back to article Oz cops investigating screams of 'why don't you die?' find bloke in battle with spider

You have to hand it to the passerby who called the cops after hearing a chap yelling "why don't you die?" along with the cries of a toddler. On its own that's rather concerning, but less surprising when you learn this happened in Australia, where the majority of fauna seem set on cleansing humans from the continent. Police …

  1. Portent
    Joke

    This story has legs...

    1. A.P. Veening

      This story has legs...

      Yup, eight of them ;)

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: This story has legs...

        I believe that you'll find that that was the joke.

        1. Chris Miller

          Everybody knows

          The funnelweb spider can kill a man in eight seconds, just by lookin' at him.

          Mick 'Crocodile' Dundee

  2. Alister Silver badge

    In boring, grey, temperate UK, the most dangerous creature you're likely to run into is a dairy cow or red deer

    Yeah? You wait until you get a dairy cow climbing up the bath plughole, you'll soon change your tune!

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      "Yeah? You wait until you get a dairy cow climbing up the bath plughole, you'll soon change your tune!"

      "Hello, my name is Inigo Moo-ntoya, you killed my father, prepare to die."

    2. Nolveys Silver badge
    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      You wouldn't really want to get too close to a herd of cows if a mother decides you're a threat to its calf.

      Cows officially the most deadly large animals in Britain

      Farmers continue to be advised not to put calves and their mothers in fields accessible to the public

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Upvote as there are plenty of stories with people being chased whilst walking dogs (Advise is always let go of the lead and not to carry the dog away as we humans are slower)

      2. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Even when a creature has the intelligence and aggression of a barn, it's only a fool that gets between her and her shed.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn
          Coat

          People Eating Tasty Animals

          Having been in a field of cows behaving oddly & then running for my life (Doing the 100M faster than Linford Christie) as the herd chased me down (Having already wisely decided to cut my walk across the fields to the nearest stile), I'd disagree with the statement of "the most dangerous creature you're likely to run into is a dairy cow or red deer – neither of which actively seek to do people harm".

          The only way I like cows are on my plate, with fries or between two bits of bread, finding a new purpose in death as my foot or outerwear (See icon) or on my furniture.

    4. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: You wait until you get a dairy cow climbing up the bath plughole

      Don't be silly, the cow would never get past the moo-bend.

    5. VikiAi
      Alert

      Even in Australia

      more people are killed by cows than by sharks each year.

      And just this morning I came in to work to a large-ish huntsman spider on my office wall. I went to my chems-cupboard to get the insect-spray, then changed my mind and instead got a broom to scoop it onto the end of and deposit it in the garden out front. (Huntsmen are generally not lethal or particularly aggressive, but I believe their bite still hurts like hell.).

      1. SNAFUology

        Re: Even in Australia

        I've been bitten by a huntsman spider on the stomach - was quite painful, stayed red for a long time, had huge fang marks.

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Even in Australia

          Of course the operating theatre in an Australian hospital would have spiders in it.

      2. Rustbucket

        Re: Even in Australia

        The best method id to trap them against the wall with a plastic Tupperware-style container, then carefully slide a piece of cardboard or paper in from the side and hold it on as a cover, allowing you to take the spider out side.

        The problem with a broom is that the bastards are FAST when you disturb them, and are likely to take off across the room or up your broom handle towards you.

        Squashing them is not a good option because then you have a big pile of wet meat to clean up.

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: Even in Australia

          Hmm... those huntsman spiders look a bit like king crab. Surely it just needs to be marketed properly. Perhaps we could call it the soft shelled Oz desert crab or something, fry it up, serve the legs on a toasted hot dog bun with butter and the rest in a nice bisque spiced with just a hint of cayenne.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Even in Australia

        Prachett qutote about animals in Oz

        "Some of the sheep don't bite"

        1. VikiAi
          Happy

          Re: Even in Australia

          You wanna know where I got these scars?

      4. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

        Re: Even in Australia

        > Even in Australia

        ...

