'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Friday, 27 August 2010

White-tailed Spider

Now don't get me wrong. I've nothing against Australians in general terms. Except maybe the accent. But I DO NOT LIKE this relatively new Australian that has made its home in New Zealand. Its prey is the little grey house-spiders, and it eats at night, so it's often hiding under the window-sills during the day ... or, having come in the windows to stalk your spiders inside, it has found that pile of clothes on the floor to nap in during the day.

And white-tailed spiders can bite.  Hard.  It REALLY, REALLY hurts.  Imagine the worst wasp-sting conceivable and multiply it to the point where all you can do is sit in the garden, squashing the annuals you've just planted, and rock, moaning, holding onto a place with two minute fang-holes, with tears rolling down your face for ten minutes.  That's what it can be like.*  
The good news is that after about the ten minutes of agony, the pain fades and within another 30 seconds you are up on your feet, feeling slightly foolish, hoping the neighbours didn't hear the moans and trying to resurrect the plants you sat on.

This big one has just been dispatched after giving me a big fright as it strolled across my keyboard just now.  Waaaooh!

There have been anecdotal reports of some people needing to be hospitalised after developing necrotic ulcers, but these are unconfirmed. 


  1. My kids think every spider is a whitetail, but better safe than sorry, I guess!

  2. What I can't understand is how a nasty Australian spider earns enough money to buy an expensive Canon camera. Also what is he photographing anyway? The sweet and innocent NZ grey spiders before they meet their ecologically unnatural doom?
    VERIFICATION WORD - "Facurism" = the transposing of species into habitats where historically they do not belong.

  3. Adding a little balance to my post: http://natureitems.blogspot.com/2007/01/18-white-tailed-spiders-lampona-species.html

  4. Yuck! Spiders! Their webs make great pictures, especially when backlit by the morning sun and still dripping with dew. But I don't like to encounter them in my house...or wood pile. Here, the brown recluse is the one I fear the most. I suspect you'd like it even less. Take a look if you like.


    Sometimes the flesh rots out like with a rattlesnake bite. Seldom fatal, but healing can be a real problem.

  5. I don't in general mind spiders, but that is probably because we have only one rare and shy indigenous poisonous species; the katipo. I can quite understand people from other countries having a sensible fear though.

    The brown recluse suffers from the same bad press as the white-tail - it is not at all clear that necrosis is venom-related. There's strong evidence that it is a bacterial infection at the bite site.

    My main beef is the pain!


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