Unwelcome mouse spider in kitchen
IT’S enough to give anyone nightmares.
Last week, a Lanitza couple came a little too close for comfort to a rare but potentially deadly mouse spider in their home.
Patricia O’Meara was walking barefoot into her kitchen about 10pm last Wednesday when a movement in her peripheral vision made her stop.
“I looked down, I had my foot up in the air, and I saw the spider,” she said.
“I didn’t like the look of it at all – it was really thick with really big nippers.”
Ms O’Meara said she sang out to her partner, Colin Gifford, to come quickly.
“He picked it up with a dustpan and it reared up,” she said.
Ms O’Meara said she and her partner then examined the 2cm-long black spider through a magnifying glass. “It definitely had poison droplets hanging off its fangs,” she said.
Mr Gifford has lived on the Qwyarigo Road property for 25 years and said he had ‘never’ seen a spider like it.
Unsure what to do with their disturbing find, the couple brought the spider into the Daily Examiner office, where it was identified as a mouse spider.
According to information on the Australian Museum website, some mouse spiders have a very toxic venom, which is ‘potentially as dangerous as that of the Sydney funnel-web spider’.
Ms O’Meara said she had been wearing socks inside her house ever since the sighting. “I’m a bit paranoid at the moment,” she said.
FACTS: THE MOUSE SPIDER
Identifying features: bulbous head and jaws; shiny carapace (upper body); eyes spread across front of carapace; short spinnerets (silk spinning organ).
Often mistaken for funnel-web spider.
Found over much of Australia, in habitats ranging from open forest to semi-arid shrubland.
Most males wander by night in search of females during their mating season – late summer to early winter.
Some have a very toxic venom.
Few cases of serious bites have been reported.
Funnel-web spider antivenom has proven effective in cases of mouse spider bite.
Source: Australian Museum website.