        And just this morning I came in to work to a large-ish huntsman spider on my office wall. I went to my chems-cupboard to get the insect-spray, then changed my mind and instead got a broom to scoop it onto the end of and deposit it in the garden out front. (Huntsmen are generally not lethal or particularly aggressive, but I believe their bite still hurts like hell.).

        Where on earth did you grow up? Certainly not Australia.

        Huntsmen's fangs are literally too small to pierce human skin. They mostly eat mosquitoes and other softbodied insects of that size.

        "Generally not lethal"? Scuse me? Not even possible, let alone "generally not".

        Aggressive? Never. They're terrified of giant humans and bolt if you try to get them. The only problem is for arachnophobes: they typically climb for safety, so if you scare them and you're too close and too slow, they will run up YOU.

        Basically, any Australian will happily leave a huntsman roaming round their ceiling, because they'd only be there if there are irritating insects to eat. Yes, they can startle you if you wake and look up and see the 6-inch spread of legs above your head. But that's about as much as they can do to "lethal" you.

        I swear... I've been away from Australia for 20 years... the place has gone to bloody pieces while I was away.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: Even in Australia

          " Yes, they can startle you if you wake and look up and see the 6-inch spread of legs above your head. But that's about as much as they can do to "lethal" you."

          I beg to disagree. I'm fairly sure that merely seeing a 6-inch sized spider would have me drop dead there and then via some kind of explosive heart failure. I once nearly walked face first into the tiniest of itty-bitty spiders that had the stupid idea of descending from the head jamb of a door I was going through at the exact wrong moment - I'm pretty sure a doctor would have no problem identifying the consequences on a set of before / after MRI scans...

    6. Timmy B Silver badge

      Corner a big brock late at night and you'll see what we can really do in the way of grumpy snarling scary beasts. Though being in the woods in the pitch black with a rutting buck roe following you is very scary indeed.

  3. Goldmember

    The guy in the video used his cat as a feline shield.

    Smart.

    1. Starace

      'Feline shield'? Nah.

      They were either trying to distract the spider with a snack before making their escape, or offering a sacrifice to their new eight-legged god.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        They were either trying to distract the spider with a snack before making their escape, or offering a sacrifice to their new eight-legged god.

        Probably trying to get the cat 'switched on' in a hurry - damn things don't come with a manual, and always seem to have a bad motivator.

        Had the same problem with a rodent and two cat units, even locked in the room with the intruder they did nothing more than flick an ear at it. Wasn't until six hours later, incident forgotten, that a sudden rucus signalled the cats had come online and done the deed, took the dog by surprise and he went into full policeman mode barking and chased the cats out of the house like criminals.

  4. msknight Silver badge

    Not the first time...

    .... this from 2015 - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/26/youre-dead-police-thought-man-trying-to-kill-spider-was-attacking-wife

    “It was a spider,” the man replied sheepishly. “A really big one.”

    “What about the woman screaming?”

    “Yeah sorry, that was me,” he said. “I really, really hate spiders.”

    It’s not the first time a spider has sparked alarm. Another arachnophobe set a service station in Michigan on fire in September after he tried to scare a spider away from his petrol tank using a lighter, with predictable results.

    1. VikiAi

      Re: Not the first time...

      I thought the story sounded familiar!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On kibbutz in Israel the women in the next apartment asked me to come and deal with a large hairy spider prowling their floor. It was grey with white-banded legs - the largest I had ever seen. I carefully placed a cardboard box over it and slid the lid home underneath. Then took it for a walk to the fields on the edge of the kibbutz.

    The women were very relieved and offered me a coffee - then as we sat there they suddenly screamed and jumped on the bed. A large brown/black scorpion had just emerged from under the bed. My hand was not so steady trapping that critter - but it was taken away to join the spider.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      and then when you returned did another spider re-appear (I always find getting rid of wasps there is always a group who decide to get trapped behind a window)?

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      When I was in Israel, I was tasked with removing a small spider from the room. I calmly pushed a piece of paper under him, and as I was about to pick it up to throw out of the window, the bastard jumped, almost hitting my face (I was bending down at the time)

      That really gave me the willies. Apparently we have them over here too, but I've only ever come across them in Israel.

