R.I.P. Giant Spider: You’ll be Remembered

I didn’t know the spider long. Only a couple of weeks. Not really enough time to even get around to giving it a name; we just called it The Giant Spider. But it certainly made an impression.

It was just after 5:00am when I saw it the first time. I awoke to the familiar sound of 9-month-old Baby calling for his bottle, and opened my eyes blearily. I’d had a late night, and didn’t want to climb out of so early. I rolled over and woke my husband gently.

“Sweetie? Can you feed Baby this morning? Wow. Look at the size of that spider.”

He woke up much quicker than usual, and I stared at the Huntsman sitting on the wall opposite our bedroom door. It was big. How big? Look at your right hand. Now, splay the fingers out as though they were legs on a spider. That’s how big. I watched it for a few minutes, sure that it was watching me back with its eight black eyes. Then it ran and spider-jumped away, the way Huntsmen do, and secreted itself somewhere safe for the day.

Huntsmen are not your typical spider. In fact, they’re quite handy to have around the place. (Which is good, because there’s no possible way you’d ever rid your house or yard of them in this part of Australia.) And although they may look a bit like a tarantula to the untrained eye, they’re really quite different.

Adult Huntsmen don’t spin webs. They eat by doing exactly what their name suggests — hunting prey. During the day, they flatten their bodies and hide under rocks, or behind bark, or in various hidey-holes around sheds or homes. At night, they emerge to hunt down insects, invertebrates and small lizards through the use of an extremely sensitive sense of smell.

They rarely bite people (preferring to run and hide) unless it’s a female protecting her eggs, or you pick one up by mistake. And even then, their bite isn’t particularly toxic. So there’s no real harm to having them around the place. Plus, they keep the cockroach population under control.

My general stance is to make a deal with any Huntsmen I see. If they stay out of my way, I’ll stay out of theres. Bedrooms are off-limits (if I see them there), but other than that they’re free to roam the house and eat insects at will. If they do wander into a bedroom or I find them in odd places, I’ll carefully trap them in a plastic container and transport them outside.

You can’t blame a spider for being a spider.

But in all the time I’ve lived here, and all the deals I’ve made, I’d never seen a Huntsmen as big as the Giant Spider.

That didn’t stop me rolling over and going back to sleep, though. My husband nobly got out of bed (apparently the adrenalin had woken him up anyway) and fed the baby. The Giant Spider was nowhere to be seen.

It was a few days before I saw it again. It was late evening, and my husband and I were in the office. He asked if I’d like a cup of tea, and wandered out towards the kitchen to boil some water. He was back a couple of seconds later, a little freaked out that he’d nearly stood on the Giant Spider. I looked out the door, and there it was: sitting in the middle of the hallway floor, staring back up at me.

We locked gaze. My four eyes against its eight. And then it scuttled away from us, under the linen cupboard door. “How about that tea?” I asked.

A few days later, 4-year-old Big Brother came wandering out of his playroom to find me. “Mum,” he said. “There’s a spider. I’m a very good boy. I didn’t touch it, I just came straight to tell you.”

By the time I made it to the playroom, the Giant Spider was just secreting itself behind a bookcase. “The spider’s behind the bookcase. You keep playing in here, just don’t stick anything behind there. Especially your hands. Okay?”

“Okay.”

And that was that.

Almost a week passed with the Giant Spider showing up again. I was starting to wonder if it had moved on; found another home. Then, last night, the unthinkable happened.

It was late. It was hot and humid. I  went into the bedroom to turn on the air-con in preparation for going to bed. I pressed the ‘on’ button, and had only had time to take a couple of steps back when the front louvres of the air-con started to open.

There was an odd crunching sound.

I looked up to see small pieces of …something… come flying out of the unit, barely missing my face. I took another couple of hurried steps back in case it was a cockroach. (I hate cockroaches.)

It wasn’t a roach.

It was the Giant Spider. And three of Giant Spider’s legs, now detached from its body.

It landed hard, but then scuttled behind the bedside table.

(Look at your splayed right hand again. That’s exactly what the spider looked like now.)

Now I had a problem. (1) The Giant Spider was next to my bed. (2) He was wounded. (3) I had a voiceover in my head: “This time, the humans had gone too far. This time, it was personal.”

There was no choice for it. I couldn’t catch the Giant Spider where he was. I was going to have to kill it.

I sprayed it with Bug Spray, but that just slowed it down. It kept moving. Towards me now. I apologised. Profusely. “I’m sorry, Giant Spider. I really didn’t want to have to do this. I’m really sorry. I’m really, really sorry.”

