I recently read a news story about an incident in Australia that sent shivers down my spine. It wasn’t a “new” news story, but it was certainly news to me. Police in Sydney were flooded with calls from concerned neighbors who heard what sounded like a tremendous domestic dispute. They reported and a man shrieking, “I’m going to kill you. You’re dead. Die! Die!” All of this was accompanied by the sounds of crashing furniture and things being smashed. It sounded as though someone was…well, being killed.
That, however, is not what terrified me. I mean, hell, I see that every day on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. It’s what the police found when they arrived. A distraught man who was out of breath and quite flushed opened the door. The police demanded, “Where’s your wife?” He told them that he wasn’t married. “Then, where’s your girlfriend?” He told them that he didn’t have one. “The neighbors told us they heard a woman screaming in here.” The man confessed, “That was me. I was screaming.”
After inspecting the home, the police came out and explained what was going on to the to the concerned neighbors. “It was a spider,” they said. “A really, really big one. And he really, really hates spiders.” The terrified man had been chasing the large spider around, trying to hit it with insect spray, knocking over tables and shelves in the process. He was definitely an arachnophobe. I mean, he is in Australia after all. I think they have more man-killing spiders per capita than anywhere else in the world. Australia definitely produces their fair share of “WTF, stay away from me!” kind of animals.
I am not an arachnophobe. Nor am I an arachnophile. I’m arachno-neutral. Or at least, I was. Till along came the Huntsman spider – which I believe was the culprit in the above-mentioned terror-filled story. Now here is the part of the story that truly reminds me of some of those B-horror movies I love so much and what scared me the most about this story. Huntsman spiders can grow to have a leg span of almost one foot. They are ugly creatures. I mean, I’m sorry, I feel for the poor things, but yeah, they’re not cute. They bite, but only if provoked…which I for one am thankful for — AND they don’t fly, thank whatever God was put in charge of creating spiders. People in Australia have taken to calling them Aragogs, the deadly spiders of Harry Potter fame. You can’t really blame them. If I woke up to find this thing in my house, I think I’d be calling it some names too…though perhaps not such a literary one.
When I first read about the poor man in Sydney who woke the neighbors, I got a good laugh from it. But then, after a little visualization, I decided that maybe it wasn’t quite so funny after all. Imagine walking into your kitchen and finding a fuzzy creature the size of a dinner plate walking across your counter top, and you don’t own a cat (or at least not one with 8 legs). I’m quite sure the neighbors would hear me. Hell, I think the residents of the adjacent states would hear me. So, yeah. Bless the citizens of Australia because if this is the shit they have to deal with, they deserve our awe and our admiration.
Although I do sort of feel sorry for the poor spider…I mean, can you imagine just going about your spider-y life, then mistakenly wandering into the wrong house (I mean, come on! Who hasn’t done that after a full night of carousing and drinking!?) and then having some lunatic chase you around trying to smash furniture over your head?
I, like you, try to be arachno-neutral. I don’t bother the spiders I find around the yard, except for the black widows, which I torch with nuclear fire. Many of the webs are quite beautiful, so long as I don’t wander face first into one while taking out the trash at night.
I probably would prefer to not hold a tarantula or let one crawl on me, even though I know on an intellectual basis that they’re relatively harmless. If one spooked me, all bets are off.
But these Huntsman spiders (or the camel spiders of the Middle East)? I’m thinking that’s why God invented shotguns. It shouldn’t take more than a box or two of shells to get rid of one spider in the kitchen.
Three boxes, tops.
Not a spider, but rather a crustacean — BUT have you seen a coconut crab?? Oh my god, they look like they stepped right out of a horror movie. They’ve been known to hunt and eat birds. BIRDS! National Geographic just released footage last month about how a coconut crab snatched a red-footed booby (not a small bird by any means) off its roost. So yeah. I think I found something worse than spiders.
Just carry around a spray bottle of lemon butter…
Ha! YOU are a problem solver, my friend!
An entertaining read – I myself, although I do not particularly like spiders am not phased by them. Not so a male friend who could not walk under an underpass for fear of encountering one. For those affected, it is indeed an ordeal. Great though, that the police responded. There are so many crimes that are no longer of interest to our local police (UK), although I do hope they would still respond to a screaming-human, arachno-challenged or otherwise.
I always try to catch them and put them outside if they find their way inside. But of course these are just your run of the mill, non-poisonous, smaller than a breadbox spiders.
Thsnks for the alert on what to watch out for should my dream of visiting Australia come true. And for the morning/week starting laugh.
I should start a travel blog, detailing all of the things to watch out for when visiting other places, like deadly spiders, bird eating crabs, etc. LOL
I could guest blog my experience of tarantulas crawling up my leg during a picnic not far from my home.
Can I just say…ewwww!? Gosh, that gave me the shivers just reading it. LOL
Yeah, me too, remembering from 20 years ago. Stuff of fevered nightmares. And unlike you, I don’t care for scary movies.
I like scary movie creepy-crawlies…I don’t like scary real-life creepy-crawlies. Especially not ones that crawl up your pants legs.
I feel sorry for the spider as well. Scary, finding one in your kitchen. Maybe winter isn’t so bad…nothing big in Chicago and especially in the winter. But then we could have parrots in the trees, like they do in Australia. Hmmm. tradeoffs are tough.
I have to agree, parrots in trees would be pretty cool…
Excellent story! Joe and I wonder why anyone wants to live in Australia *?!*!
I have a cousin who lives there and while it’s beautiful, it’s also expensive. That would be the only downside for me. Well, that and all of the animals trying to kill me.
The Huntsman spider arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand from Australia around a hundred years ago, and here they’re known as Avondale spiders (named after the suburb they were first discovered in). They can have a leg span of up to 8 inches, but the body is only about an inch long.
The 300+ spiders that featured in the 1990 comedy horror movie Arachnophobia were Avondale spiders from New Zealand, as were there spiders featured in the opening scenes of the 2002 movie Spiderman.
Hey Australia, can you take your spiders back please!
We’re very lucky here as we have no poisonous creatures, no snakes, no large reptiles and no native land mammals (apart from 2 tiny and rare bat species). I think that whatever god was responsible for handing out nasty critters, was so heavy handed in Australia, that he/she had none left for Aotearoa.
Australia does seem to have their fair share of deadly critters. And any spider that is big enough to keep as a pet can just stay the hell away from ME. LOL 😀