A Spider Called Eight

I'm not sure how many people choose to name individual critters that share their homes. But I like to. I don't mean pets, more the occasional interloper that comes along and stays for a while. Our most recent visitor is 'Eight' - and he's a very handsome fellow.

Eight is a Grey huntsman and as such is one of the largest spiders by leg span in Australia - reaching a said span of around 24cm - roughly, your average dinner plate size. And they're fast - with the ability to cover areas around five times their size in just one second - in human terms, that's the equivalent of Usain Bolt running flat out!

He is venomous, but like most, though not all huntsman - his venom isn't known to be medically significant to humans. That being said, huntsman spiders are implicated in a number of vehicle accidents throughout the country ...

Picture the scene, you're driving - singing along to some banal auto-tuned garbage on the wireless, when the sun starts to get in your eyes. You casually flip the sun visor down and a large, rather hairy looking spider, falls neatly into your lap and starts running about at high speed before making its way up the leg of your shorts ... it's at about this point that any pretence of obeying traffic laws is thrown outa the proverbial, ending in a flurry of arms and legs, mashed brakes and tire smoke - at the very least.

All rather understandable, really.

But having one in your home is actually quite nice. With no web anchoring him to one location, Eight is free to wander about the joint at whim. And it's something of a game, guessing where he might suddenly appear next, like a conjurers trick.

(Holconia immanis) A.K.A Eight

Unfortunately for Eight, he doesn't have the house all to himself - we, like most people in FNQ, have a few house geckos as chirpy little guests and one in particular is not big on sharing. He's called Chuck, and it seems that Eight and Chuck may have bumped into each other at some point, as eight is now missing a leg - (we decided to keep calling him Eight however, as calling him Seven just seemed a bit callous).

Currently, Eight is a little over palm size in leg span and doesn't pose any real threat to our other housemates, the parrots and snakes etc ... although, after his next few molts, it'll probably be time to thank him for his service and escort him back to the garden.

So why do I consider having a large spider in the house to be a good thing? Firstly, he's a fantastic listener. Got a problem?, wanna talk about it but don't need all the advice that goes with it? A chat with a spider might just be the solution. Another side benefit is that Eight earns his keep by dealing with insects that I, and in particular Jo, would prefer not to have indoors. Notably, the Australian and German cockroaches.

So Eight's great! But as I said earlier, not all huntsman spiders are quite so benign ...

From the post: Sunbird Nesting

Badge Huntsman have been known to bite and general symptoms include local severe pain and swelling, sweating, nausea and vomiting. A cold pack may relieve local pain.

So it does pay to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the spiders that may share your abode ... speaking of which, we also have a St Andrews Cross spider in residence above a pot plant in the kitchen - a superb spot to ensnare tiny little fruit loving and bitey midgies that are impossible to keep out of the house - he/she's a keeper!

I try to encourage people to enjoy the natural world around them, but I also respect that people have fears and sometimes phobias, especially with regard to our more leggy type critters. But if possible, do yourself a good turn and have a go at just observing such critters. I have been privileged in my life to watch people turn their fears into fascination - and who knows? You might do so too!

Take Care


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