Then I bashed it over the head with my husband’s shoe and vacuumed up the pieces with the dust-buster.

R.I.P. Giant Spider. I hope your next life is filled with slow cockroaches and fat, juicy lizards.

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15 Comments

Filed under Random Stuff, The Inner Geek

15 responses to “R.I.P. Giant Spider: You’ll be Remembered

  1. I was entertained at the story yet horrified. I would’ve cried if I’d seen that spider. Actually, if it had gotten away from me, I would’ve moved out of the house. It could’ve had it! lol (If you can’t tell, I’m terrified of spiders!)

    • I used to be seriously arachnophobic (I would lose time when I saw a spider, find myself in another room without any memory of how I got there, etc), but apparently being a mother alone in a house with small children has “cured” me of it. Not all at once, mind. It’s been a process. But as I said, in the area I live, there’s no chance of getting rid of all the spiders, so you’ve got to learn to live with them or go insane.

      Glad I entertained & horrified you, though. I should clearly have told a spider story for Halloween!

      • Agreed. You really should have told a spider story for Halloween.

        I live in the middle of nowhere in Mississippi in a huge hay field basically, so spiders are not uncommon. They just don’t come as big as my hand…usually. But I have these nightmares of finding them crawling all over me. *shudders* I think you may have seen some of my posts on FB about them.

        I kill them when I’m around my nieces and nephew, you know to protect them, but when my bro-in-law or dad are around, I’m all girly and screaming “Kill it,” repeatedly. It’s actually quite embarrassing. 😉

      • I’ve also had those nightmares… Thanks so much for reminding me of them. 🙂

  2. No spiders that size in this part of Texas, thank goodness, although if they eat roaches we should think about importing them. Look how well fire ants and killer bees have done here, and they serve no useful purpose that I can think of. Don’t get me started on mosquitoes. Sorry your friend met his end in the A/C unit. I’m still feeling guilty about the three mice I had to kill a couple of years ago (during a rare catless interval in my household). If I ever had to hunt for food, I’d be a vegetarian.

    • “If I ever had to hunt for food, I’d be a vegetarian.”

      I’m so with you on that! Mind you, I remembered helping my Dad behead chickens when I was a kid, and I had no qualms whatsoever. What does it say about me that I think spiders have more personality than chooks?

  3. Yeuch! Poor old spider. He must have been pretty menacing being so large. Nothing to compare to that in Ireland I am glad to say, I’d have to move out of the house. Jo the Hunter has a nice ring to it though

    • Jo the Hunter.

      Pure awesome. I shall refer to myself as Jo the Hunter from this day forth. I shall also begin referring to myself in the third person, so I can use this name as much as possible. Jo the Hunter is pleased.

  4. This? This is why I don’t live in Australia. (That, and the fact I wasn’t born there in the first place.)

    Me and spiders? We have no such “understanding”. Our only understanding is this: we are mortal enemies, and it is my sworn duty to vanquish the arachnid foe wherever I may encounter them. A spider like this would harrow the hell out of me, but leave me undaunted in my quest to rid the world of the eight-legged-menace.

    (P.S. I hate cockroaches, too, and treat them the same as spiders. The difference? Cockroaches are icky and gross, whereas spiders are potentially mortal threats.)

    • Hahahaha.

      I love the way that your whole perception of Australia is that it’s a country full of dangerous creatures. I’d like to say you’re wrong, but… I really have nothing to back that up.

      Huntsmen spiders aren’t particularly dangerous, though. It’s the little spiders you’ve got to watch out for. Redbacks are tiny (and easily overlooked), and their venom is incredibly poisonous. I’ll take a creepy-looking, non-web-spinner any day over one of them.

  5. I’m at a loss. I mean spiders are scary, even if they don’t come near us, but GIANT spiders? No No No!!! I’m sorry for you loss but kinda not really.

  6. LMBO @ the voiceover! I do that all the time. My most horrifying experience to date was a wolf spider in the shower with me. There I was, naked and vulnerable, and this hairy beast was going for a swim between my feet. After I finished screaming, I scooped it up and flushed it down the toilet. Showers haven’t been peaceful since.

    • I’ve had a similar experience, although it was years ago now. I’d all-but-forgotten it until reading your comment. Just to clarify: coming into the shower with me is not part of the agreement.

  7. Pingback: Because I LIKE Stories… (Or: More Random Ramblings About Me) | The Happy Logophile

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