      Spiders that can jump a few feet... Ought to be a law.

  6. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Spiders: there is no "overkill"

    Only "Shut up & reload!"

    I *hate* spiders. I fully endorse the use of flamethrowers to eradicate them all with extreme prejudice.

    "Why won't you die already?!?" is not only appropriate, it's fekkin' mandatory!

    *Shivvers in horror*

    1. Nolveys Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Spiders: there is no "overkill"

      I fully endorse the use of flamethrowers to eradicate them

      You wouldn't happen to live in Fresno, California, would you?

      1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        Re: Spiders: there is no "overkill"

        Nope, not in Fresno. Good guess though. =-)p

    2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Spiders: there is no "overkill"

      Up-voted for the Schlock mercenary reference.

    3. JcRabbit

      Re: Spiders: there is no "overkill"

      Oh you would have LOVED to see what I had to go through once then:

      One of my ex-girlfriends had one of those old wooden houses in the mountains that we used to go to on the weekends. One of those times we decided to carry to the dumpster an old mattress that was sitting next to the outer wall. The mattress was covered in those little spiders with extremely long legs (daddy long legs?)

      When we came back the following weekend, we opened the door and the door right across the hall was behaving rather strangely: it seemed like it was waving and moving all by itself, almost in an hypnotic way. Upon closer inspection, we figured out that this illusion of optic was caused by the HUNDREDS of spiders that were literally covering the whole door, top to bottom.

      You see, it seems that when we removed the mattress, the spiders, now homeless, decided that moving inside the house was the next best place to be. They were EVERYWHERE. Thousands and thousands of spiders, EVERYTHING in that house was moving and waving.

      And so, armed with nothing but old wrapped newspaper and magazines, for the next couple of hours I took upon myself the task of killing all those spiders while my cowardly girlfriend hid at a nearby coffee shop. I'm not particularly afraid of spiders, but even I had had enough after two whole hours of spider genocide. I had also run out of old newspaper and magazines.

      And so, once the killing was done, we finally went to bed. You know that point when you are already in warm, confy, lala land, just about to fall deeply asleep? That's exactly when a live spider decided to fall down from the ceiling straight into my mouth.

      Yeah. That day will forever be carved in my brain.

      1. DougS Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Spiders: there is no "overkill"

        I don't have a particular fear of spiders, especially the harmless daddy longlegs, but if I had to deal with a house that contained thousands of them I would have bought one or more of those bug bombs and fumigated the entire house while sitting with the girlfriend in the coffee shop (or better yet bar, since I hate coffee) then vacuumed up all the dead spiders while half drunk.

        There's no way you could kill all or even approximately all of the spiders when there are that many, and there's no reason to expect that thousands of daddy long legs wouldn't have attracted other - potentially poisonous - spiders hoping to feast on them. Who might be pissed when their meal ticket is taken away!

        1. Trilkhai

          Re: Spiders: there is no "overkill"

          ...there's no reason to expect that thousands of daddy long legs wouldn't have attracted other - potentially poisonous - spiders hoping to feast on them.

          Actually, there is one good reason: daddy long-leg spiders (pholcidae) commonly eat many other species of spiders (including some highly venomous ones) as part of their diet, either after trapping them in their web or hunting them down. I hate spiders in general, but they're the one type I'm content to allow in my home.

          1. VikiAi

            Re: Spiders: there is no "overkill"

            Yes. I stopped harassing the Daddy Long-leggs in my store room when I noticed all the drained husks of much scarier spiders (and millipedes) under their webs.

            1. EveryTime Silver badge

              Re: Spiders: there is no "overkill"

              Having lived in the near-tropics, the ideal situation is co-existing with a single hungry spider.

            2. Mycho Silver badge

              Re: Spiders: there is no "overkill"

              Couple of years ago where I was living in the uk there was a (relatively for the area) massive invasion of bitey insects. I had a landlord inspection in the middle of it and apologised for the cobwebs explaining that I was trying to keep the flies under control by letting the spiders get established.

