I can’t say that I like spiders, but I have become quite fascinated with the ones I see in my garden here in the Blue Mountains. Of course most of them I don’t actually see….only their intricate webs. People on an Australian spider ID site told me the one in this stump belongs to a deadly funnel web, but I’m not convinced. I use the stump as a seat….well I used to! Even I don’t like to tempt fate.
My associate Editor Des loves trying to lure the spiders out with his fishing rod.. Yes, we have quite a few stump seats, all inhabited.
The tiny leaf curling spider has quite a large web for its size.
See, here is one outside its house.
Here is one inside my house….. inside my bedside lamp to be accurate.
I realize we do have lots of deadly funnel web spiders in our garden, but they tend to keep to themselves under large rocks etc, where it’s damp and dark (as opposed to in stumps). This is what the web looks like if you dig it out. We usually just let ours be though. I won’t post a pic of one because they are pretty creepy. Instead, I’ll tell you a funny thing that happened during a Sydney news broadcast. In a hilarious ‘Spoonerism’ the announcer said, ‘A woman has been bitten on the funnel by a fingerweb spider.’ According to urban myth the poor fellow was demoted to reading traffic reports after his faux pas.
On a serious note, an eight year old girl called Shirley Fraser was bitten by a funnel web here in Blackheath back in 1951….on New Year’s Eve. She was playing with her siblings in the backyard and was bitten when she picked up some chips of wood. She was rushed to Katoomba hospital, but did not recover. Thankfully, tragedies such as this are extremely rare.
We also have funny little house spiders; quite harmless. They have developed a row of terrace homes above our garage door.
Here is another example of high density housing. These webs are on the trunk of our American redwood tree. I have no idea what type of spiders live in them though. They look similar to the garage ones.
Below is a golden orb spider. Note its carefully packaged food parcels on the left,
And these are the webs I walk into every time I make my ‘matron’s rounds’ of the garden. I feel bad about wrecking all the poor creatures’ work to be honest. There are so many around my paths. They are woven by St Andrew’s Cross spiders, but the one in my photo hasn’t finished his cross in the centre. They use thicker silk for the cross for some reason.
The Australian poet Les Murray wrote some fantastic lines about walking into webs.
I have only ever had two spider bites. The one below was a bit nasty; right into a vein on my wrist. I have no idea what sort it was. I’m thinking Vampire Spider, though.
The other was from a huntsman spider. They rarely bite, but this one was injured and couldn’t run away when we met unexpectedly. Because they are so large, most people are terrified of them (including me really) . Such fear can cause awful consequences. Read this if you dare. HIGHWAY HOLD-UP