Hotfooted spiders

hotfoot-1One afternoon in this recent wild hot November that broke records and threatened many places with fire, I ventured out of my dim cabin to see what the sky was doing. It was dim because I was trying to keep the heat out with the curtains drawn; in any case the winds were too strong to risk an open casement window snapping and straining on its stay peg.

As soon as I reached the screen door I noticed these two spiders hanging from a join in the tin roof. Dead or alive? I couldn’t tell. It was 35ºC out there, according to the verandah thermometer, which was a lot further away from the heat of that tin than the spiders were.

I had never seen these spiders before. The extreme heat must have forced them out of the overlap, if that’s where they usually lived. They must be fried! When I went closer, they didn’t move. Quite decorative, with their pink and black colouring and curving ‘pedipalps’ (if that’s what they are).

Understandably, they seemed to be holding on with as few feet as possible. But why not simply move to the timber rafter?
hotfoot-2I walked to the other end of the verandah, on the lookout for other creatures seeking cooler relief.  Seeing none, I turned to take some more photos of my hot-footed pair. They were gone!

Clearly far more alert than they’d looked, as soon as my back was turned, they’d scarpered — hotfooted it, in fact!

11 thoughts on “Hotfooted spiders”

  1. Hi Les,
    I do think knowledge lessens fear, or at least gives understanding of the parameters in action to take as non-threatening from the spider’s point of view. Sleeping bodies on the ground aren’t at all threatening to spiders, are they? So they are not frightened of you- but you are irrelevant to them.
    Not that I’d be so comfortable with doing it.
    ‘Rabbit-proof fence’ was very moving– and shaming. Yet those girls would have had so much connection with the bush – night or day– it would have been much less scary for them than being in that institution. I find myself growing less and less timid with more association.

  2. Hi Sharyn 🙂
    Found you again ! Thank you for your comments. Well one thing often leads to another. doesn’t it? It started with your marvellous photos of spiders !! 🙂 Myself, I wonder also, when you see people in pictures (movies) in the outback or back of beyond and it’s a night scene, they flop down and go to sleep on the ground, and I think to myself DUH! Having written that – I also wonder, if you can really do that, and all manner of creatures will stay, away frightened of you ? I stayed up late and watched “Rabbit proof fence” recently, and tried with all my heart to image how 3 such very young girls travelled 1200 miles, without anything untoward happening to them. I think I’d have died of fright !! Maybe things are half as bad if you actually have any knowledge of life out in the wilderness wherever ?? Kindest regards, Les:)

  3. Hi again Les,
    That’s an interesting theory re the retreat to the edge and the critical bite. There’s probably more of everything on the better watered edges though, as able to support more. Most creatures are given an effective way of preying, but not all need to poison– I need to try and find out why some do– you have set me thinking!

  4. Hello Sharyn :-))
    I have only just managed to find you here where I was before, or I would have answered you so much sooner ! I’m sorry about that. I’m glad you could check out the sites I sent to you, gives you a good idea of what some of the spiders out there. In itself, when I saw that Museum in Brizzie, I was really intrigued to find both most of the poisonous spiders and snakes, right around Ozzie’s edges as if it were…. (I so wish I could find the name of that Museum again, because it was smashing !!) … I got the feeling that it was almost as if the creatures had *retreated* to the edge of Oz, and I wondered about it. Has Oz always had that great desert, almost from coast to coast, or was it smaller and has it expanded in the course of history. It surely has to mean, that at some point in time, there was insufficient food to be had for the creatures, so every bite had to count, and thus poison?? I can wonder all day long, but I better get off your line ;-))) Kindest regards, Les:)

  5. Hi Les,
    Thanks for your concern. I do worry , but, like the snakes, I have to accept they live here too, and are not out to get me, so I am careful not to put my hands or feet into places where spiders (or snakes) might be first! And the risks of harm, as I say in my first book, are less than in a city. Just that the harm would be from different animals.
    I grew up on a farm. and Dad killed every spider or snake we saw, so I am evolving!
    Have checked your links – thanks– and will keep as reference, but one looks too sharp and black and white and the other too hairy.
    Nice to have a visitor from Europe, Les, thanks!

  6. Very very humbly, I offer up, do you Sharyn, living on a mountain
    also need to take into account, that Oz has hundreds of extremely poisonous spiders?? I”m not an Ozzie, but a Kiwi, living in Europe. My sister used to live in Oz. To my great satisfaction, I was able to visit a Natural Museum in Brisbane, where to my (but also their!) shock and horror, we learned in one afternoon, just how many poisonous spiders and snakes Oz has! On the tiny maps, they had pencilled in all the areas, where what lived and how many. It seemed to me, that most of it was coastal, but as I said humbly!! I put this question to you. Living alone, getting bitten by one of them, would be very far from a joke. I don’t want to frighten you or anybody, this is a far-off observation, as you can tell. How would you be able to obtain correct information about this spider, a websight, a biologist??
    Kindestregards to you

  7. Well DWG – I prefer spiders to snakes!
    And Gaye, thank you for the info and the link – I will keep that one on file. My pair do look like the Huntsman at that site, but these are so slim and non-hairy and pinkish compared to the ones I had inside before (ceiling and grape bowl!)
    Must be a different stage in their lives?
    Hope your remaining Huntsman chooses a safe spot for you to find him in – safe for you, that is! Thanks for coming to the talk – glad you enjoyed it.

  8. Hello Sharyn,

    your spiders look to me to be some sort of ‘Huntsman’. I mean, they have the general right shape for Huntsman, and they cling to surfaces likewise, and they obviously disappear as swiftly as a Huntsman, and into secret little spaces like Huntsman. But maybe another reader will be able to make a more expert identification.

    I went to lock up the back door on Thursday night after getting home from your book launch at the library, and was startled by a Huntsman on the glass window panel just by the back door. I got the customary clear plastic mug and lightweight cardboard to remove the creepy crawly, but I let out involuntary girly squeals as I chased it all around the window and missed. My big brave other half came to help this poor defenseless female help this poor defenseless spider, and got the glass over the offensive creature first go, so I slid the cardboard under the glass and put him out on the back patio.

    Before I went away recently, I saw two juvenile Huntsman in the lounge room, so hopefully this is one of them that has feasted on mosquitoes or flies and grown considerably to a half-sized adult. If so, there’s still one Huntsman at large inside.

    I had a marvelous time at your book launch evening.


  9. I must say this is a Weird Couple.. I think that beautiful coloring
    must surely be deceiving. I may or may not have said in posts past that a spider is one of my least favorites!!! Great photographs of them!!!!

Comments are closed.