Putrid stench and enough dirt to start a veggie patch…that’s what you expect in your scout’s pack when they return from camp. Of course, you hope ALL their gear’s returned but are philosophical. It usually only takes a trip to the Scout Hall to find the rest.
However, I am fast becoming prepared for the unexpected.
That is, if you can ever be prepared for a deadly Funnel Web Spider catapulting out of a backpack and into your path.
Well, that’s only a possibility. However, after getting Mister home safe and sound, we received an official Funnel Web Spider warning from Assistant District Commissioner. It seems that the deadly venomous spider has been making its own exodus out of the camp grounds in search of electricity and a comfy bed. Uninvited guests, they’ve been found by two hapless local families while unpacking their scout’s bags.
This is FACT and not the usual Australian hyperbole about our dangerous and deadly wildlife. Well, we’re not exactly exaggerating ALL of their deadly powers but you could say that myth and fact can become a little blurred.
While it seems most other families had well and truly unpacked by the time the warning was issued, of course, we were trailing far behind. After 12 days away, Mister had a lot of catching up to do… with us, the dogs, checking out his new room and making that all important phone call to his little sister and grandparents. So, somehow, the bag was still lying on the floor like a corpse this afternoon.
After I mentioned the Funnel Web warning, the bag was promptly moved out of the Scout’s bedroom and dumped beside my feet in the lounge room. Goodness knows why! I hardly look like “Spider Mum”, do I?!!
Moreover, when I last checked my list of responsibilities as “Scout Mum” there was absolutely NO MENTION of removing venomous Funnel Web spiders from backpacks or even checking the aforementioned backpack for them either.
That’s what Scouts are for. The only trouble is that a bite to a child is much more dangerous than an adult and you could say that I might have a bit more “added protection” as well.
I’m not scared of spiders but the Sydney Funnel Web isn’t any ordinary spider either. Even the Encyclopaedia Britannica rates the Funnel Web as the deadliest spider in the world. I’ve never seen one outside a sealed specimen jar and I can’t say I’m disappointed either.
So, while the scout is supposed to pack and unpack their bag, I did offer assistance.Not that I expected us to find a Funnel Web. However, a Funnel Web warning is not something to ignore either, especially when No. 1 son has already told me that it’s currently mating season and the males are out searching for true love. Indeed, one of his leaders found two funnel webs before they left. Mister also told me that a scout had been bitten at camp (unconfirmed) and they even had anti-venom on site. So, that along with the two spiders found in packs, advises caution.
All this aside, I don’t know how I became the spider expert.
You probably haven’t heard about the nervous breakdown I had when a bird flew inside the house and became wedged between the window and a shelf. It’s constant flapping totally freaked me out!!! I had to get the neighbour to help. I was an absolute mess!! Mummy and the Bird
Spiders don’t have wings but they do scuttle and those Funnel Webs Spiders are so big and ugly, they look scary. After all, it’s not like they camouflage themselves as fairies to deceive you!
Yet, after our snake encounter at Byron Bay, I’m now an old hand dealing with deadly wildlife: Snake Bait
My modus operandi is to tip everything out of the bag onto the back deck and make enough noise to scare it off. I don’t know whether spiders have ears or can even hear at all. But, if I was a funnel web, I’d runaway. However, I’m not sure what I’m going to do if I do end up with a Funnel Web at large in the backyard, especially with the kids and two dogs to consider. I really should have a glass ready so I can do a textbook capture if required. However, the concept of getting that close to a Funnel Web is more than I can come to grips with, even though the folk at The Australian Reptile Park would ultimately take it off my hands. They milk spiders to produce anti-venom. So, you could say that catching this spider would be a good thing, although couldn’t someone else be the hero?
Mister empties out his pack.
I hold my breath. Seriously hold my breath. I have absolutely no idea how the contents of this pack are going to fall.
To be or not be?
Will a funnel web spider
be staring up at me?
Apparently not. Seems they weren’t too keen on his stinky socks either!
We just threw the lot in the washing machine and pressed the magic button. Pretty soon all that stench will emerge as celestial threads!
Meanwhile, our son is adjusting to being home. No longer having to dodge Funnel Webs, he’s found it “weird” having electricity again and somewhere comfortable to sleep. Of course, that hasn’t stopped him from lying in bed playing on his iPad.
Happy at camp, happy at home.
So much to be thankful for!