I am NOT a fan of spiders. I know they eat mosquitoes and other disease-carrying pests. I know they are rarely venomous. I know they rarely bother people. But I still don’t like them. It’s a gut reaction. A deep down visceral EEEEEKK! and shudder when I see one. I’d rather deal with snakes than spiders.
So imagine my reaction when THIS ran across my bedroom floor:
It came in the door, and ran across the floor. At first I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – spiders don’t COME in that size, do they? But yes, Philippine spiders do! It was a good 4-5 inches across. I jumped up from where I was sitting, and um, made rather fearful-sounding noises. (*blush*) Then I retreated to the other corner of the room and put my shoes on! Then I realized that was rather silly, because my shoes here are sandals, and the spider was wider than my foot. Even if I stepped on it, it could – gasp – reach around my sole and still get me!
We were by ourselves, without access to our hosts, with no way of determining if it were venomous or otherwise dangerous to humans, and at the speed it could run there was no safe way to shoo it back out the door, so I asked my husband to kill it. By this time it was in the bathroom. The picture is poor quality because while I wanted proof it was as big as I remembered, I also didn’t want to get any closer than I had to! A picture from 6 feet away using the zoom feature isn’t very artistic. Then I retreated back to the other corner of the room and let him deal with it.
He threw a shoe at it. It zipped out of the way. He threw the other shoe at it, and it JUMPED out of the way, apparantly jumping a good 3 feet off the ground in the blink of an eye. He was eventually able to hit it with a pole we have in the room to secure the door with, it was metallic and the spider didn’t seem to see it coming.
Judging by the photos, the spider was indeed between 4 and 5 inches across. It is also called a Huntsman Spider, common in the Philippines, and not venomous. They come in sizes of 4-8 inches across (females are larger than males). And they eat mosquitos, cockroaches, and other pests. And sometimes small lizards. (Yeah, they’re that big.) Their name comes from the rapid speed they can move and jump. (NO KIDDING!)
After that encounter, I don’t yelp at the sight of the tiny little spiders anymore. Maybe I’m cured…
In case you want to learn more, here is a good article about the Huntsman Spider, with some really good photos: http://www.mdavid.com.au/spiders/huntsmanspiders.shtml. The Wikipedia article on them is pretty good, too.