Topics:  bugs, column, editors picks, opinion, spider

A sore tale of the four-legged spider that took revenge

ONCE again, in addition to being a columnist, this week I will be an educator.

Sometimes the universe, or my own stupidity, plays an active role in making sure that you, the reader, have something to read that won't be a complete waste of your time (see previous columns).

As most of you know by now, I love bugs. Even the ones that make most people cringe, like the Australian huntsman.

There's something that intrigues me about bugs that are the size of Paris Hilton's dog.

Now, for about a week I had a four-legged huntsman on my back patio. Yes, I said four-legged. And the missing legs were all missing from one side of its body.

So, I kept an eye on it - partially because I was curious to see if it walked in circles - but mainly because I was wondering if it would survive.

Well, it wasn't long before I realised that, while still being physically intimidating, being armless had made him, well, harmless.

After a few days of him not moving or hunting, one morning I came out to find him on top of some linen on the patio with his remaining legs curled in.

Which could only mean two things; either he was cold or he was dead.

Now, I'm no entomologist but I went with the latter.

And since I needed to move the linen he was laying on and, I admit, was curious to take a closer look now that he'd knocked on heaven's door, I decided to pick it up. So… I … grabbed … a … leg.

 

Harry Bruce cartoon for A Yank in Oz column January 21, 2013
Harry Bruce cartoon for A Yank in Oz column January 21, 2013 Harry Bruce

Now, if you have ever seen a ninja kill someone in a movie or David Copperfield make someone disappear, neither of those things can come close to the quickness at which this spider sunk his horribly painful fangs into my thumb.

And here's a fun fact for you: huntsmans have what's known as the "cling" reflex when they bite.

Which means they don't bite and release, they cling to their prey like a bad habit - a scary, painful, hairy, four-legged, possum-playing habit.

And to answer the obvious question, no, I didn't kill it after I was finally able to shake it loose.

As it laid spent, legs once again curled in, I knew it had fought its last fight. Plus I was too busy screaming and running in the other direction.

And later when I was sure death wasn't imminent, my husband reminded me that I could now, possibly, give birth to Spiderman.

He always knows just what to say.



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