, we'd provided water and a good supply of live slaters (woodlice) and crickets for food, (they won't eat dead ones). Funnel-webs live quite happily in this environment for up to two years.
The exciting part–amusing visitors!
Coming in of a morning and switching on the lights seemed to disturb the spider, as I sat down at my desk it would often rear up against the glass poised in attack mode. To impress visitors, clients, reps etc. we'd stick the blunt (brown tip) end of a red Columbia Copperplate pencil through the air vents in the top of the jar and the spider would instantly attack it multiple times. It would puncture the pencil in various places and you could see small droplets of venom running down the outside (somewhere I still have one of the 'pockmarked' pencils covered at one end with hundreds of tiny punctures).
Brits, come over and I'll line you up a demo.
When I was a kid of about 11 or so, one day I was catching frogs and one jumped under a rock so I reached under it to pull the frog out but instead I pulled out a large male Atrax robustus. Bloody miracle I wasn’t bitten–and it happened long before the antivenene became available–but that incident didn't scare me as much as when I was14 and stood on an Eastern Brown snake (one of the world's deadliest), that did nearly scare the hell out of me.
Another incident (which I was not present at that time but I knew those involved) occurred at a place where we often went abseiling. As it was summer, the group of four-five guys changed out of their jeans into shorts before descending down the cliff (leaving their jeans and other paraphernalia at the top of the cliff). Later when they changed back into their jeans, one guy was bitten on the knee–a male Atrax robustus having taken up residence in his pants.
As they were Sydneysiders, immediately they knew the culprit responsible and exactly what action to take. After tying a tourniquet on his leg, they rushed him to hospital and he was in intensive care within approximately 20 minutes. He suffered severe pulmonary oedema (frothing up blood from his lungs) and other symptoms including partial kidney failure, and for three days it was touch-and-go whether he live or not (but he did). Of course, that was in the days before the antivenene became available.
Welcome of Oz everyone!
Here's another good reference: Australian Museum
I traveled with an Aussie couple and some Brits in SEA, the Aussie were from some middle of nowhere Northern Territory type place. Most of the Brits were like aaargh bugs, what about snakes? The Aussies were more wahey there's nothing here that will kill you if you lift something up. :)
My brother used to keep a trapdoor spider, not very venomous but big fangs and so fast and aggressive, you would never put your finger in there. You could poke the trap lines with a pen and even though you was expecting it to come out and savage the pen you still jumped a foot.
Also some fun reading keeper bite reports, on Arachnoboard.
Well, not in the wild, and I have just spent a couple of months in various bits of Australia.
I did see a funnel web encased in plastic and yes it is a big bugger but thankfully I never saw a live one. If I had there probably have been loud girlish screams because I don't like spiders at the best of times.
I did see a snake but left it well alone. It was curled up by a lake in the long grass and bothering nobody. Probaly after frogs.
If you read about Australia you can get the impression that you are constantly avoiding deadly spiders and snakes but they seem to avoid you generally. Then again perhaps I was lucky.
Whatever, I can heartily recommend Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Tasmania. Oh, and especially the micro brewery versions of India Pale Ale. Also the coffee (real, not instant - they claim to be proud that their Nescafe is made locally. This does not sound like the abject apology which is more than justified.).
Ah the thing about your funnel web is not just the size(Hell, they're still smaller than most humans), but the attitude.
When I pulled back a sofa a couple of years ago to find a funnel web underneath, as a Brit I expected it to scuttle away to seek refuge.
What it did instead was turn to face me, rear up and put its dukes up. You could practically hear the little spidey cry of "Come on then, if you think you're hard enough!".
Needless to say I met the challenge by screaming like a girl, hiding behind my woman and sobbing "You're an Aussie, so it's your spider. You deal with it!" before manfully locking myself in the bathroom.
EDIT: This year we have the added excitement that the extension of the M2 motorway has disturbed hundreds of red bellied snakes whch have picked our street as their favoured refugee destination. Australia. Lovely place, but really wants you dead.
'Australia. Lovely place, but really wants you dead.'
Come on, it's not that bad. Trouble with you Brits is that you've been too spoiled–you've grown up in a land where things don't jump out and bite you–these days, even the fleas on your beloved rattus rattus are free of Yersinia pestis! (Most parts of the world have some nasties that want to rid humans from the planet but the UK's mostly escaped them.)
