Some say you swallow at least eight spiders while sleeping, open-mouthed, during your lifetime.
While the popular myth is the stuff of nightmares for arachnophobes, rest easy for this little kid whose mouth is too tiny to make room for the gigantic Huntsman spider which crawled onto their pillow one night.
The eight-eyed, eight-legged creatures are common in Australia, where a bemused and alarmingly chilled out dad spotted the Huntsman nestled next to his son’s pillow.
Upon spotting the spider, Scotty Allen snapped a couple of photos – to prove it happened, presumably, and perhaps use the pictures as parenting leverage at a later date – and posted them to Facebook.
Although the scene might look scary, and most parents would be ready with a giant swatting device, Allen said he wasn’t too perturbed by the spider and its proximity to his tiny child in their Perth family home.
But Allen was able to rationalise his relaxed response with some arachnid knowledge – and experts agree with him too, apparently.
Writing in the Perth – Have A Whinge Facebook group, Allen said:
No need to worry about nasty bugs bothering my kids with this big girl watching over them.
He included the heart-eye emoji, too, for reasons I’m glad I’ll never have to understand, as I continue to stay the hell away from Australia and its wildlife from now on.
Plenty of commentators replied saying they didn’t mind Huntsman spiders, particularly, they just wouldn’t like to see them so close to home.
Like, inside it, next to your sleeping child.
But, experts say, scary as they might look, Huntsman spiders aren’t actually a threat to us humans, even though some species can grow very large.
For example, in Laos, male giant huntsman spiders have been known to have a leg span of 25–30 centimetres – which is basically the size of your school ruler… and that’s just one leg.
They get their hideous name because of their speed and mode of hunting, which involves venomous bites to immobilise prey, rather than catching flying critters in webs.
They mainly eat, as Allen pointed out, insects and other invertebrates, and occasionally small skinks and geckos… In other words, not small children.
But, that’s not to say you should all start searching out a Huntsman to be your new best mate.
They’ve been known to inflict serious defensive bites on bigger animals and humans when they themselves feel threatened.
For example, females will aggressively defend their eggs should they need to – so maybe steer clear of any nests you come across.
The bites can be pretty nasty, with varying side effects including swelling, pain, nausea, headaches, vomiting, irregular pulse rate, and heart palpitations, especially when the bites were severe or repeated.
However, it’s worth noting bites from Huntsman spiders usually do not require hospital treatment. Still, neither do all snake bites but you won’t catch me turning snake charmer anytime soon.
Happy hunting folks, and sweet dreams to all our friends over in deepest Western Australia. We’ll keep you in our thoughts.
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A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.