Ok I do live in a country where everything wants to kill you (apparently) but we don't have lions or tigers or bears, or gangs or the right to bear arms by tracksuited bling boys. Our predators are largely animalian. The worst are small but this really got me with the gross factor.
I live among Sydney Funnel Web Spiders, the deadliest of all but they're small and hidden and very rarely do people get bitten. Usually gardeners not wearing gloves or people who leave their laundry on the floor in damp and cool conditions. Spiders generally dislike heat and sunshine. There are the Redbacks (black widows) but they're teensy and easily spotted with their shiny tiny black bodies and yellow, orange or more common, red stripe. Actually, they're rather delicate and shy. Sure we have one of the most poisonous snakes in the world, the 'Fierce Snake' (there's that wonderful ability for Australians to name things originally). But down here, it's browns and blackies and they'd sooner run than be discovered. And there's the odd Croc that likes the odd sandle donning tourist if they're stupid enough to swim in a NT billabong
The very worst I get at this time of the year - mating season - are Huntsman Spiders. They're docile, leggy, hairy but quite big. Around here the largest has a leg to leg span of about 10cms but they're shy, harmless and constantly victim to Adam's work boots. I was growing one for my visitor in January but now I just have corpses littering the toilet and bathroom floors!
HOWEVER . . in caps for uber emphasis. I logged into News.com yesterday and saw this. Now I'm pretty sure that you're common golden orb is quite small . .I've had one smatter my face whilst cantering along a bush trail years ago. And yes I fell off because horseriding requires the commitment of two hands on the reins and flailing madly to remove a tiny spider and a helluva sticky web saw me seriously unbalanced.
THIS amazing image of a mammoth spider devouring a bird in someone's GARDEN! was taken in the backyard of a property near Cairns in far north Queensland. They seem to grow 'em a lot bigger up there.
The photo,taken earlier this week, shows the spider clenching its legs around a lifeless bird trapped in a web at a property near Atherton, west of Cairns.
Joel Shakespeare, the head spider keeper at NSW's Australian Reptile Park (famous for 'milking' snake and spider venom for antivenine production), identified the spider and said, "Normally they prey on large insects, it's unusual to see one eating a bird," Well you don't say!
Mr Shakepeare said he had seen golden orb weaver spiders as big as a human hand - (OMG) but the northern species in tropical areas were known to grow larger. Right, that's put Cairns right off the travel agenda!
The poor little finch is a chestnut-breasted mannikin most likely to have flown into the web and got caught. How sticky is that web! God I've got the shivers just thinking about it! Now DBM where's your camera?
"It wouldn't eat the whole bird," he said. Mmm consolation to the poor little finch! Now go away if you're scared of spiders . . don't say I didn't warn you . . .
You're average garden Golden Orb . . harmless enough and easy to identify. They're the ones with the lovely dew encrusted webs early in the morning . . .quite pretty really.
You're Cairns version. . . now this even made me reel and look at it's proximity to the house!
Mmm . . bitten off a little more than it can chew!
Addenda: This is the dude that haunts my house in spring, you can get an idea of scale. Snapped on the house bricks just outside my front door: