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Exciting classroom visitor
May 20th, 2008

Today my classroom received an interesting visitor. A huntsman spider wandered into the classroom from the garden outside. Huntsman spiders visit quite regularly. Some of them happily live in the eaves while others inhabit the spaces behind the loose bark on the eucalyptus trees.

I think this huntsman is a Delena cancerides of the family Sparassidae. I have also seen the family referred to as Heteropodidae. There seems to be a conflict among the taxonomists.


Huntsman spiders at the Australian Museum
Wikipedia entry: Huntsman spiders

Huntsman spiders at home: Outside | Inside |

7 Responses to “Exciting classroom visitor”

  1. Pat Says:

    I’m so glad this chose to visit you and not me! I would not welcome this thing but I am not fond of big spiders. In fact I’m not fond of any spider! I now feel creepy. ewww. (I know this doesn’t sound very professional of me as a teacher, but I’m sorry.)Thanks for sharing the pictures though.

  2. John Larkin Says:

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks for the comment. They are a reasonably big spider and when annoyed thet can move quickly. They will usually just sit there quietly and wait for something to happen by.

    Some students are not worried and will even pick them up by the tip of one leg and drop them outside. It is weird the first time you touch them, either willingly or unwittingly, as they feel quite hard, like a crab, and not soft and squishy. Some students do not like them at all. I am not a big fan either. They are quite common. ‘Creepie crawlies’ are a way of life here.

    Cheers, John.

  3. Sarah Stewart Says:

    I HATE spiders and am so glad we don’t have big ones like that in New Zealand. If that was me, I’d be out the classroom as quick as a flash – and I wouldn’t be worrying about the kids. It would be each man for himself/herself!

  4. John Larkin Says:

    Sarah, thank you for your input there. This chap is quite harmless in a way in that his bite is not fatal and in fact the chance of getting bitten is almost zero. They are more scared of us. I usually try to coax them back out the window or door with a broom or similar. I promise not to export any to New Zealand. You have enough problems with our pesky possum invaders!
    Cheers, John.

  5. Ken Allan Says:

    Kia Ora John.

    What a beauty of a visitor. Though I’m not really a fanatic where spiders are concerened I do take an interest. Let’s face it, I have to for my wife adores spiders though our children both hate them.

    Yes (@Sarah) we do have huntsman in New Zealand and the ones we see can be easily 5 or 6 cm across. They like to hide in my gardening shoes that usually sit in a dry spot on the covered patio. So much so that I deliberately give each a thump now before I put them on – a practice I learnt when I lived in Malawi as a child. We had a few greeblies there including 20 cm long centipedes. Not so friendly huh?

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

  6. John Larkin Says:

    Thanks Ken, Yes living in a semi-Chinese household most of our shoes are outside the front door and I always give mine a bit of a flick and a thump just to check. Malawi! That is intriguing. Is Lake Nyasa an extension of the Great Rift Valley?
    Cheers, John.

  7. Ken Allan Says:

    @John – Lake Nyasa is a huge lake. I am not a geographer. I wouldn’t know the Great Rift Valley from the statue of Venus. One thing I do know is that Lake Nyasa was huge enough to have tides, and surf that would match many sea beaches.

    I was between 7 and 10 years old when I was in Nyasaland. I spoke Nyanja fluently. All I can remember now are a few words. Inde, meaning yes, Eei, meaning no. Basi, meaning enough or finish, and chimanga, meaning dried maize. It is significant that my memory is vivid with the lay of the country, for I can recognise a photo of Dedza Protectorate alongside a thousand photos of other lands.

    Ka kite