One of the realities of living in a bush environment is that you are going to get spiders in and around your house pretty much all the time, especially Huntsmen. Huntsmen spiders (or Harry Huntsmen as my wife calls them) are especially common inside, as they come in looking for meals such as other spiders, roaches and any bug of suitable size that also likes to dwell indoors. Huntsmen look intimidating, but they are normally quite timid and harmless, though if really harassed can become aggressive (treat any spider with a degree of care and caution). Out of all the spiders, Huntsmen are possibly the tidiest ones when it comes to not leaving huge amounts of web everywhere. Daddy Longlegs (Harvestmen) seem to be the absolute worst and, fortunately, they are few and far between in our place.
When it comes to Huntsman spiders, I really don’t have a problem with them. They can be unnerving at times, especially when you go to have a shower in the morning and find one peering at you from under the wash basin or sitting above the door to the bathroom, but I generally take them in good humour. My wife is a little less forgiving and has no problem with them as long as they stay outside, so it’s always my duty to escort them outside, else dreadful consequences would ensue. Mind you, when I do that and they get placed back in the yard, the look I get from the Huntsman is clearly, ‘What did I do?’. Ironically enough, earlier this year when I went away for a few days, a Huntsman appeared in our bathroom and the poor thing went to where big, hairy, spiders go when there’s no one to look after them.
When you try and catch them to take them outside, they sprint all over the place avoiding you, as one would when a giant monster is coming at you, so what you need to do is get them on some carpet, which slows them down a tad. Then, as I did with the following one, I let it go on my camera strap which it gleefully climbed and then made its way to the camera and then on to my hand. And what’s surprising is that once on my hand, it didn’t want to leave, as it clung on relentlessly when I tried to shake it off. Go figure, one moment it’s running for dear life, the next it’s cuddling you like a puppy.
Now my shed is an eternal home for Huntsmen, so clearly there is an abundance of food lurking around, along with the lurking spiders. You will come across them in all manner of places and sometimes you don’t know whether they are alive or not, though you can usually tell if they have passed away by the fact that their legs are fully curled up, as there’s no blood pressure to keep them spread. I tend to keep all tool boxes etc firmly closed, so as not to invite squatters, though usually they will only be temporary, but it’s the prey that I’d really like to keep out. The shed is also somewhat of a graveyard for Huntsmen, with the floor often littered with bodies and remnants of once were warriors. I’m not really sure what causes their demise, but they are always there, ready to be swept up once more. I do spray the shed once a year with surface spray to get rid of ants and the pervasive web builders, but I’d be surprised if the spray lasts that long.
Anyway, while some reel in horror at these hairy critters, I look at them as part of the family, with their main purpose being to keep bugs that you don’t want around the house at bay. OK, so they are big, hairy and intimidating, but then so are many creatures, including people.
Update: With Summer officially here, despite the fact that it’s anything but summery, we are beginning to see our furry friends about once more. This is one of the biggest yet, but it didn’t appear to be all that well and, sadly, not long after I took these photographs, it had passed away: