4 March 2006

A "Good" Spider?


The Sheriff is in town - eating the bad guys

This is a white tailed spider we found in the boy's bedroom this morning.
The media has hyped up the white tailed spider as being very dangerous to people causing massive pain and maybe even death.
Thanks to the Internet we can find out some actual information rather than hearsay. The Australian Museum Online provides a great page informing us that:
- white tailed spiders like eating other spiders (even red backs(*)!);
- Detailed investigations show that humans may get irritation, swelling and itchiness but nothing major; and
- to control them inside, just clear away all the spider webs around the house, which is their food source.

The last point is too late for this fellow as he has now joined his ancestors, but in future we'll capture any white tailed spiders and throw them on the garage to eat the red backs.

(*) Red Back spiders are not at all nice, but since anti-venom was discovered no one has died from a red back bite.


Update:
We just caught a small white tailed spider in the barracks. This time Peter called me and I came with cup and stiff cardboard and caught the spider. We threw him towards the garage wall which had many spider webs. Unintentionally, the small spider was caught on a web and a larger spider came out to investigate the intruder.
Spider fight!
The larger spider and the smaller white tail danced around, each trying to gain an advantage, with their front legs ahead of them, like two sumo wrestlers feeling their opponent's defences. They rushed into a huddle and both spiders went still. We peered closer and couldn't tell which had won. Then we noticed the white tail spider's legs going red and knew he had won. Sure enough a couple of minutes later the victorious little spider moved on dragging his victim behind him. So the museum site linked above was right. White tailed spiders really are spider killers!

2 comments:

blestwithsons said...

oh man... that is really cool - but monstrously creepy. Spiders give me the heebie-jeebies.

I'd much rather look at a snake.

Melissa O. Markham said...

Cool post! Spiders really creep me out, but I have had to learn to handle them with a child who is interested in insects and a husband who often works out of town.