              "Good idea!" said the landlord enthusiastically and the inspection proceeded without a hitch. I guess someone else had been bitten recently.

        2. Oengus Silver badge

          Re: Spiders: there is no "overkill"

          I would have had a similar response with the bug bomb and retiring to the local watering hole but then I would have sent he girlfriend/missus back saying "I killed them you clean them up..."

  7. John Mangan

    I often wondered...

    if Australia was Harry Harrison's inspiration for Pyrrus?

    1. Dr_N Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: I often wondered...

      Beer for Deathworld ref.

  8. C Yates

    BAD REG! BAD!

    Was about to thank the reg for not using any horrific "massive spider pics" to illustrate the story.

    Than I scroll down and caught a glimpse of the vid...

    *Shudder*

  9. Francis Vaughan

    Strong too..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRQucp31n0c

  10. Danny 2 Silver badge

    May contain nuts

    In boring, grey, temperate UK, the most dangerous creature you're likely to run into is a dairy cow or red deer

    Bull...

    dog.

    Dog which bit Haddington man's genitals to be destroyed (17 October 2018)

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-45892414

    The Times, no less, reported that the genitals could not be reattached by surgeons because "they had been consumed". It also reported peanut butter had been applied to them. The victim is still alive but should get a Darwin Award since he won't be contributing to the gene pool now.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: May contain nuts

      He only gets the Darwin award if he hadn't previously contributed to the gene pool, otherwise his stupidity already lives on.

      The fact he was using peanut butter in that way is pretty conclusive proof he'd already given up on any chance for FUTURE procreation.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: May contain nuts

        Was it crunchy or smooth peanut butter?

        1. The Oncoming Scorn
          Pint

          Re: Does not contain nuts

          FTFY as the nominee no longer has nuts or indeed a sack to keep them in

  11. _LC_
    Black Helicopters

    Rule of thumb: the bigger they are, the less poisonous they tend to be (there are exceptions)

    One of the most poisonous spiders happens to populate most of Britain (and many other countries). It's the "house or cellar spider" (pholcidae):

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Pholcidae&source=lnms&tbm=isch

    Before you start to panic: They can't harm us as they can't penetrate our skin. ;-)

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Rule of thumb: the bigger they are, the less poisonous they tend to be (there are exceptions)

      [citation needed]

      Here is the appropriate wikipedia link - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pholcidae

      1. Symon Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Rule of thumb: the bigger they are, the less poisonous they tend to be (there are exceptions)

        Here's the section you want. They're not very poisonous.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pholcidae#Misconceptions

      2. _LC_
        Thumb Up

        Re: Rule of thumb: the bigger they are, the less poisonous they tend to be (there are exceptions)

        Thank you very much!

        I got this from a TV documentary about spiders (German public service broadcasting) not so long ago. Apparently, they are far inferior to the BBC, when it comes to animal documentaries. They used to be rather good, though - decades ago. :-(

        1. Symon Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Rule of thumb: the bigger they are, the less poisonous they tend to be (there are exceptions)

          "They used to be rather good, though - decades ago"

          That reminds me of Scientific American...

      3. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

        Re: Rule of thumb: the bigger they are, the less poisonous they tend to be (there are exceptions)

        This is 100% true -- no one has ever died from an elephant bite, for example.

        Hell, same goes for whale bites. Well known example: Jonah got spat out, didn't even need an aspirin.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rule of thumb: the bigger they are, the less poisonous they tend to be (there are exceptions)

      FFS learn the difference between poisonous and venomous!

      1. _LC_
        Pint

        Re: Rule of thumb: the bigger they are, the less poisonous they tend to be (there are exceptions)

        Thanks! I just did. We don't have that distinction in most other languages. It was new to me.

        German: giftig (both passive and active)

        Italian: velenoso (same)

        Spanish: venenoso (same)

        French: venimeux (same)

        Russian: ядовитый (same)

        ...

