Australia is someplace I will probably never visit, and that goes double for Australia’s Outback. The main and personally terrifying raison d'être is the Down Under’s world renowned collection of weird, poisonous, larger than friggin’ life creepy crawlies lurking in every shrub, behind every rock, and under every toilet seat.
And a new story in Times of London isn’t helping my arachnophobia, ophidiophobia, or even my entomophobia.
Scores of eastern tarantulas, that can grow larger than the palm of a man’s hand, also known as “bird-eating spiders” or “whistling spiders” because of the noise they make when disturbed or aggravated at close range, have begun crawling out from their netherworld lairs and are now invading the coastal town of Bowen, about 700 miles northwest of Brisbane. Even long time, hard core outback residents have gotten the willies.
Earlier this week a tarantula the size of an SUV was spotted wandering towards a public garden in the center of town. Alarmed residents called in the Amalgamated Pest Control but not before using a full can of insect repellent spray to stymie the spider's approach.
According to Audy Geiszler, the hero in this tale who runs Amalgamated Pest Control, he has been inundated with calls from wigged out locals. "There have been a number of reports. It's not plague proportions but a number have been spotted around the district.”
Not plague proportions … yet!
One spider was so large that when he placed it in the palm of his hand -- dead of course -- its legs hung over his fingers. Common in eastern Australia where they usually live under logs and in naturally rocky outcrops, these giant tarantulas seem to have been pushed out from their usual habitats by the recent unseasonably heavy rains.
While not deadly like many other Australian spiders, these tarantulas are still venomous; their bite can pack quite a punch. They can grow up to, and obviously beyond, 6cm (2.4in) long with a leg span of 16cm (6.3in). By the way, despite being called “bird-eating spiders,” they do not eat birds, but can kill a dog or cat with one quick bite.