Facebook video of Huntsman spider carrying a mouse goes viral
This morning I settled down in front of my laptop to see what my editor at Scary Mommy wanted me to write about today. She wrote, “Did you see this?!” and posted a link to the following video. The answer to her question was that no, I hadn’t seen this, nor did I ever intend to. And yet here I am writing about it, because job.
So I am just about to leave for work about 0030 and me neighbour says “You want to see something cool” and I say “Hell yeah”. So we proceed to his place and he shows me this. Huntsman trying to eat a mouse. For Licensing/usage, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Jason Womal on Saturday, October 22, 2016
This video came into our collective nightmares thanks to a man named Jason Womal, who was getting ready for work when his neighbor said, “Hey. Want to see something cool?” The answer to that, by the way, is always “No. No, I do not want to see ‘something cool.’ I never, ever want to see anything ‘cool.” Because we all know that “do you want to see something cool” is never followed up by your friend pointing out a rainbow or showing you a picture of a puppy and a goat taking a nap together. It’s always something horrifying. Which is why when Jason said, “Hell, yeah,” he got what he deserved, which in this case was a huge spider carrying around a dead mouse.
In the video, one of the men asks with delight, “What’s he going to do with him?!” As if the answer might be “slumber party.” Or perhaps the spider would say through a mouthful of mouse, “Uh…he fell down. So I’m taking him to the hospital. To get checked out. By doctors. Ok bye.” Or...and I’m just guessing, here…he’s going to eat him, a process that will hopefully be slow and incomplete because the opposite would cause panic-induced vomiting.
We don’t want to fear-monger, however, so we should take some time to learn more about the Huntsman spider. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get elbow-deep into this nightmare, shall we?
What is the Huntsman spider?
Well, for starters, it’s horrible. But it’s horrible in many different ways, as I learned from my research.
Where do they live? And do I need to move?
Huntsman spiders are most common in Australia, but can also be found in Florida because of course they are, and Hawaii because America can’t have anything nice.
How did they get their name?
Huntsman spiders don’t build webs to catch their prey like your average spider. Instead, “they hunt down their prey, a habit that gives them their common name.” Yes, they chase things down. I bet they sell a lot of cleats and high-traction flooring in Australia.
How big can they get?
Pretty big! “The giant huntsman spider…is often described as being ‘the size of a dinner plate.'” Terrific. You know what else is about the size of a dinner plate? The human face.
So, they’ll be easy to spot, right?
Ha! You wish. Huntsman spiders are also nocturnal. You know that fear you have about spiders crawling into your mouth while you sleep? Child’s play.
(Things not to do in Australia: Nighttime.)
How long will it take them to kill my family?
Here’s some good news! Huntsman spiders are not poisonous and feed mostly on insects. And mice. But probably not toes.
Hm. Ok. But are they fast?
“[Entomologist Christy Bills] extolled the huntsman’s speed: ‘They can often be quite large and very quick.’ In fact, the huntsman spider can move up to a yard a second.” A yard a second. That is exactly way too fucking fast for a spider.
(Things not to do in Australia: Be a walker.)
They’re probably loners, right? Quiet, keep to themselves, never talk to the neighbors?
Not even. “These spiders can be social, and dozens will sometimes sit together on dead trees or stumps.” This is all environmentalists need to say when trying to convince people to save the trees. Maybe there are people out there who don’t care about trees, but everyone cares about dinner-sized fast-moving spiders.
(Things not to do in Australia: Outside.)
How’s their sex life?
“Compared to other spider species that eat their mates, huntsman spiders are downright romantic. According to the Australian Museum, their mating ritual can last for several hours and involves lengthy caresses and other demonstrations of interest.” I believe this is the spider equivalent of beer goggles.
Any other fun facts?
Here’s one! “Huntsman Spiders are also notorious for entering cars and being found hiding behind sun visors or running across the dashboard.”
Hahahahahahahahaha can’t. Done. Cannot. Cannot cope. How many car accidents per year are due to some huge goddamn spider falling into someone’s lap after they flip down their sun visor? I’m guessing at least 90%. If I saw a hairy spider leg hanging out of the edge of my sun visor, I would call in sick to work that day. Yup. I’d open up all the doors (because who’s going to steal that car?) and pray the thing climbs out.
(Things not to do in Australia: Cars.)
Well, I think we’ve all learned a lot about the Huntsman spider today. We’ve also learned that the best way to visit Australia is during the day, and at a run.