Friday, August 14, 2009

A Monstrous Visitor and a Very Early Morning

At 2:30am this morning I was woken from a deep sleep by my other half. Half out of it, I was expecting to find that the house was burning down, or there was some medical emergency and leapt out of bed.
The cry for support was “There is a white-tailed spider out in the hall.”

Now Australia is very noted for bitey things like:

Saltwater Crocodiles:
The largest crocodile species in the world, salties account for a couple of fatalities each year in Oz.


Oz has something like 10 of the top 12 most venomous land snakes in the world, and many species are very common. We have a population of about one fourteenth that of the USA but have about the same number of snake bites per year (8 to 10 thousand). Due to good treatment we only have 1 or 2 fatalities each year.

Our funnel-web spider is legendarily dangerous, although since the development of an anti-venom in the 1980s there have been no fatalities.
The photos I have used in this post are all from the Wikimedia Commons, click to get a link.

So what about the beast I was summoned to do battle with?
A white-tailed spider, hardly worth mentioning in comparison to our other natural denizens.
Now to be fair these are not nice spiders. I use the term nice advisedly, I am one of those rare people who likes spiders and most species I will catch and move outside, for example huntsman spiders (not funnel-webs, in my opinion funnel-webs are too dangerous to mess with).

But white-tails are not nice, they are active spiders that hunt rather than catching their prey in a web. This means they frequently end up in clothes, or beds, or shoes and bites are common. In fact our number two daughter Io, was bitten by one in her bed when she was about 6. The bite caused a small ulcer on her ankle the size of a little finger nail. As a result I tend to get a bit vengeful in my approach to white-tails.

But was the level of risk worth being woken for at 2:30 am?
Besides what was a swine-flu afflicted woman doing wandering the halls at 2:30?
But maybe I am just a grumble-butt, shouldn’t a fellah leap to the defence of his family?
Even if it is just from a very small monster?


Nina said...

I could hardly look at the pictures or read it...but I did and very cool! Spiders and Snakes....interesting stuff. Hope I never meet one! Ha! ~ninon

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Hi Al, thanks for stopping by my blog. I guess the "Writer's Block" post was a bit crass. But I'm an accountant, what can I say? I think in dollars, unlike most writers, I suppose. Your spiders are beautiful and creepy at the same time.

Al said...

Hi Ninon, thanks for commenting!
Spiders and snakes don't really bother me (unlike my better half). Crocs are more scary (they are just as happy eating people as anything else), but they are easy to avoid, you just stay away from the water in the north of the country!

Al said...

Hi Christy,
Thanks for the comment. I was not at all offended, it all serves to stimulate a conversation. I'm married to an accountant, I think they are great people.

Lady Glamis said...

I really liked this post. I love spiders and snakes, although I'd prefer they stay out of my home and sleeping quarters! I have an entomologist in my current novel. Bugs play a big part in the book. :)

Al said...

Hi Michelle,
Thanks for the comment. I also have a soft spot for spiders (of most species) and snakes (as long as they stay out of the house. But all in all I think I prefer our feathered or furred locals.

Nikola said...

Well,kudos for your bravery,I would most definitely freak out! :)

Al said...

Hi Nikola,
I probably show stupidity, not bravery