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Having a moment.... Spiders


MichKen

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Okay so in all seriousness, you are welcome to have a bit of a laugh at this post, but the question is a serious one.

I am packing, clearing, selling, and doing all the normal activities of a person planning to migrate soon, and one would think I would have other, bigger worries on my mind at this point... but I must say that I am most concerned about the possibility of coming face to face with my worst nightmare... you see, I am arachnophobic.... so all I can think about is if I will cope with the spiders.  I have googled but struggle to see what spiders are specific to Adelaide because it seems these creatures stick to certain regions.  And it's difficult because I struggle to look at the screen when the images load :blink:

 

I love reptiles, so snakes and lizards don't worry me in the least, and I'm generally a nature/animal lover, just not fond of the 8 legged kind (actually I'm downright terrified of them), and yes I have heard all the rhetoric about facing ones fears and them being more afraid than I am... doesn't change how I feel about them.... and yes, I would rather face them than wake up with a gun in my face... still scared of them though; a phobia being an irrational fear, after all. :unsure:

 

So.... my question is how bad is it really in Adelaide?  My sense is that it's not as bad as the rest of the country... or that's what I keep telling myself anyway.  Please be honest so that I can manage my expectations and feel more prepared.  We plan to live in the Southern suburbs, so information specifically about these areas will be awesome.

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SimpleSimon

Spiders are a very serious issue in Oz. Until you've had a huntsman run across your windscreen in traffic, you just don't understand.

 

I'd imagine that Adelaide is similar to Melbourne where you don't see that many. We moved in next to a forest in Sydney and we encounter the big 5 on a regular basis- huntsman, white tail, red back, golden orb and funnel web.

 

My wife and daughter were huge arachnophobes but exposure helped a lot. We also get in Dr DeAth to spray the house and have a glass and piece of cardboard nearby. Failing that Mortein works a treat but we prefer to relocate G-d's little creatures to the wild.

 

In summary, you will learn to live with Australian spiders in time and give your partner a chance to show his/her strength.

Edited by SimpleSimon
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I am arachnophobic too. And live in Sydney, habitat and playground of the funnel web spider. And many other fascinating and butt ugly spiders. My first encounter with a huntsman spider will forever live in my memory. People keep saying "They're harmless!". But they're not harmless to me if they give me heart failure.

Exposure helps to a certain extent, but that is only with smaller spiders. Taronga Zoo used to run a course where they helped people desensitize, $250 a pop. If they run it again,  I'm definitely taking it (I look at it as an investment).

Having said that, I can't tell you how bad it is in Adelaide, just that you may have fewer, if any, funnel webs, as I believe they only live around NSW.

Edited by Pell
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SimpleSimon

I knew my wife and daughter had "arrived" when they each caught a funnel web under a glass. A couple of years prior there would have been shrieks and my help would have been enlisted.

 

I discovered that comments like "oops, it got away" and "I wonder where it's gone" don't get a great reaction. Best to keep that to yourself although my loved ones do insist on seeing bodies before I cart them outside. I think they know me too well.

 

What I also discovered is that they (spiders) prefer to run away as you're a lot bigger than them and they don't jump. Also, don't look at them under a microscope. These are 3 very important bits of information.

Edited by SimpleSimon
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@SimpleSimon , I am very very far away from catching anything under a glass. Doubt I will ever be there. The funnel web is aggressive (the male of the species). It will attack anything, no matter the size. It has no brakes or restraint. My neighbour discovered three of them in a week, sitting very comfily in a bubble in their pool (and we're nowhere near the bush). I do deal with smaller spiders myself (that is, empty a whole can of bug spray or hair spray on them, including disposal of the remains), but anything larger than a 50 cents coin will need to be dealt with by someone else (husband, daughter, cat, neighbour).

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RedPanda

Hahahaha.... I'm laughing in sympathy, not at you.

Take courage from the fact that you are living in the South, not the tropical North (where the biggest spiders live, we're talking side plate size, I kid you not!)

So far I can tell you that desensitisation really helps a lot. Because phobias are irrational, as you said, it doesn't help to try to reason them away, but repeated exposure to nonvenomous spiders in your environment will give you practice at controlling your reaction.

 

Before we came to Australia we lived in a gated estate outside Centurion, and more than half the estate was veld. There were loads of spiders! Luckily they were small, and 99% of them were harmless, sac spiders being the exception. So I got to see lots of little spiders around the house regularly. I decided "Stuff this! I'm not going to kill everything in sight just because they can't tell the difference between inside and outside my house, so I got a South African spider book. It's certainly not the greatest feeling going through it the first time, lots of close ups, and some of the spiders are just downright ugly/terrifying. But it showed me that there were only three spiders to really watch out for: sac, button, and violin spiders. All the rest were harmless to me, and good for the ecosystem. So then Operation Trap-and-Relocate started. Tip: Start with a big clear plastic container to catch them. That way you don't have to be that close/fast to catch them and it's less scary.

