The Huntsman On Watch – JK.Leahy© Pictures and Story
Early this evening about 5pm, I was putting away the chickens when I saw a white fluff rolling across the black plastic on the chicken pen at Bellbowrie, Queensland. I had covered the chicken pen with a thick plastic to protect them from the storm. The fluff strangely did not drop to the ground, but instead, it stayed on the plastic.
As I got closer, I’m not sure who was more surprised, me or it – the fluff ball. It was a Huntsman spider, the largest one I had ever seen. It sat firmly at the front, guarding the chicken pen like a watchman. It made a short quick move into position. Its eyes were shiny and I felt, it was watching my every move.
I tried to drop a gum leap on it from the back, to scare it away. Who was afraid of a gum leaf? Not a Huntsman.
“With this incredible light, if you ain’t moving, I will shoot you”, I told it. I ran upstairs and grabbed my camera. When I returned, it was in the exact spot, next to the gum leaf. I dared not use a micro lens, things were hairy enough as it was. Besides, I had no intention of being up close or accidentally dropping my camera – in the event Mr Huntsman came for me.
I pushed the house key next to the Huntsman cautiously with the yard rake, as spiders are known for their unpredictable moves.
“By the way – I am not giving you my house key”, I said.
It still did not move, but this gave me a good scale for my shot. I had no intention of killing it, I just wanted to put away the chickens and I did not want the chickens to eat the spider. So, after a few shots, I decided to do other things.
Half hour later, I returned and the wind had blown off the gum leaf. The spider was still in the same spot, so I gave the black plastic cover a jerk. And, as quick as the Huntsman appeared, it vanished.
Australian Huntsman spiders belong to the Family Sparassidae (formerly Heteropodidae) and are famed as being the hairy so-called ‘tarantulas’ on house walls that terrify people by scuttling out from behind curtains. – See more at: Australian Museum