**Warning Graphic Content**
The eight delicate legs walked softly across my face. I didn’t notice her delicate curious dance as I slumbered. Each leg, as long as a pencil, radiating from her massive bulbous body was unseen to me as she began to taste the warm sleepy sweat of my brow. She was finding a place to lay her eggs. My warm moist eyes were the perfect cradle for her children. But first, she was hungry, and my blood was the only thing that could satisfy her thirst. Her sticky mouth began to open revealing two sets of long fangs, shiny from moonlight; her vertical shaped jaws widened, body began to lower, then she sank her mouth deep into my soft upper lip.
Then I woke up.
It was all a dream; more of a nightmare or even a night terror. There was no spider of death walking its way across my face. This would be ridiculous. I was being a silly Australian immigrant who has watched too many Netflix marathons of “Deadly Sixty” or “David Attenborough tells how Australia is the most deadly continent”. As everyone knows, if David Attenborough or Morgan Freeman say anything, it is like hearing a voice of a god. The depths of my subconscious simmer with their voices of warning of terror.
I must make a confession. A confession that will make all of my Australian friends slap their forehead, shake their heads, and laugh at my crazy naivety. A confession that I hesitate to admit for fear of being the laughing stock of the pub.
I have slept with a bug net every night during my stay in this beautiful county. I must confess that I was more than a bit nervous about two of the wildlife here in South Australia. The 8-legged and no- legged varieties. I had no interest in waking to the realization that my face was playing host to a kindergarten class of “Australia’s most Deadly”.
But before you judge me too harshly I must tell you about the recent events of the week. This week I had the privilege of meeting my new friend, guardian, and relationship. This week I met Sara. I was welcomed home Friday night by my long legged new friend. All eight legs and her slim scale of a body greeted my face as I opened the door! “WELCOME HOME” was my first reaction, or maybe…. not so much. Luckily, I immediately knew she was a Huntsman Spider and knew not to take a swing and crush her into oblivion. I studied her as she studied me. I became fond of her. She is a hunter. She hunts for insects in my home and has a particular fondness for white tail and red-back spiders which frequent my accommodation. I knew of her existence due to the tale-tale signs of webs, molts, and dead offspring. But this was my first encounter with my mutualistic friend. She was there to hunt for me and in turn I would let her live a safe and peaceful life. I decided to name her. The naming of her, therefore making it easier to see her as a friend and pet rather than something that was going to eat my face off. I named her Sara. A name that resembles beauty and kindness from all the Sara’s I know. Sara was my new roommate.
I have already seen the fruits of her labor with the carcasses of blow flies strung around my home like Christmas ornaments. The recent hot weather has brought out the insect and arachnid life in South Australia. She was on the hunt in this land of plenty. This was going to be a great relationship of symbiosis. She was a creepy new friend that walks each room every night. But I can deal with that, I sleep with a bug net.
My real fear is not in her, although she does like to hide in the paper towels, which makes doing dishes a fun experience; my biggest fear is in the white tail spiders that have also begun to show themselves in my house. It is in these arachnid terrors that I offer to Sara. May this battle occur each day and night until all of the bad guys have been feasted upon. The while tail spider with a body and legs about the size of poker chip is not a spider to be dealt with lightly. Between the white tails in my house and the huge population of red backs in my garage, I run the risk of a quick trip to hospital.
My budget does not allow me privilege of insect spraying, and in reality, the huntsman spiders are a much more effective eradication technique. Plus, I want to save Sara. Her and her abundant offspring dwell in their hiding spaces throughout my home and to spray would be to kill them as well. Therefore I have decided to rely on my new found friendship and trust in her namesake talent. May she hunt like the greatest hunter on Earth.
Remember, I sleep under a bug net; my confession of an American tourist. However, what you must know is, last night I was rewarded for this effort, for as I woke from a peaceful sleep, I opened my eyes to a crawling thing caught in the net just above my face. What was it? It was a large female white tail spider; perhaps looking for a warm moist eye human eye in which to lay her eggs. Who is the crazy tourist now?