When I was a child my mother grew blue roses, Blue Moon roses. They flourished in a bed alongside the back of the house, next to the garden gate. I never went through that gate. I couldn’t. I was too scared. The gate was guarded day and night by terrifying creatures with fat hairy legs, who’d grin down at me in their evil way. Nothing could persuade me to go anywhere near that gate covered with huntsman spiders.

I am told that huntsmen spiders are harmless, and my fear of them is irrational. I disagree.

“Mum, I want to tell you something,” says my daughter Imogen, in a low measured voice, from the back of the van.  “Don’t panic. Stay calm.” A feeling of alarm is already spreading through me. “There’s a big huntsman spider climbing over the back of your seat.”

Don’t panic? Stay calm? I have to get out of the van. Quickly. I can't drive along with a spider on the loose. I scan the road ahead for a suitable place to stop. Huge hairy legs are creeping over my shoulder and down my neck, I'm sure. I shiver.

“Can you still see the spider?”

“No, it’s disappeared.” 

Disappeared? I gulp. Is it creeping along my arm? Has it dropped to the floor? Is it scurrying over my shoe? I shake my foot just in case. My heart is racing. I pull over to the side of the road and stop. I open the van door and spring out.

“Where is it? Did you see where it went?” The kids tumble out of the van and I search the vehicle thoroughly, but the spider is hiding. It can't be found. 

We can’t stay on the side of the road forever, so we pile back into the van and I drive as fast as I dare, to the supermarket. Minutes later, I emerge from the shop with a can of insect and spider spray. Everyone stands well back as I fumigate the van.

“Is that spray safe, Mum? Is it okay if we breathe it in?”

Is the spray safe? Can we breathe it in? Who knows? Who cares? Surely the spray is much safer than a huntsman spider on the loose...

A large spider dropped down from a motorist's sun visor and caused an accident in which another driver was seriously injured.

A spider allegedly was the cause of a minor-injury traffic accident that occurred just before 10 a.m.

Driver blames spider inside car for crash.

Spider blamed for triple flip car crash.

Huntsmen spiders are harmless? My fear of them is irrational? I don't think so. Look at the damage one spider can do.

It's just as well I stayed well away from those hairy-legged creatures, who guarded the gate next to my mother's Blue Moon roses. What if I hadn't been so cautious? I shiver as I imagine what could have happened to me.

PS Huntsman spiders don't actually spin webs so the Blue Moon spiders must have been another kind of spider. But to my childhood eyes, they looked as huge and as hairy and as terrifying as the huntsman spiders that regularly invade my van. 


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  1. My youngest is petrified of ALL spiders! Once on our way out to a dance class, I gave the girls a package to open that I had grabbed from the letterbox on the way out. Apparently the HUGHEST spider EVER climbed out from said package. Both girls screamed so loudly that I swerved to the side of the highway. A few minutes later an unmarked police car pulled in behind me to find out why my girls and I had pulled over. They were standing right off to the side against the farm fence. This as it turned out, lovely detective, very kindly searched my car for said ENORMOUS spider and sat with us and waited for hubby to come back (we'd seen him pass us a few minutes earlier on his way home from work) so we could swap cars as they refused to get back into mine til said MONSTROUS spider was located. When hubby thanked Mr Detective, he laughed, rolled his eyes and said "don't worry I have girls too" ... pfft cheeky sod.

    1. Lisa,

      I can just imagine this scene! Sometimes I just want to scream when we discover a spider, but as I'm the mother I have to stay in control! Seeing a spider in a car is one thing. Seeing it disappear, and not knowing exactly where it is in the car, is even worse.

      It sounds like the policeman who helped you was very understanding. I bet he made a big story out of it later... "Have you arrested any big criminals recently?" "No, but I saved the life of a petrified girl. I rescued her from an enormous spider!"

  2. We check our outdoor chairs for spiders, Sue, after a huntsman climbed up the back and onto Andy's head. And, we have to check the pool for funnel-webs and trapdoor spiders. And, the house and garden for Redback spiders - though, the house did once have a funnel-web, too. The car has never yet had a spider but it was once home to a mouse.

    Isn't it fun living in Australia?:-D

    1. Vicky,

      I don't know what is worse: spiders in the garden or spiders in the van. I think our huntsman spiders must fall off the overhanging trees, or climb out of the leaf litter on the driveway, before finding their way into our vehicles. We don't seem to have a problem with funnel webs and trap doors. Maybe they don't live here? Could it be too cold for them? I don't really know.

      Oh yes, we have some interesting wildlife. Don't we have the majority of the world's most poisonous snakes? We see snakes here every now and then. We used to have a copperhead living under the garage. One day it emerged and lay near the back door, keeping us captive for quite a few hours. I wouldn't let the kids out into the garden while it was around!

  3. Well this is one point where I do not agree :) I like spiders very much. As a child I even kept them as pets in an old fish thingy, whihc was leaking water. I made a place for them to live with sticks and stones to hide behind an make their webs in. I liked the huntsman spides most, because they did not spin. Every day I would catch flyes and serve the spidres dinner. I told my sister that spiders are useful, they eat mosquitoes and flyes and other stinging and biting insects. Even today, I never squash the irritating ones, but carefully carry them out from the house. But then we do not have any poisonous spiders in Denmark.

    1. Uglemor,

      I can see you are a much more sensible woman than me! I am sure spiders are very fascinating creatures. I do love watching them on wildlife programs. I just don't like them in my van!

      We have lots of daddy long leg spiders in our house. I leave them alone. I can live with them easily. I think I heard they are one of the most poisonous spiders around, but because they inject such a small amount of venom compared to our size, they are harmless to people. I'll have to check that fact!

      I wouldn't encourage the kids to play with spiders just in case they come across a poisonous one. They are a big problem in some areas. We visited a wildlife park north of Sydney a few years ago, where they have a big collection of spiders. We could see the spiders being milked for their venom, which is sent to Sydney hospitals to be made into antivenine. That was very interesting.

      Next time I encounter a huntsman spider I shall think of you and try to be brave!

  4. Oh god, I have Huntsmen too! I still remember the day I was in the shower and one crawled all the way from my left foot up to my right shoulder in about half a second flat. I've never screamed so loud before in my life!

    1. Kellie,

      I would have screamed just as loudly! Your story reminds me of a mouse story. I hate mice just as much as spiders. Years ago, I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor with my baby. In the middle of the night a mouse ran over my hand. I didn't scream but I did get up and dive into bed next to my husband. Then I realised I'd left the baby on the floor. Even though I ended up waking her up, I went back and rescued her from the mouse. We never slept on the floor again!

      I wonder if anyone heard your scream and came to see if you were okay.

  5. Oh my Sue, I'm not a fan of spiders and I can see why an car accident could be caused by a driver's surprise at seeing a spider in their car. Especially if it drops down on them! I wouldn't have gone through that gate either :) They're one of God's creatures but they're still scary!

    1. Noreen,

      A friend of mine did have a horrific car accident when she realised there was a spider in her vehicle. I guess we panic and react quickly without thinking. All God's creatures have their place but they're not supposed to live in my van! The gate... We had two gates that led into our back yard, and I always went the long way round through the other gate which wasn't covered with spiders!


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