Having grown up on a farm, I like to think I was raised to live harmoniously with all kinds of creatures but I have never quite been able to overcome my fear of anything with more than four legs. We're pretty lucky in this country that we have very few venomous creatures - and two of our three dangerous spiders hitched a ride over here from our sharing, caring neighbour, Australia. We have the native katipo, redback and the whitetail spiders, which are all relatively small spiders on the size scale of scariness. So, my rationale is that because they have no other effective means of protection to repel predators, some of our native creepy crawlies are so ugly and grow to insane sizes just to freak us all out instead. Huhu beetles? Wetas? I wet my pants - I mean, I rest my case. Imagine how I'd go in Australia with all its poisonous snakes and spiders and Tony Abbott.
Then I read this week about the discovery of a tunnel web spider that was reportedly as large as a man's hand. I initially dismissed it as being just one more valid reason to avoid the Wairarapa (jokes, I love the 'Rapa), when I read further that this spider lives happily in the ground NATIONWIDE.
They say it is harmless, but I'd quietly disagree. Look at the size of it, that thing'll gnaw your face off. It's very weird though, even though I feel so repulsed by these kinds of creatures, they also intrigue me. In the interests of research, I googled this spider and learned that it is related to tarantulas and the deadly Australian funnel-web spider, so it's got some fairly decent genes.
I felt certain that I would have nightmares about one of those things finding its way into my bedroom as I have this recurring nightmare where a spider is slowly lowering itself from the ceiling on its thread and I wake up just before it drops onto my face and I do this awesome spider-evading ninja move with my whole entire body that wakes my husband up. It feels so real to me that I have to get him to turn on the light to check if there is something on the bed. I am officially a nut-case.
I haven't had a nightmare this week, but reading the article transported me back to the time when a little friend came to visit and decided to play hide and seek in my bra while I was in the shower. Funny game, weta. So funny.
When I felt it against my skin, that bra came undone quicker than a politician's promise. This all happened four years ago. I'm not traumatized by the experience at all.
I took some photos to prove to my husband that I was actually attacked by a weta the size of one of Saturn's moons and had to wrestle it to the ground before I: A) dealt to it with one of his shoes and staked it to my front door as a warning to all its spiky-legged relatives or B) calmly released it back into the bush depending on whether or not you are a Department of Conservation employee. Or you are this guy:
Have yourselves a happy spider-less and weird bugs-as-accessories people-free weekend, Moonies.