Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by mstang67chic, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Inquiring minds want to this a common Australian occurrence?
  3. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Good to know it wouldn't "eat the whole bird"....... just the important needed parts I guess.......
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest


    NOW do you see why I'm so afraid of spiders? Did you see the size of that thing???? OMG!

    I'm going to have nightmares.
  5. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I'm officially freaked out now!
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Yep. It's definitely a golden orb weaver (the spider, I mean). They're harmless. Comparatively. Obviously not to birds, although I haven't had any chooks go missing lately...

    I do admit, I don't like walking into an orb weaver web, they are very strong. Pretty, though - they're called golden orb weavers because in the sun the web shines like it's been spun from gold thread.

    Our orb weavers are never bigger than the palm of your hand. That's the female - the males are the size of your fingernail. Last autumn we had a large web right over our back door area, right where it caught the sun. We watched that female work her way through a number of males over several weeks, then one day she was gone. Well, she WOULD have been highly visible and perhaps our birds are made of sterner stuff than the fluffy little thing from Cairns.

    Until a few weeks ago, when I noticed some spider egg cases on a home-made windmill I had put near my massive tomato plant near the back door. These hatched out and they were thousands of tiny orb weavers. mother in law hates spiders, wanted me to spray them. But spiders are arachnids, they have book lungs as well as the usual spiracle breathing system of insects. So insect spray generally won't kill spiders, it just makes them cranky. I prefer spiders to be content and calm, thank you. The only way to use a can of insect spray to kill a spider, is to hit them with it.

    If you see a golden orb weaver spider, you can recognise her by the black legs banded with gold, and the long, round abdomen. They're not sneaky spiders, unlike the funnelweb. The Sydney funnelweb is also very aggressive, they really do freak me out.

    The orb weavers DO grow a lot bigger in the tropics. ALL spiders do grow bigger in the tropics. husband's uncle served in New Guinea on Kokoda in WWII. He tells stories of how you'd see a palm tree with two shadows... then one shadow would get up and walk away. I've never been quite sure just how much exaggeration there was, seeing the photo from Cairns (I have to send him that link!) makes me a bit anxious.

    One thing for you to consider - that Cairns newspaper felt the photo was worthy of comment. So you can relax - this is NOT a normal occurrence.

    I'm not sure I can look at an orb weaver the same way again...

    We have hundreds in our yard, every autumn especially. Even in spring there are always 20 or 30. Bbut at least you can see them and I've never known anyone to be bitten by them.

    I remember last winter, difficult child 3 watched the one by our back door "we called her Charlotte) eating a cockroach. Some of you may remember I mentioned it in the good morning thread once...

    I'm off outside to check the garden. I think I'll carry a big stick (usually reserved for autumn). You just wave it up and down in front of you as you walk.


    PS - I just checked. the bird in question is very small, average weight is 14 g. Our budgie weighs over 40 g, so the bird being eaten is a quarter the size of Buddy, our (still not full-grown) budgie. difficult child 3 reckons that if Buddy flew into one of those webs he would just tear straight through it, leaving a gaping hole behind.
    Let's hope he never gets the chance, eh?
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  7. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I saw the link a couple of hours ago and I'm STILL shuddering!!!

    You know....this has seriously downgraded my urge to go to Australia at some point. O. M. G. I'm sorry but spiders should be small enough to be squished with a napkin. NOT so big you need to beat them with something!!!!! Yes the webs sound very pretty. The actual spiders? Not so much.
  8. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    Marg told me to be sure to check this one out...

    Just remember people, the orb weaver is NOT consdiered one of our dangerous spiders. Yes it is big (and by the looks of this gets bloody huge in the Cairns area) but not dangerous. We got plenty of more dangerous (if not as large) spiders here.

    by the way we also have the world's largest ants check out: and,

    I've been bitten by these blokes - through my canvas shoe.
    The CSIRO article says the y can be aggressive, that ain't the half of it.

    Marg's Man
  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I can promise you that I wouldn't be around it long enough to identify it as a golden orb. It has 8 legs, that's all I need to know before I hurt myself trying to get the heck away from it.

    We got HUGE spiders in upstate NY where we lived. I mean, HUGE. The one and only time my brother visited us there, he was helping step-dad stack wood and this spider even freaked him out. He said it was the size of a small mouse. He had to hit it with a log 3 times before he killed it. :faint:

    I'm so glad I wasn't home.

