Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Spider

I found this little beauty with a brood of youngsters (several hundred) in the shed this morning. The off-white bits of fluff around it are it's egg sacks. I should have photographed it with a coin to show the size, it was about the size of an Australian 5 cent bit.

For the uniformed (or the un-Australian) it is a redback spider, probably the most venomous spider we have in WA and one of the most venomous in the world.

In its nest I also found the mummified remains of a 7 or 8 cm long 4 toed skink - left overs of a rather hearty spider meal!

We seem to have a lot of spiders around here - wolf spiders and daddy long legs are the most common. After nearly 16 years together Alyssa is finally giving up on getting me to kill or remove these little lovelies. They are great natural insecticides and help keep the mossies under control in summer.

My general rule with the redback is, if they are not around where the kids play then they get to live. Otherwise they are just too dangerous - a small one can easily kill a child of Ashleigh's age with one bite. One this size could probably even make an adult critically ill. Unfortunately I had to dispatch this one and it's babies to spiders heaven. Not worth the risk to the kids or the dog.

Anyway, from the Rigg family (and their spiders), Merry Christmas!

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