Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Huntsman Spider - A Closer Look

Back on 28 November last year I blogged about a huntsman spider I found on a wall downstairs. Well, last weekend I found a dead huntsman spider. Like most dead spiders all its legs were curled up and it looked fairly small. I was about to pick it up and throw it in the bin when I became curious and decided to have a closer look.

I carefully teased its legs out to see what size it was when it was alive. It must have only recently died as the body and legs were still soft and pliable. Looking at it closely I found that it had a certain menacing beauty.

This one had a 10 cm (4 inch) legspan

So I had to take the spider to show my wife and the girls. I resisted the urge to scare them, tempting as that was, but instead used the opportunity to educate them. After I assured them it was dead they trusted me enough to come and have a closer look.

It has a lovely pattern on its legs

My wife is scared of spiders but did comment that it was pretty when you looked at it is closely. Maddie at age 6 is also fearful of spiders but was curious enough to spend a lot of time peering at it. Georgia at age 2 wasn't scared of the spider at all but we explained to her that she shouldn't normally touch spiders but it was OK Daddy was holding it as it was dead. "Dead? Dead?" Georgia kept repeating as she pointed to the spider in my hand.

I had to show the girls...

I want to instill a healthy respect for spiders in the girls without making them hysterical with fear when they see one. They already know I don't believe in killing spiders and that I will normally catch any in the house and let them go again outside. The only spiders I'll consider killing are the poisonous redback spiders and only then if they are in a place where the kids may play (and even then I feel bad).

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