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To All the Spiders I Have Loved Before

Late last night, I walked into a spider web. It was late at night, I'd just finished teaching, and I was heading to the garage to put the car in there and then go and crash for the evening.

The problem really arose after I walked into the web and had the the quick glance to find the spider. I found it easy enough: a large square sitting in the air, suspended by the web that I couldn't see. It looked like it was ready to jump, but I couldn't be sure. Still, the jumping spiders. Who likes them? My thought process as I stood there peeling web off me was, "Is this the jumping kind? I fucking had the jumping kind. They jump right at you. Also, they tend to be poisonous. Shit, it's by the garage, too. Is it a funnel web? I can't tell. Fuck, don't be a jumping funnel web."

In case you're not aware of it, the funnel web spider is one of Australia's fun time poisonous spiders. As someone on wikipedia wrote, "The Sydney funnel-web spider is one of the most dangerous spiders in the world and will defend itself aggressively if threatened or frightened. For this reason, humans are strongly advised not to approach them. Chances of being bitten are high if encountered, and bites can be lethal within 40 minutes if not treated."

Still, it had that big back, like an enlarged belly. Wasn't that really a red back spider?

Also, weren't funnel webs mostly located in the ground?

More importantly, the spider had not leapt into my face and caused me to shriek like a teenage girl. Perhaps it was just poisonous and not aggressive. Despite popular myth, the red back isn't very poisonous, and no one has died from it since the 1950s, or so this site is telling me: "To get bitten you have to actually stick your hand into the web of a spider, they rarely leave their nest. The fangs of the Redback Spider are tiny. Even if you do manage to get bitten the bite is likely ineffective. In addition the Redback Spider venom is a very slow acting toxin, and most people don't show any reaction to it (except it itches like crazy). Possible symptoms in those who do react are pain (can become severe), localised sweating at the bite site, and later on more sweating, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting. A simple ice pack is the best first aid. In most cases it's all that's required as very few people actually develop these symptoms. Honest, if you go and see a doctor here and tell them a Redback bit you, they'll just tell you to go home and put ice on it."

(The symptoms of a funnel web, however, are somewhat more dramatic: "Australian spiders will often bite without injecting venom. But if you get bitten by a large black spider in the Sydney area you should take the bite seriously. The symptoms of the venom include pain, mouth numbness, vomiting, abdominal pain, sweating and salivation. Whether you have symptoms or not, apply a pressure immobilisation bandage as explained on the page about Australian snakes, and seek medical help.But there is no need to panic. Nobody has died from a Sydney Funnel-web Spider bite since an antivenom was introduced in 1984.")

Either way, I wasn't coming to a conclusion any time quick, so I left the car, went inside, found a can of poison and came back and sprayed whatever kind of spider it was. It crawled off in pain and I felt brave, which is often how I feel when I use chemicals to punish my enemies. However, this morning, when I went back to get the car, I found a tiny little baby red back in a nice position to squash, and I suppose it was really the latter and I didn't need to spray, but it doesn't pay to mess round, I guess.

I've never really gotten along with spiders. I used to be fine with them, but then a huntsman--a large, fifteen cm like spider that's ugly and mean looking, but quite harmless--laid its eggs in a car I had once. I didn't realise this until one night when I came back to my car after seeing a film, and found the roof shifting. For a moment, I thought I was having one of those moments, but then I realised it wasn't so much shifting as it was crawling with tiny, almost translucent baby huntsmen, in a number I couldn't possibly count. They had laid claim to the car though, and no matter of squashing would catch them all. That's why, unfortunately, trips in that same car for the next six months often resulted in swearing, screaming, and at one time, a sudden brake as spiders that grew in size over the months popped out and dropped onto your lap.

It was kind've distracting as you drove, you know?

(crossposted)

Comments

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ashamel
Apr. 9th, 2009 03:48 am (UTC)
To All The Spiders Who Shared My Life
It would be.

I would consider driving through a car wash with the windows open. Or a flame thrower.
benpeek
Apr. 9th, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)
Re: To All The Spiders Who Shared My Life
but all the cleaning after...
vampyrichamster
Apr. 9th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
EEP!
shadowsandice
Apr. 9th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
O_o

I hate you. Now I'm freaking out about being tickled by stray hairs.
benpeek
Apr. 9th, 2009 07:13 am (UTC)
i'm here for the people, 24/7.
lyndarama
Apr. 9th, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)
Argggh. Huntsman spiders. Can't stand 'em. But you know, thanks for not including photos.

Your spiders in the car story kind of freaks me out.
benpeek
Apr. 9th, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
*heads off to find pictures for lynda*
simplykathryn
Apr. 9th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
Heh - my mum had one just about drop on her lap once - it was snoozing nicely on the sunshade thingy :)
ellen_datlow
Apr. 9th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
I feel your pain :-) When I visited Dirk Flinthart and family in Tasmania a few years ago there were spiders of all different kinds all over the inside of their house--every time I went to the bathroom it was an adventure, worrying whether one would jump,fall, attack, or whatever.

Then one night I turned on the light to my room to go to bed --the family was already asleep --(lovely white pillow and sheets and comforter) when this huge spider as big as my fist is sitting there. I freaked but basically just swept it off--dunno where it went and didn't care. I don't know how I slept in the room that night but somehow I did.
benpeek
Apr. 9th, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
yeah, it's a fun time over here, isn't it?

i woke up once to find a spider crawling over me. i remember just snapping my hand out, grabbing it, and throwing it away, then rolling back over to sleep.

later, i read all about that statistic that said most people will eat a spider or fly or insect a few times while sleeping...
ellen_datlow
Apr. 10th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
Yuck--something I could have lived without knowing :-)
benpeek
Apr. 10th, 2009 07:02 am (UTC)
i'm, like, a giver...
kylaw
Apr. 9th, 2009 11:48 pm (UTC)
Oh dear - large, hanging in mid-air next to a garage in Autumn? I do hope you didn't kill an Orb Weaver. I like orb weavers. Redbacks tend be ground dwellers and don't get as large as Orb Weavers.

I like Huntsmen too. I had one emerge from under the sunshades of a car while I was driving down Parramatta Road, with a notable arachnophobe in the passenger seat. He was much more distracting than the spider. I confess, I don't know how I'd react to a seething mass of them covering the roof...

I also like the large ones in Dustwallow Marsh that you can make sausage from.
benpeek
Apr. 10th, 2009 07:03 am (UTC)
someone should level her toon faster ;p

i suppose it could have been an orb weaver. i dunno. it was a spider, i sprayed it, and it left to die, rather than attacking me which, should the positions be reversed, is likely what i would have done.
switchknitter
Apr. 10th, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
OMG. The car thing. I'd have died of heart failure. Ugh.
benpeek
Apr. 10th, 2009 07:02 am (UTC)
and to think, we just squished what we could, then got in. heh.
lucius_t
Apr. 11th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
Honduran spiders can be large. Bigger than one's hand and make a complicated crunch when crushed underfoot. Never minded them. In fact was grateful to them for initiating a relationship when I burst into a bathroom in response to the screams of a nurse named Sherrill. Scorpions, however....the translucent yellow kind who drop from the thatch upon sleeping humans. Uggh. I remember one night waking up, wondering what all these weird shapes were on my mosquito netting inches from my face (I was sleeping in a hammock) and was freaked on learning they were scorpions.
benpeek
Apr. 11th, 2009 12:26 pm (UTC)
yeah, i imagine so. scropions are one of those things i've never seen actually, which really, i'm not too fussed bout.
lucius_t
Apr. 11th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
They're not bad eating though, if you like crunchy fried food...
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