Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Australian Spiders

Probably the best artistic photo Collin has taken all year with our 'not-so artistic' digital camera.  He finally figured out how to focus on close ups and use the macro setting properly.  The above photo was taken in October at the Wildflowers Picnic Area near Harvey.  The red spider, not sure of it's actual name, was the focus of the photo, but Jackson in the background admiring it, makes it a truly great photograph.
White Tail Spider's bite will put you in the hospital and give you infected sores around the poisonous bite area.  This is the only one we have seen in the past year.  It was resting on our couch before Becky knocked it off to the floor and sprayed an entire bottle of insecticide on it!  Collin finished it off with his shoe.  Above right is an Internet photo for you to see.  (Check out google images for infected White Tail bites - Nasty!)

Golden Orb spider is not poisonous and this one was kind of our pet.  'Charlotte' made her home in the front shrubs and took care of the flies and bees for us from February to July.  When she was about to lay eggs her lower abdomen would expand to near golf ball size.  Beautiful golden coloured webbing for her humongous web.
Red Back Spiders are the most common of the poisonous spiders found in Southwestern Australia.  This one was found in a cardboard box in our patio area in March.  Their bite will also cost you a doctor's visit as their poison will make you very ill.  We have seen them in the garden, near a geocache hidden amongst the bricks, and on the ground hiding under leaf litter.
Huntsman Spiders are not harmful to humans, but they look big and dangerous. Collin spotted this one while cooking breakfast during our first camping trip to Wellington National Park in January.  It was testing out the hot plate. He kept on touching the BBQ hot plate and drawing back his limbs. It must of smelt the food, but the temperature was too much of a risk. It was a big one - larger than Collin's hand!
We have seen Wolf Spiders as well - occasionally in our house, school (classroom and humanities office), public toilets, and a few other places.  Wolf Spiders look like Huntsman, but smaller and super-duper fast. 

Probably the best story about spiders is one about Caleb during the first week of school.  At dismissal Caleb would be running home as fast as his wee legs could take him.  We asked why and it was so he could to go pee.  The reason being... earlier we told him to be cautious of unknown things in Australia, such as spiders.  And when he went to use the school's toilets, he saw a Daddy Long Legs staring at him.  In Caleb's eyes, it was ready to pounce and it scared him enough to hold it in all day!  Thankfully, he confronted his fears and can now use the school's toilets once again.

Bull Ants are crazy big - the size of a wasp and are even distantly related to wasps.  Luckily they are lone wolfs as their bite packs a powerful punch.  They use the front pinchers to grabbed their prey, then rear up and sting you with their tails.  The stinger doesn't come out, so repeated bites are common.  The below left is the first Bull Ant we saw back in March in Margaret River.  We have seen them many times since and found them all over the state.  The other picture is a close-up from the internet.


We have not seen any St Andrews Cross Spiders or Jumping Spiders - not sure if there are native to WA?  Or the deadliest spider in the world, the Funnel Web Spider; found only in about a 100 km radius around Sydney.  Ooh, the adventures we have had in Australia!

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