'This year we have the added excitement that the extension of the M2 motorway has disturbed hundreds of red bellied snakes whch have picked our street as their favoured refugee destination.'
The red-bellied black snake is really a pretty timid animal that usually moves away when you approach, and it's not very poisonous. It usually takes deliberate interference/provocation for it to bite you–concern yourself with those damn brown snakes and the death adders, browns can bite and sometimes you're not even aware of it–well anyway, not immediately!
BTW, years ago I was camping at Emmagen Creek in the Daintree rainforest near Cape Tribulation and was kneeling down brushing my teeth at the edge of the creek (using the creek as one would use a basin) when I became aware that a darkish-brown snake with mottled yellowish markings/stripes was drinking from creek only two feet to my right (I'm still not sure what type it was). It wasn't there when I kneeled down so it came up beside me, it didn't seem the slightest bit concerned at my presence. I kept still and it left eventually.
As they say, keep still and don't skedaddle (but it's damn hard to do I can assure you).
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I used to share a house with a Bird Eating Spider (Haplopelma minax) it used to live above the toilet cistern in the wetroom, which meant it was about head height if you sat on the bog. They are suposed to be aggressive but it never caused bother, although was not fun going to the toilet at night when the light broke. Points to the missus for not chucking a fit about it as well.
I think the Tokay Gecko family that lived in the roof eaves ate it in the end.
Still better than a friend who used to regularly get King Cobras coming up the pipes and into his bathroom.
However giant venomus centipedes (scolopendra subspinipes) running over your bare feet when you are in the bathroom, thats when you know what your limit is on bugs.
6" - A slight exaggeration for a huntsman methinks, try half that!
It's not the huntsman that's a problem, rather it's the all-to-common White-tailed spider, they have no web or burrow so they wander everywhere.
Despite all the worry and crap about their dangers (which seems grossly exaggerated), their wandering habits in the middle of the night means they can wander into one's bed. These aggressive little buggers will then bite when you toss about–attempt to roll on them etc.
To my knowledge, I've not been bitten but occasionally I have found one in my bed (the disturbing worry is that one can be bitten whilst one's asleep).
You need two things, a clear jar with a wide mouth and a piece of cardstock that will cover it. Trap by putting jar mouth over it, then slide cardboard, then upend to put it in bottom. Done adroitly, several can be caught before going outside to release. If they can climb the jar I do one at a time.
This is general, perhaps huntsmen are special, but I've had wolf spiders the size of my hand pull their feet in when it felt better that way, we worked together to get them loaded. I think the same ones were coming back in just for the ride in the space capsule, but I didn't know how to charge admission.
Pretty much with any wild animal, don't intend to be a dick and they won't either. You can't BS them, so actually BE good.
> I literally have over a dozen baby huntsman spiders in my bathroom. I have no idea what to do on account of the fact that I don't want to kill them but they are very skittish and their small size makes them difficult to corral.
So there is a new Australian simile, "like herding baby huntsman spiders", rather than 'cats'?
It took a while but I got them all out. One plastic container to catch (with card) and then another, larger one that I transferred them to. Once all were accounted for, I put the main container outside and removed the card.
Checked this morning and it rained last night but 8 of them didn't have the good sense to climb the 2 inches to freedom and were found.
I did my bit at least but sad all the same.
Only last week I lifted the toiled seat cover only to find a fully-grown huntsman spider perched right in the middle of the underside. For some reason they love bathrooms, perhaps it's the damp.
They love cars too, almost every summer I find at least one of them in the car (usually moving around whilst I'm driving).
Agree. And you don't need to become a Facebook member for it either.
I love their direct use of language. I quote: "Now you would think that if you called the Police to report this you would want to speak to Police when they arrived. But no, this occupier apparently denied Police entry, apparently destroyed all forensic evidence and basically told them Police to bugger off."
Almost, bloody useless stuff Mortein, it only contains synthetic pyrethrum. It's nigh on useless for any serious insect nuking and it breaks down within days especially so outside in the presence of UV light (but I discovered accidentally it does kill goldfish if you don't cover their tank properly when spraying).
And don't spray it on funnel-webs as all you'll do is rile them and they're more likely to attack (pyrethrum doesn't work well or quickly on spiders, it takes ages to work).
Gone are the days when you could buy decent insect-nuking chemicals such as Dichlorvos (an organophosphate). It really did work properly. It's now banned (this is what happens when you put real tool in the hands of fuckwits who don't know how to use them properly or safely).