We live in Melbourne now, and in both our houses while still cleaning the place out before we moved in we were greeted by a huntsman, quietly minding its own business: "S'up man? Welcome to the neighbourhood!". But after that we never saw them again. Huntsmans are basically like South African rain spiders, big but not really venomous. And as far as I know, not aggressive. I would suggest you get a spider guide and familiarise yourself with which spiders are dangerous. By the way, the White Tail Spider has a very bad reputation for causing necrotic bite wounds, BUT when they tested it in the lab over 130 bites did not produce a single necrotic wound. So the official academic stance is: white tail bites do not cause necrotic wounds. (if anyone is interested I can find the site/article and share it)

Bottom line: we do see spiders, but not more than in South Africa. Some are dangerous, but if you get bitten you should go to the hospital and they will help you. (nobody has died of a spider bite in Australia since something like 1960).
YOU WILL BE FINE ;) 

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We saw very few spiders when living in closer to the city.  Now we have a lot more vegetation we see more, but no more than when in South Africa.  Similar to RedPanda, when we arrived I checked out what spiders were potentially an issue and how to recognise them/what to do if bitten.   

 

I'm a big fan of having a Huntsman in the house (I would not want an unexpected one in the car when driving).  Hunstman's eat other spiders and ours kept our rooms pretty much clear of other spiders (such as the white tails) as it did its regular tours of the property. 

I prefer the Huntsman to the chemical bombs which can also keep a house clear for some time.  As an arachnophobe you will probably find the insect bombs are for you - a flat we rented on arrival had been bombed and no insect daring to cross the threshold lived for very long.    

 

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RedPanda

I'm not a fan of the bombs, because the same nasty that kills the bugs enters your lungs, sits on your skin, sticks to your clothing, and sometimes contaminates your food. So you're bigger than the bugs, and you last longer, but I think the effects are similar in the long run...

..let the spiders eat each other, they're very good at it ;) 

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LouiseMark

My gran had a saying "if you want to live and thrive, let a spider run alive"

Well not me thanks! SInce arriving in Sydney 6 weeks ago I have encountered 2 red backs and 1 other one....I killed it before it had a chance to introduce itself.  Sorry but I hate the things and i don't sleep if I know there is a spider around. Annoyingly they tend to arrive when we use the ducted aircon. So for now we will use hot water bottles and look like Eskimos and ALWAYS have a bottle of Mortein in the cupboard.

 

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RedPanda

Yea, ok, the redbacks don't 'run alive' in or near my house.

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Thank you for all the replies.... and I now have gooseflesh all the way up my back and feel like my skin is crawling.... :rolleyes:

 

@TeeTMI, nope won't be keeping a huntsman as a pet to eat other spiders... just.... no. 😉

Hubby will be instructed to bomb before I arrive.  He normally handles relocation projects on the bigger ones (I strangely don't like to kill them despite my fear... logically I understand they have an important role to play), but when it's not an option I do also insist on seeing a body in a jar in case it somehow comes back to life.... @SimpleSimon

 

Okay so now to to deal with my brain on this issue.... I will probably need to work my way up to desensitization-readiness.  But that sounds like an option.

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SimpleSimon

@MichKen now that we've cured your spider phobia, how do you feel about flying?

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SimpleSimon

@MichKen here is the chart we keep on our fridge door.

 

In our family, catching a funnel web is worth 10 points but a trap door spider is only worth 1 point. Trouble is they look very similar. We have lots of debates about over claiming the dangerosity of our catch. Eventually we have to tap the glass to get the spider to rear up to prove the point.

 

We also get 1 point for taking out a pedestrian on a Zebra crossing and 5 points if they are wearing running shoes. But that's a topic for another time.....

 

Don't sweat the spiders, we all started off more than a bit nervous of them and got over it.

I'd say the worry is more about sharks, but then they seem to have migrated to J-bay to try take out the odd (and I mean odd) Aussie surfer there.

 

IMG_3198.JPG

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Tamara HDU

OMG just looking at that picture and thinking about spiders makes me cringe.

 

I am terrified of spiders and it was a concern for me when we moved here. Originally from Cape Town so we encountered a few spiders but not the monsters that i've encountered here!

 

I have a total phobia! To be honest I have had far fewer encounters with spiders than I obsessed about but have had a couple of encounters.

 

I left the babies pram under the carport (must have been 9 years ago now) and packed it into the car for a trip to the local shopping centre. Took my grandson out and put him in the pram only to realize that the biggest ever Huntsman was on top of the pram...honestly it was massive (we joke that it was big enough to push the pram and run off with my grandson!!). Total and complete freak out but a lesson learned...don't leave anything around outside and don't leave a car window open as they will climb inside.

