Saturday, February 18, 2012

Straight Out of a Horror Movie

Sam came home from school toting a plastic container nicely outfitted with leaves and twigs.  He'd spotted a spider in his classroom, and as he began an attempt to use the lid to brush it into the container, a student suggested that Sam just use his hands and grab it. In his infinite wisdom, Sam countered that the student would be welcome to use his own hands and grab it.  As the kid was reaching, arms outstretched to capture the specimen, the spider jumped down on the top of his ball cap-adorned head and frantically ran around in a few circles (the spider, not the kid) before falling into the container.

I didn't bother going out on the balcony to have a look at the spider, because the story was enough for me.

The next morning, Sam said we'd release the spider (sufficiently far from our building) along our walk to the beach.  I took a look at the previous evening's houseguest, and this (and I swear there has been no Photoshop alteration), is what I saw:
Huntsman spider
Huntsman spiders are sometimes confused with tarantulas, and adult males can reach a legspan of 10-12 inches.  Yes, I said inches.

Hear that?  What you hear is the sound of my father deftly dialing the airline to cancel his ticket to visit me.

One of the few stories my father has shared about his experience in the Vietnam War was one night when he had the opportunity to go to a nice restaurant on his own.  Looking forward to treating himself, he ordered his food, and looked up to see a tarantula on the ceiling above him.  He spent the entire meal with his head upturned, somehow eating with his eyes never leaving the creature that could drop down on him at any moment.  So much for treating himself to a nice evening.  Needless to say, he's not a big fan of the Arachnid family.
our goodbye photo, upon releasing him

So, that was in Sam's classroom?  What's more shocking, I have heard exchange teachers say that they have found these in. their. homes.


After making a quick mental note to never visit Sam at his school, I also made a silent prayer to the Australian spider gods to please have mercy upon me and let me make it through the year without happening upon one of these in my bathroom.

Meanwhile, I'm aleady walking around feeling like the guy in the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark with the tarantulas all over his back.


  1. Argh!!! Did you say something about a blowup mattress on the floor????? Maybe we will stay in a hotel when we visit. :)

  2. Certainly an adventure for Annie, not sure about the boys.

  3. Yuck, yuck, YUCK!!!!!!
    I think I am willing to live with the ecological implications of eradicating a few creepy crawly species from the earth. This kind of spider is Definately on the list

    1. Gretchen, agreed, although supposedly they are considered beneficial because they eat cockroaches. Ugh, I feel itchy and goosebumpy even typing this.

  4. Within a few weeks of moving to our Sydney suburb, we were welcomed by a huntsman I I have never been the same and scan the walls and ceilings in the rooms everyday...all day...and ...ummm no one ever mentioned that cockroaches are "normal".... ahhhh.