Mortein is what we have to use around here to kill the local invertebrate wildlife, since what you Europeans and Yanks conventionally think of as "fly spray" isn't effective against the sort of fauna we have here.
You haven't heard of it because we don't export it, and we don't export it because we don't want to contravene UN chemical-warfare treaties!
"Spiders have different organs (eg. book lungs) which means it takes a long time for insecticides to work on them."
Not sure what you tried (and I don't claim any Aussie-spider vanquishing powers either) but the stuff I use against spiders knocks them down faster than light. Basically, by the time I let go of the spray button the spider is already falling over itself, every time (okay so you still don't want to be directly under them, because gravity points that way and they'll be obliging...)
To be fair, I mostly just use this in the garage and around the car (brand new net over your driver side mirror each day is Not Fun when you're arachnophobic) - at home, a (transparent! stay where I can see you, creep!) glass and a CD in an envelope usually work just fine for arachnid defenestration purposes...
I recently saw a news report that redbacks have colonised Japan - probably arriving on Aussie fruit. That'll teach the buggers for buying up all our prawns and crayfish.
Anway, mild panic has ensued as the Japanese are not accustomed to dealing with aggressive and highly venomous wildlife. A mate suggested we send them a container of left thongs labelled "Redback Spider Control Devices".
Personally, I do not fear spiders. When I find one in the house, I catch it in a jar and I throw it in the backyard.
I can understand the spider-hate. I find the girly shrieking funny. But could someone please explain how a single guy calls (the Australian equivalent of) 911 multiple times ? While desperately failing to kill a single spider ? Okay, it's Australia, maybe the spider was three feet wide - I would be uncomfortable with that, but come on, calling 911 ?
Sounds like an episode of Fawlty Towers.
<<> But could someone please explain how a single guy calls (the Australian equivalent of) 911 multiple times ?
He didn't call them, the neighbours did. Reports are unclear whether it was the Ramsays or the Robinsons.>>
At the moment, Australia is in the grip of an hysterical domestic violence media blitz. According to blanket advertising and documentaries, it seems that women are being beaten by men all of the time. As a result, the citizens are being trained to call the police when ever they fear or think they hear any kind of violence at all. Boys are being given education classes at school about the failings of their sex. The air force is performing bomber flybys in protest against male violence.
The curious thing about this epidemic is that we are never presented with any statistics that suggest that domestic violence has increased recently or even if it is higher in Australia than elsewhere. Please don't misunderstand me – I find such violence ugly in the extreme. But I am very confused why it has become the issue of the day right at this moment. Nothing to suggest the problem is worsening, but we are subject to media-encouraged panic around the clock.
Why are we being manipulated so? Is our attention being diverted for some reason?
"The air force is performing bomber flybys in protest against male violence."
What? Don't get me wrong - about the only part of the "Ken Titus Way" I'm okay with is the "You don't hit a woman, ever! Even after she hits you, burns you, stabs you, and tries to blow you up!" bit - but using one of the ultimate symbols of indiscriminate violent death to protest against violence? Oxymoron, with the emphasis on moron?
"Personally, I do not fear spiders. When I find one in the house, I catch it in a jar and I throw it in the backyard."
Ditto. Well, ditto-ish: I'm in the UK, so I have a little less to worry about - I usually persuade them to crawl onto my hand and put them outside.
That said, I did get bit by one once, a million years ago. Unusual looking thing (I thought at the time) that I found in the bath. Picked it up, and it dug its fangs straight in. I felt it, obviously, but it didn't really hurt as such - but it was unexpected, so I dropped it. I then used a piece of cardboard to put it outside.
Whereupon someone else decided to squash it.
Important safety tip there from Little Mouse.
Always don a helmet, goggles, athletic cup, shin pads, padded gloves, a hockey goalie's mask, a SWAT tactical vest, elbow and knee pads, reinforced lederhosen, cervical collar, American footballer shoulder pads and stout boots obtained from the "toe-tector" people before hurling your coconut to the concrete with all your might.
"Sharks can't get in living room."
There are three documentaries you need to watch: Sharknado, Sharknado 2: The Second One, and Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! The main thing you will learn from them is that sharks can get anywhere.
However, on reflection, I don't think any of the sharks featured in those documentaries had frikkin' lasers, so I'm now wondering if they were just made up.
