The huge spider found dangerously high above a river in Halifax, Queensland.
(Photo: Andrew Giliberto)
It really sounds like something out of a horror movie: a giant spider is larger than the hand of man, making loud hissing sounds, and has powerful long venomous fangs.
While many people walk the other way if face-to-face with a huge spider, a group of North Queensland locals did the opposite and saved terrifying creature when it was found, dangling for dear life on an overhanging branch flooded water.
The spider is supposed to be a whistling spider (Australian tarantula) — the name refers to the sound that they make when they are feeling threatened. They are also known as bird-eating spiders.
Found in the warmer and more arid regions of Australia, the largest species can grow to a length of 2 cm and a leg span of 4 inches, with powerful teeth 0.4 cm long.
“They are large to very large grey or brown spiders that are very hairy, with two finger-like spinnerets at the end of the body. Thick hair pads on their legs and feet,’ can these spiders to easily climb glass or smooth plastic walls,” said Queensland Museum.
The habitat of the whistling spider ranges from sandy deserts to rainforests, with the creature on the construction of long, silk-lined burrows surrounded by loose threads of the web to advanced warnings of approaching prey or danger.
Despite the fact that the nickname “the bird-eating spider”, the tarantula spiders rarely eat birds — the largest part of the diet consists of insects, lizards, frogs, and other spiders.
Tarantulas can be quite aggressive if mishandled, and although their teeth are long and robust, they are not deadly to humans.
“Their bite is quickly fatal to dogs and cats, but only one report of serious illness from a bite to a human has occurred,” explains Queensland Museum.
The female bird-eating spider spends most of its life in its burrow, but will leave during the early spring and summer, when the male approaches to mating.
Females lay about fifty eggs in a 1-inch diameter bag, which is stored in the burrow and protected by a tough cover of silk. Although, the woman will often put the bag between her palps and fang tips to take it with her when she leaves to hunt.
Unfortunately, male tarantulas usually die after mating at around five years of age, while females can be up to 30 years.
The spider captured on camera in the course of the weekend, was found situated precariously on a thin branch in a desperate attempt to stay away from the Herbert river in Halifax, near Ingham, swollen after a week of heavy rain in that part of Australia.
In the past four days, the huge amount of rainfall has seen that the region between Townsville and Cairns declared a disaster area by the government. Queensland’s north-west is suffering through the worst flooding since 2009.
The area in the vicinity of Halifax has seen more than 500 mm of rain since March 1.
Andrew Gilberto uploaded the video of the spider, which was spotted close to Halifax, the Spar supermarket.
Channel 9 reported that the local population, clearly with a soft spot for the creature, snatched the branch above the river, with the spider attached.
It was then placed on an avocado tree in the centre of the city, away from the flood waters, but significantly closer to the man.
It is not the only critter spotted in the water. Video has also been uploaded of snakes in the river, while a crocodile turned on a car.
It comes as a group of 6 Year students that was isolated by water, were today flown in an evacuation temporarily to beat more wet weather is expected, reported the Courier Mail.
More than 70 students and staff were trapped at the Echo Creek adventure park in the vicinity of Tully since last Monday.
The first group of the staged rescue was flown out for the afternoon.
The Bureau of Meteorology says the weekend, the heavy rain is now easing, but there are signs of a cyclone, the formation of the state far from the north coast. This can have devastating effects on already damage to the affected regions.
This story was previously published in the news.com.au.