2 June 2022

Roey's rant: incy wincy spiders are everywhere

| Chris Roe
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Spiders in binoculars

Seven-year-old Bronte is no longer a fan of the Explorer Park binoculars. Photo: Chris Roe.

Seven-year-old buddies Bronte and Audrey had been having a great time playing with the fixed binoculars on the hill in Boorooma’s Explorer Park.

As kids inevitably do, they spun them around for a reverse perspective – and that’s when the screaming started.

As the shrieking pair ran off down the path, I leaned down to take a look.

Inside, clustered around the lenses was a scene from Harry Potter’s worst nightmare.

Like a tiny Forbidden Forest, at least six wolf spiders lurked in the shadows, the mummified corpses of their kin fluttering in the breeze by the opening.

Now, I’m no arachnophobe – never have been – but even I got a shiver down the spine from that one.

There are so many spiders everywhere, that I’m genuinely wondering if Boorooma translates from Wiradjuri as “place of many spiders”.

A quick check of my Wiradjuri app informed me that ‘muwin’ and ‘ganggaa’ are local names for spiders, but I remain suspicious.

A walk along my tin fence with a torch at night revealed an arachnid lurking in almost every ripple.

Spiders on a fence

Spiders have occupied every ripple of my fence. Photo: Chris Roe.

Baby spiders have ballooned across the daytime skies for weeks now, leaving long tendrils of web tangled on poles, fences and people.

The chickens love it. Our three bantams start every morning with a quick circuit of the back deck and a crunchy eight-legged breakfast.

My 84-year-old mother in law is similarly non-plussed. As a black spider descended her loungeroom wall a few weeks ago, I quietly pointed it out.

With Mr Miyagi-like reflexes, she lashed out with her hand and slapped him into oblivion.

As I gaped at Rosemary with newfound respect, she whispered, “I find you’ve just got to be quick”.

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I got the chance to apply the skills learned from my spider sensei a couple of days later.

An English labourer was loading a truck along with his French colleague when he called me over to take a look.

“Is that a dangerous one?” he asked pointing at a redback on the tray.

“Very,” I replied, and delivered a lightning-fast spider-slap that rang off the steel and would have made sensei-Rosemary proud.

The pair looked at me, mouths open, ashen-faced. It was a fabulous moment of Aussie bravado that I hoped I would not regret.

Channelling my inner Paul Hogan, I drawled “You’ve just gotta be quick,” threw them a wink and got on with my day.

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I like to think they regaled their mates with the tale later over a pint, or better yet made a TikTok.

Social media is awash with tourists telling tales of encounters with Australia’s Most Dangerous.

Video of a huntsman on the windscreen – a routine occurrence for most Aussies – can rack up views in the millions.

My brother found spiders inside his bedside drink bottle on a staggering three occasions before realising they were hiding in the tap he used to fill it up.

Fortunately, drinking spider-water through the night doesn’t seem to have harmed him and he’s yet to manifest any superpowers.

If he’d filmed his reaction and monetised his social media, he could probably retire.

So what to do about the surplus of spiders across the region at the moment?

I say embrace it.

Not literally of course, but take pride in the quintessential Aussie arachnid experience.

When you’re in the shower and find one lurking under the loofah, laugh it off.

And if you can, scare a friend, film it and become TikTok famous.

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Linda Martin-Frazer3:01 pm 03 Jun 22

Leave the poor spiders alone! 99% of them hurt no-one 99% of the time and they are a valuable member of the environment.
If you kill spiders all the time for no reason other than your own irrational fear of them and boast to others about your behaviour and make a joke about it, you are not a very nice human being. In fact a bad example to others!
It would be better to display tolerance for ALL creatures and try to understand each has a place on this planet. It starts with the unnecessary squashing of a spider that is desperately trying to hide and get away, and escalates to big game hunting killing everything that moves including elephants, and can progress to wiping out an inconvenient group of humans that stand in the way of progress like in Ukraine! Where should the line be drawn?? It all reflects an attitude and I feel sorry for the author who obviously hasn’t worked out where they fit in on this planet. Perhaps travel a bit or read a bit more??

Love it Chris! We’ve been losing the battle with our 8-legged house mates in bushy Marsfield. The birds must be too well fed here.

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