When spiders veto your life

You know, I’ve never been quite the spiderphobe before. I’m pretty sure that’s not the actual terminology for it and I can hear Cern’s voice in my head squealing in utter consternation that I haven’t used the google to find the correct word as I’m having a seniors moment, but spiderphobe works so much better. OHHHHH! ARACHNOPHOBIA!!

Maybe my brain does work after all. So anyway, if you’re a spiderphobe I suggest you don’t read any further. This is totally all about the lil buggers that have ruined my life.

Now, here’s a wee bit about Australian spiders for you.

Our most deadliest one is the funnel-web. This lil shit will defend it’s space and if you challenge it, please don’t, it will rear and come at you. Now their fangs can penetrate leather shoes… because they are hard fuckers, like everything we grow out here.  The subfamily contains 35 species. All members of the subfamily are native to Australia. Yes, thanks to the spider gods for making not just one of these lovely lil aggro bastards, but 35 different subspecies. These spiders are medium-to-large in size, with body lengths ranging from 1 cm to 5 cm (0.4″ to 2″) – That was until today… when … wait for it..

Big Boy was found and handed in to be milked. I kid you not, they called the massive funnel-web Big Boy. Who the hell names these things? Why not just call it cuddly wuddly fuck I’m dying? Or Mr Fangy. So back to the point, Big Boy measures a lovely 7.5cm (that’s 2.95 inches for all of you that still refuse to use the proper way of measuring things) and was dripping venom from his fangs when found. Apparently they do that when they get their aggro on. I know, lovely.

Here’s a nice picture of Big Boy for you.

Here’s the article if you wish to know more about Mr Fangy

Not only are these buggers nasty if you come across them, they will kill you and the male has a more toxic venom than the female, which is why they prefer males to be handed in for milking and making of the anti-venom – which apparently there has been less and fewer people handing in the lil shits as the years go by. Because who doesn’t wander around looking for funnel webs to catch and hand in? Of course we all have a desire to die in agony. And these things can run. Also they can survive under water for quite a few hours so if you mistakenly think the fucker’s dead and you want it out of your pool. You may get a nasty surprise. This is the point where you need men around. So you can send one out to deal with it. Spider baiting. If he goes down at least you know to stay inside. Right? Right.

However onto better things, the lovely pretty Redback. The redback colonies in Australia are just amazing. These guys are really pretty to look at, they even shine. Like no, really. They do. Their bites will kill the young and elderly and sick. And hurt like a bitch. However mostly they aren’t aggro like the funnel webs. They tend to build nests and populate at an exponential rate. They seem to love living around our houses and inside them if you let them. It kills its prey by injecting a complex venom through its two fangs when it bites, before wrapping them in silk and sucking out the liquefied insides. Yummo! What I find awesomely cool is that Redbacks will nom on their mate during coupling. Yup, she eats him. How bloody cool is that?!

"Big Redback 8MP" by Stuart Edwards. - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Big Redback 8MP” by Stuart Edwards. – Own work.

And in the Australian outback they are oft found hiding in dunnies (see above) – they do like warm spots and generally they are tiny. Compared to the size of the other spiders this one is like a mini-me of the spider world. But packs quite a wallop with its bite and venom for its wee size issues.

Now the issue is that last week, I advised Cern that I wanted to ride my bike. He quite happily told me that there were redbacks all over it. I’ve since been patiently waiting for him to de-redback my bike so I can ride it. Granted, I could go out there and re-home them one by one. However, him being the biologist, should have the honour no?


I’ve been throwing up the idea of getting a tattoo of a redback on the back of my thigh. I haven’t gone ahead with it as yet – but at some stage I probably will because I think the female redbacks are glorious in the darkness with that bright red stripe. It warms my heart a bit.

In the mean time, I’ll keep waiting for him to re-home the redback colony on my bike so I can ride it. Although to be fair, the weather in Sydney has been utterly shit. It reminds me of New Orleans mid-summer. High temps, high humidity so that my hair does it standing on end thing and then wham, rain for a week but it’s still hot. Fuck the tropics. I thought this weather was meant to be for Queenslanders! The urge to migrate further south is enticing me. Melbourne is such a wonderful place.

Plus my sick cat would benefit muchly. And possibly cost me less in vet bills. The poor bub has been really rather ill since Christmas so I’ve been dealing with him quite a lot. I have to inject him subcutaneously with fluids every day and make sure he has half a tablet of antibiotics in the morning and another half at night. I’m meant to pump him full of 175ml of fluids from a baggie, but at the moment I can only get in 100 since he refuses to let me jab him twice a day with a needle. I would make an awesome vet nurse. If they didn’t mind me crying along with the animal that is. There were lots of tears on both sides while Cern tried to comfort me while also making sure that my kitty didn’t move and dislodge the butterfly needle in his back while I cried and still kept pumping him full of fluids. It was all rather traumatic. I’m happy to say that we have less of the tears now, 3 weeks in than we did in the beginning. Sick animals make one very stressed.  We are sort of getting him better, but we’re having weekly checks and blood works to make sure that he is going the right way and his quality of life is good.

Here’s my wee boy – Monty


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