Back in January I casually noted that you won’t find a red-back spider or similar deadly critter hidden around every corner.
Now we’re into October I thought I’d never get around to meeting anything that could potentially kill me and if I’m being honest I was acting a little to laid back when I was sweeping out the dead fly carcases from the shed in our new house with my hand!
Well, I can now safely say it’s time to reset the deadly creature encounter counter as yesterday I came face to face with my first Australia red-back spider.
We’ve still not moved into our new house yet as we’ve decided to get ducted air conditioning and a new alarm system fitted before we move in. We’ve still been doing the odd job here and there though and yesterday I was up there with Junior watering the plants and cleaning the swimming pool filter (which I can assure you will be the subject of many future entries).
So, I’m stood there looking at the cleaning instructions for the filter and junior comes running on over me.
“Daddy, daddy, come here. You need to look at this!”
Now, being a 4 year old Junior is very good at really ‘bigging up’ things that he’s seen. I remember once I was up to my eyes in flat packed furniture when Junior came running up to me as he had to show me something amazing and it turned out to be a ……. moth!
“What is it mate?” ask I
“Daddy, it’s the biggest spider you’ve ever seen!” says Junior.
Now, time to take a quick time out. When we were still in the UK I actively encouraged junior to become one with nature, I didn’t really want him to be scared of anything with more than a few legs and actively encouraged him to pick spiders up out of the bath and gently interact with the other creepy crawlies you’d find around our back garden.
Since moving down under the teaching has changed to DON’T TOUCH SPIDERS and so far he has been really good at telling us when he sees an unusually large arachnid instead of just picking them up.
Ok, back to the story.
“OK mate, lets have a look” say I, following junior who bounds off like some great excitable Labrador.
My eyes followed the direction of juniors pointing finger as we neared the fence in our back garden and fell on the sight of a big black spider with a body the size of a large Pea.
I’d seen big black spiders before and as this one had built a web I was staring at the underside of it’s belly.
I had a closer look and then noticed the unmistakable red triangular markings of the female red-back spider.
I told junior to go inside as stupidly I thought it would be a really great idea to try and catch it in a bucket as the photo’s would make a really good blog entry but unfortunately the little critter was too fast and shot off into the confines of its home in the upper part of the fence where I couldn’t get to it.
As things stand, we still have a big pet red-back living in the garden of our new house. I’m hoping that it’ll be there when we pop up later today.Firstly so I can show the missus and secondly so we still know where it is.
Thankfully, no one has died from a red-back bite here in Australia since the development of the anti-venom in 1956. It’s still gotta sting though.