    That spider in the picture looked much bigger than the size of a hand. More like the size of someone's head. ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew

    Now that I feel things crawling all over me.....
  10. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Ant's that JUMP???? Oh HE** no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jumping, stinging/biting ants and spiders the size of someone's head. Gawd....I won't sleep a wink tonight. I know I started this whole thing but Marg and Marg's Man....thanks a lot! LOL
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Just to reassure you - people get stung by bees and wasps because they fly. Ants don't, as a rule. When the queens fly, their main interest is in finding a nesting site, so they're not going to attack. They only attack to defend themselves or defend their nest. OK, they get really aggressive then, but if you know the signs you will know to avoid the nests. And unlike ants in other parts of the world, these ones bite individually, not altogether in one group, the entire nest attacking and biting in some pheromonal communication to assault the person disturbing their nest.

    A bull-ant nest (aka "bull-joes") is a rounded dome-shape, the dome not really obvious but if you notice a granular look to the ground and THEN notice there's a gentle dome under you - get off it FAST!

    With pesticides so commonly used, you don't get these nests anywhere near as commonly as we did when we were kids. Have you noticed, husband? We had one in the paddock next door where we kept our sheep, but eventually we sprayed it to wipe out the nest. They're such big nests they're sitting ducks. So now you'd only find them in national parks, or on very isolated farms where the farmer personally isn't bothered by the ants. The animals would learn to avoid the nest areas.

    Biting through a sock is no big deal - it's the funnelweb spider biting through a leather gauntlet that always worries me, especially during mating season when the males go nomadic.

    The Cairns spider - seriously, she would have been maybe hand-sized (I include the fingers here). Mind you, I have small hands. Ours are about palm-sized (minus the fingers). difficult child 3 got interested in this thread also, he said he hates walking into orb-weaver webs because they're so sticky and he can never get it out of his hair. I hate it because I can never be sure I haven't also got a spider up there somewhere...

    We've got to print that photo and stick it up in the "reading room" (aka behind the toilet door).

    We Do get hand-sized spiders down this far south - they are the huntsman spider, a bloody great hairy brown thing that can terrify you at the sight but are also harmless. So I'm told - I won't touch them. We had one on the bedroom ceiling last week, I HAD to evict it to get it outside or I would never have been able to go to sleep. Then after I finally got it outside (it was a bit the worse for wear by then; so was I) I had to wait until my pulse went back to normal before I tried to go to sleep.

    It was a big male, the weather outside was cold and windy, so I suspect it was sheltering plus looking for a mate. I don't think much of its chances by now - he'll get eaten by the first female he meets, after what I did to him!

    Got to do - time to head into the city for difficult child 3's research study. husband, see you at 5 pm.

  12. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Marg's man...I won't even look at the links.:faint:

    I have a 1" by 3/4" scar on my right arm from a Black Widow bite many eons ago. Even the small ones can be scary. I guess it didn't help that my parents didn't take me to the doctor for a few weeks. They finally broke down when I had red lines going up through my shoulder. Ugh. I guess the scar is a daily reminder that size doesn't matter.

    (Abbey slinking off to corner...)

  13. Star*

    Star* call 911

    (star making shadow spiders on the wall with her hands from the corner)

    Okay -

    I LOVE spiders - we pick them up in the house and gently put them outside bidding them a safe journey. Oddly enough - we are not plagued with spiders and only a few straglers wander in and are ushered out.

    I have a beautiful house spider that is and has been for 2 weeks outside of my back French doors. She spun her web, and has given me loads of interesting pictures. My favorite to watch are the St. Andrews Cross spiders or more commonly called Writing Spiders, or garden spiders. They are big, black and yellow with white dots on them.

    I love to photograph them and have also sprayed webs with mists of water in order to calm the spider and get a good shot of her and the web. We did have black widows in and under our petrified rocks, but you can tell when they are around - nothing else is. They used to make gun sites from their webs.

    I think it would be fascinating to see an actual Golden Orb spider. Don't you have something called a mouse killer or something? Lots of poisonous stuff in the outback huh?

    Thanks for the information about the lungs of a spider - all the years I studied bugs and arachnids I never knew that -but I can tell you my Mother is CERTAIN hair spray will kill anything! :alien:
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    difficult child 1 reminded me today - fly spray will kill spiders really effectively if you light it as you spray. Blow torch effect. Works a treat, he says. I think hair spray would be just as good.

    We have St Andrews Cross spiders too, but I think they are a relative of your ones.

    Mouse spiders - I think yes, they can eat mice but they're called that because they are about as big as mice, from memory. And there is a spider called a Bird-Eating Spider, again up north and in New Guinea. Thankfully, not here.

    Golden Orb weavers - here is a link. There are no birds in it.

    But if you're not a spider lover, leave it. It isn't sensationalist but it IS detailed.

  15. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. After all the work we have done on the house I am so done with encountering spiders. Ick, Ugh, shudder.