 

One other terrifying experience was also a Huntman (totally harmless spiders as they can't bite you!!) that came inside and perched itself on the cornice in the kitchen...me freaking out and my OH all brave and being cool with a plastic ice cream container, and stood on a chair, ready to remove it. Well, he soon discovered that Huntman spiders have a unique defence mechanism when it jumped at him, landed on his head, he screamed like a little girl and I fled in total panic!!!

 

Seriously though...far fewer spiders than I anticipated but you need to look (or get someone else to look!!) for them as you will find Redbacks and white tips under garden furniture etc. My OH sprays around the outside of the houses every few months and they stay outside, hidden and no menace to me!!

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18 hours ago, SimpleSimon said:

@MichKen now that we've cured your spider phobia, how do you feel about flying?

@SimpleSimon thankfully no issues there 😁

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14 minutes ago, Tamara HDU said:

totally harmless spiders as they can't bite you!!

@Tamara HDU? Really as in physically can't bite? Doesn't make me less scared because they have 8 legs and all those eyes and reportedly are gigantic....

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Tamara HDU
48 minutes ago, MichKen said:

@Tamara HDU? Really as in physically can't bite? Doesn't make me less scared because they have 8 legs and all those eyes and reportedly are gigantic....

I totally agree! Scare the death out of me but apparently they can't bite people and they feed on other spiders. Friends of ours leave them alone in their house and don't remove them! No way...bring on the DOOM! (Mortein here...)

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RedPanda

I'm not sure if I should tell you this or not... but huntsman can bite people: the bite of Huntsman Spiders is of low risk (non toxic) to humans. They are a non-aggressive group of spiders. However, a large individual can give a painful bite. Beware in summer when the female Huntsman Spider is guarding her egg sacs or young.

So yea, they can bite you, but they mostly won't, and if they do, it'll just hurt it won't make you sick or let your limbs drop off ;) 

Edited by RedPanda
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Tamara HDU

Thanks for the clarity...much appreciated.

When we arrived we were told they were the good guys of the local spider world! (as though that's possible!).

It's daddy long legs that can't bite...and I don't like them neither.

 

I was chatting to one of the Telstra (Telkom equivalent) tech people when he was fixing our internet  connection. Whilst he was drinking a coffee we had a chat and the issue of spiders came up...his legs were covered in blue blotches and scars where he'd been bitten from dangling his legs into the pits when working on the lines...it was gross and real scary.

Cross that off myl ist of jobs to apply for!

 

A recent episode of Survivor had Shane Warne freaking out from being exposed to spiders...I know it makes no sense but that doesn't help with my phobia.

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1 hour ago, RedPanda said:

I'm not sure if I should tell you this or not... but huntsman can bite people: the bite of Huntsman Spiders is of low risk (non toxic) to humans. They are a non-aggressive group of spiders. However, a large individual can give a painful bite. Beware in summer when the female Huntsman Spider is guarding her egg sacs or young.

So yea, they can bite you, but they mostly won't, and if they do, it'll just hurt it won't make you sick or let your limbs drop off ;) 

Even if they didn't bite, they're still ugly!

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Sjoe! Not sure now about this guy... seems intriguing but terrifying at the same time.  I have read that they are placid creatures and, like it was said earlier, much like our rain spiders will keep to themselves and get on with their spider business.... I somehow think you want them in your garden... but not in your house.. there goes my plans for a veggie patch.

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Tamara HDU
1 hour ago, MichKen said:

Sjoe! Not sure now about this guy... seems intriguing but terrifying at the same time.  I have read that they are placid creatures and, like it was said earlier, much like our rain spiders will keep to themselves and get on with their spider business.... I somehow think you want them in your garden... but not in your house.. there goes my plans for a veggie patch.

 

Exactly...and then only if you don't have to spot them anywhere in the garden.(like when you are hanging out washing or walk outside and a web connects with your head when it's dark!!!)

 

I have a couple of homes near each other....the one with the established garden (previous owner was a horticulturist) has so many more spiders than the house with the paving and the pool and less vegetation.

Does anyone know whether there are more spiders in different areas? The Adelaide hills for example, north or south? We have friends in Flagstaff and they have loads of spiders compared to Port Noarlunga. I know that different areas have different issues with ants and flies in different seasons and just wondered whether spiders were more prolific in certain suburbs?

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14 minutes ago, Tamara HDU said:

like when you are hanging out washing or walk outside and a web connects with your head when it's dark!!!)

Nooooooooo! I will have heart failure on the spot I swear it!

Paving it is! Nowhere near to a house with an established garden either....!

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SimpleSimon

Great topic anyway. Really enjoying it. Sorry!!!

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You should visit the Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens. They have an alley where you walk under a cuppola made of orb spider webs, complete with all size orb spiders. I instantly broke into a sweat, and literally stopped breathing until was on the other side of the alley. That sight cannot be unseen, believe me.

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