Oh, Australia, the Land Of ‘Nope’, where everything is trying to kill you, or if not, there’s a good chance it’ll make you wish you were dead anyway. Some Australians think differently though.
In a post to the Australian spider identification page on Facebook, an Australian man called Jake Gray introduced a “big girl” that’s been living with him in his house for a whole year, noting he had been “watching her grow” into the gigantic huntsman spider she is now.
Most of us would probably decide it was time to move (or burn down the) house in this kind of situation, but as evidenced hereby, Australians are somewhat different: Jake simply glanced up and thought to himself “housemate material”. He even wrote on Facebook that he hopes to see her “grow some more” as time goes on.
“Huntsman spiders have always been tolerated in our home due to their appetite for cockroaches, and we don’t use toxic kill all chemicals for pests,” Jake told IFLScience. “Just point and push flysprays.”
However, not all of his family members were happy about having the spider in the house. To calm their children, Jake and his wife named the spider Charlotte, officially promoting her to pet status.
“We first spotted Charlotte 12 months ago and she was bigger than usual and over the year she would pop up,” adding “seeing her eating a Asian house gecko was a highlight.”
While the spider looks pretty terrifying, with people in comments declaring that “bruh, that’s the spider’s house now,” this particular species isn’t as harmful as it appears. Despite the name, it doesn’t hunt men, so to say.
Even though Holconia immanis – better known as the Banded huntsman or Sydney huntsman – do produce venom, they are unlikely to use it on humans. They prefer to run away rather than bite, and even if they were to bite you, the effects would be mild.
So they can only really cause you harm by scaring you into doing something reckless, such as freak out and drive your car into a lake which one man did in 2016 after one specimen touched him on his arm.
For the most part, the spiders aren’t harmful at all and even act as pest-control service, eliminating unwanted guests that are mostly smaller than this poor possum.
The spiders can grow up to around 15 centimeters (six inches) long, and they are pretty fast, so the best way to deal with them is to remain calm (if you can).
“What should you do if you do find a big spider in your car or living room? First, get a grip! She isn’t going to hurt you,” behavioral ecologist and spider expert Linda S. Rayor wrote in a piece about hunstman spiders.
“Second, find a take-away container, scoop the spider into the container and release it outside. Huntsman spiders almost never bite humans since they rely on speed to escape most predators. When they do bite, most bites are quick defensive nips without injecting venom.
In 14 years of studying Aussie huntsman spiders, I’ve handled many thousands of individuals and been bitten only 11 times when I (mostly) deserved it.”
Yes, Australia is different, and so are Australians…