        You get the idea. ;-)

  12. paulf Silver badge
    Holmes

    "in Australia, where the majority of fauna seem set on cleansing humans from the continent"

    Just the Fauna?

    Little shop of horrors: the Australian plants that can kill you

    Also worth noting the Adder is a somewhat dangerous creature in GB - at least if you catch one by surprise by stepping on it in the long grass!

    1. Symon Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: "in Australia, where the majority of fauna seem set on cleansing humans from the continent"

      The spiders fauna isn't all that bad in Oz.

      https://portal.clubrunner.ca/8104/stories/10-most-dangerous-spiders-in-australia

      "Australian spiders have a fearsome reputation, but our bees typically pose more of a threat."

      Also, the snakes aren't as bad as people think.

      https://theconversation.com/are-australian-snakes-the-deadliest-in-the-world-not-even-close-50963

      http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Snakes/Wild-Snakes/The-Worlds-Deadliest-Snakes/

      p.s. " [Australians'] death rate due to snake bite is about the same as the United Kingdom and Holland" "The funnel-web spider is lethal but nowhere near as consistently deadly as North African scorpions which kill tens of thousands of people each year."

      http://w3.unisa.edu.au/unisanews/2015/December/story4.asp

    2. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: "in Australia, where the majority of fauna seem set on cleansing humans from the continent"

      Statistically, adders are only dangerous if you're male and aged between 16 and 25. Most bites are between elbow and hand.

      Once you reach 25, you have more sense than to try and pick one up.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn
        Paris Hilton

        Re: "in Australia, where the majority of fauna seem set on cleansing humans from the continent"

        Try some of the bloody big rattlesnakes in & around my area

        This guy has a full time job catching them.....

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9wlS8SrZ3Y

        Paris because of one eyed....... Yep!

    3. Oengus Silver badge

      Re: "in Australia, where the majority of fauna seem set on cleansing humans from the continent"

      The list of plants missed one that has been known to cause a number of casualties including death.

      The Bunya Pine has a cone that weighs up to 40 Kgs. They have been known to fall on people... They would also be suitable for squashing spiders...

      1. Toni the terrible
        Happy

        Re: "in Australia, where the majority of fauna seem set on cleansing humans from the continent"

        Is the Bunya Pine Cona a food for Drop Bears?

  13. Vulch

    Spiders: Permitted sizes

    A spider can be any size across provided, and this is important, it is no thicker than a coat of paint.

    1. tony trolle
      Alien

      Re: Spiders: Permitted sizes

      In a mountainous area in So-Cal I saw some spiders the size of outstretched hand but was told they don't get bigger as the lizards eat them........

      Yes some pet monitor type lizards escaped and roam the hills

  14. tiggity Silver badge

    Cows

    In the UK you do get a few instances of cattle killing people

    This is most likely to be female protecting a calf - some tend to react really badly to people walking dogs near to them (maybe instinctive predator response as hard wired wolf response could have been useful in the past or maybe just bad experience with being hassled by dogs in the past)

    So treat cattle with due respect and don't just think its bulls you need to be wary of ... (especially if you risk taking a dog with you)

    e.g.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5600036/Dog-walker-dies-after-being-trampled-by-cattle.html

    1. MiguelC Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Cows

      I've been chased by a cow while cycling and can assure two things:

      1 - they're a lot faster than they look;

      2 - they're scary as shit when they're after you!

      1. The Oncoming Scorn
        Alert

        Re: Cows

        Ditto & there wasn't any calves around either at the time.

    2. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: Cows

      Living with a field of cows (usually bullocks) at the bottom of the garden I'm used to them and don't really have issues. Even when there are mothers with calves they get used to me and the dogs and are generally more curious. When there are sheep with lambs in there - that's a different thing. I wouldn't dream of taking the dogs out then. They get very feisty!

  15. caffeine addict Silver badge

    I don't believe in firearms for the general public, but that huntsman would have me reaching for a shotgun. Maybe something like a shotgun with beanbag rounds, but with bigger rounds...

    I may have just re-invented the canon...

    1. