'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menoducational; entertainment meets info

One of the things about returning to the UK is, one might think, that one is moving to a danger-free country in terms of flora and fauna. ...let's leave flora out of this one and concentrate on the fauna.

When emigrating to OZ all those decades ago, there were those who were rather 'stuck in place' and who felt I was being very wayward in my decisions, who put forward arguments for why they thought I wouldn't last; things like "they have drop bears you know..... the most poisonous snake on earth lives there..... mozzies the size of small cars will eat you alive...spiders. They have Volkswagen-sized spiders and they bite." [Given recent news, OZ spiders are likely to be much less threat to life than the mentioned vehicles.]

Silly them, they forgot I had served my time in Africa. OZ proved to be no more of a challenge. Yes there are dangers lurking even in the city garden. Ya jus' have to know they're there and get on with things.

Okay, stepping on the red-belly black snake was not particularly wise; but it was making like a stick and got a much greater fright than I did.

Sure, the blue-tongue skink can latch on rather firmly, given half a look at a finger; but they are great eaters of snails and as snails were a plague upon the mailbox, I was very happy to have Mr T share the cat food. As the J's didn't seem to mind either, all was good.

Coming face to face with a randy roo was a tad disturbing, but not life threatening. Not in my city garden, I hasten to add. That was on a pal's property up the Mountains. Another randy threat was the neighbour's un-neutered Bull Terrier. It jumped the six-foot fence to rape five month old Jade who had gone early to estrus. The vet saw to it she wouldn't face that again.
Swimming in the ocean with risk of box jelly fish was always an adrenalin-inducing half hour or three... the full-body wet suit proved to be a bit of skin-saver on that one.

Strewth, though, who could resist a dip in this?>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Suffice to say that in over a quarter century of OZdom, the worst I endured was a few leeches and many a mozzie attack.

Oh, and the bite of a white-tailed spider.

India had a challenge or two also. Whilst OZ turned out not to have any such thing as a drop bear, Mumbai does have drop-pillars.

Yup. Small, hairy caterpillars which have glutted on the mangos and slither down a long gossamer line and hang out waiting to attach to whatever passes. They are small enough that most times they cannot be spotted as one walks along under the capacious canopies of sun-breaking branches. Nine times out of ten, they'll land on cloth or bag and then continue, finally to the ground - and the carrier will be none the wiser.

Then there are the one in ten chances of having one of the little tiggers land on your neck. They weigh nothing. You will not know they were there until that itching starts. So subtle, not unlike a mozzie bite, so you think nothing of it and ignore it. Within the hour you are a walking welt, the colour and texture of raspberry jam.

A week later you are still taking cold showers in every available break and rubbing on the bicarb talc.

Let's not even discuss the dysentery or the malaria.

Back to Britain. As a child, walking the heaths and hills, adders were the most dangerous critter to be aware of. They still inhabit these lands but are said to not be a problem unless you step on them.

Yes. Well.

Spiders there are a-plenty. Small and innocuous critters. I have a fondness for bugs and beetles. In Oz there were several different spiders resident in my garden. I left them alone and they left me alone. I left their webs intact, they kept the mozzie population down.

Here, though, the little spiders disappoint and beetles have a habit of all looking rather alike. All this is building up to telling you that I had reason to become a small amount excited the other night.

A spider of significant size made a visit. Goodness knows how he got into the bath, but there he was. I say 'he' with confidence. Investigation proved this to be Tegeneria Domestica. The larger palps and elongated abdomen indicate male. Autumn is mating season and they get more active, which may explain his landing himself in the tub. Apparently the females in particular, if living indoors, can last up to seven years! Average life span under cover though, as about two years. Outside, much less. I only discovered this after I transported the poor thing. Now I am feeling worried - then again, he almost certainly will find his way back in.

TD is a relative of the 'Hobo' Spider and is classified as one of the funnel web species; nothing like the Aussie version though! It can bite, but is painless and harmless. (The Hobo does have some toxicity, but they do not enter houses.... usually...) They can survive for months without food; which they kinda need to round here, 'cuz three aren't that many flies and bugs for them to catch.

Anyhoo, that was the YAMster's ramble with nature inside the hutch last week. Here are the piccies to prove it. The first is very poor due to macro not working too well without flash and under a single bulb at 12 feet distance... Next morning, was able to carry out the catch and release.

...yes, am pretty sure it was the harmless one...

....hhmmm ... it might have been the related species, Eratigena Atrica, now that I see it in broad cloudlight.

They do bite.

Life just got a bit more interesting round here.


  1. Hmm. Very interesting. I don't know my spiders but share the general preconception that says UK spider = OK, Aussie spiders = not OK. Oh and while I lived in Oklahoma I learnt, one massively swollen arm later, that OK spiders = not OK!
    Cheers, Gail.
    PS Adders not an uncommon sight in the Aberdeenshire hills.

    1. Hari Om
      Yes spotted on up at the reservoir earlier in the year... forgot how pretty they are. At a distance. Often think of you and Bertie up among the heather... and the snakes... Yxx

  2. Aunty Yam, Mum has fallen of the chair laffing at the encounter wiv a randy Roo!!!
    Oh I nose to steer clear of spiders, me and Mum just yell fur Dad…..that's his area of expertise, hehe!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  3. Ah, yes, the glass and paper route. A spider once bit me--I had no indication until I went to the doctor for care of a very large boil on my leg. She lanced it and freed more spider eggs than I care to remember. I have no sympathy for the breed, and they take the glass and paper route out of the house. I think the reason I have no antipathy toward daddy long legs and do not send them down the route of shame is they are not true spiders. I like orb spiders, too, but never have seen one indoors.

  4. Well the things I hear about my country often amaze.
    It's all common sense, always wear shoes and gloves when moving things in the garden or weeding etc.
    Never seen a snake in my back yard but had a blue tounge lizard for a few years, don't touch but he didn't mind a chat while sunning himself.
    Huntsmen spiders are often moved outside they don't hurt you but are rather large and sometimes will run at you if threatened.
    Most other spiders I just leave alone but Dummy likes to eat them so they are often not seen in the daytime.

  5. Alls we know is that...we hate all kinds of spiders!!!

    Oreo and Addi

  6. I had a great spider catcher back in the Netherlands: he was my own ginger Wuppie, who ate spiders, flies and on occasion even bees and wasps. Although after the third time of being stung and being washed with vinegar he had learnt his lesson!!

    Despite living in the country, the house is relatively free of spiders. They probably like it better outside!


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