"I think I've only managed five minutes of Sharknado, you've sat through three? That's dedication.
The thing with Sharknado, as you rightly spotted, is that it's rubbish. And it's not a case of it being so bad it's good - it just is rubbish. I sat through that one because once I've started watching something, I like to finish. I'm stubborn.
But when a film is as bad as that one was, if they go on to make a sequel you expect them to have realised just how bad the first one was, and to play to it. Which is kind of what they did. They're still crap - but if you sit down to watch them knowing how crap they're likely to be, and that the makers know they're crap, and you have alcohol ready to help you through, they're entertaining enough in their own way.
I was in the shower the other week and noticed a spider on the ceiling. scenes from arachnophobia jumped to the forefront of my thoughts. i opened the door and backed away, calmly just til i could get rid of him. his web must have been attached to me because he started flying through the air, following me even as i changed direction. i just flipped, shouted like a madman and the wife thought i'd fallen and broken something, she's running in panicking only to be pushed aside with me swatting the air with a towel while i ran buck naked out the door past her and down the hall with this wee fucker literally chasing me in mid air
The spiders in our house aren't that bad - I never seen one much bigger than a dinner plate. And none of the snakes I've seen in our garden are more than about 10ft long. I'm told that you have an excellent chance of surviving a bite (better than evens) if you can get to a hospital quickly.
A while ago I was cutting up some firewood when a big huntsman crawled out of a crevice and tried to attack the chainsaw, rearing up on its hind legs and baring its fangs at the advancing blade. At the last moment it decided that it probably wouldn't win a battle with a Stihl Farmboss, and scuttled off.
What you've really got to look out for are the infamous Drop Bears. They're nasty!
(Icon looks a bit like one of our spiders)
Pfft! I opened my gas barbecue one time and was severely threatened by a Praying Mantis in full attack stance. Stood its ground, too.
I'm five foot eight anna bit, and quite wide. The insect was about an inch and a half long and mebbee an eighth of an inch thick at its widest point.
It had me in the color department, me being my usual unattractive mix of pale pink and angry sunburn and it being a gorgeous lime green.
The other day my 4 y/o son came to me in distress, telling me he'd seen a spider. Kerping it light and jovial, I asked him to show me where it was.
Fucking Shelob was on the wall. Even my Queenslander wife thought it was bloody huge. I may be a pommy arachnophobe but I doubt many normal people could happily let that thing wander freely around.
A full combo of Mortein, Thong and Dyson was required to subdue it.
Time to put the shark thing to bed.
Australia has 24m residents and gets about 10m visitors a year.
Let's assume they each swim in the sea .5 times a year, for 12m swims a year.
How many shark attacks? In 2015, 33 of which 11 were provoked.
And in the last 100 years, 542 known unprovoked attacks and 293 provoked attacks. Across hundreds of millions of salt water swims.
Yes, we still have the occasional incident. And yes, some of our beaches are fenced or netted, which probably keeps numbers down. But your chance of being attacked by a shark are very, very small.
Data here: https://taronga.org.au/animals-conservation/conservation-science/australian-shark-attack-file/latest-figures
By way of contrast Australia recorded 271 drownings in 2014/15. Data here http://www.royallifesaving.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/14559/RLS_NDR2015_Report_LR.pdf
"The most poisonous spider is the Sydney funnel web. We get about five hundred people a year bitten by spiders. A lot of them used to die, so we had to develop an antidote to stop people bothering me with it all the time." (Struan Sutherland)
"So what do we do if we get bitten by something deadly, then?" I [Douglas Adams] asked.
He blinked at me as if I were stupid.
"Well what do you think you do?" he [Struan Sutherland] said. "You die of course. That's what deadly means."
Now this is a page I could follow... (or at least read occassionally).
A mate of mine used to live in an area on the upper north shore of Sydney surrrounded by bush. He came into work one morning telling the story of coming face to face (almost) with a large funnel web spider in his bathroom. He grabbed a close by spray can that he thought (because of the colour) was Mortein (bright red) and sprayed the spider liberally. The results were the spider curling up and dying rapidly. When he looked at the can it was his wife's hairspray.
But did this spider-hater have sharp ears? And was he executed for attacking a sacred animal? People want to know.
Come on, there are "woman screaming hysterically", "man yelling", valiant attempt to save an itsy bitsy spider, "jealous rage that led to mass stabbing", we're well into second page - and not a single drow joke? Really?
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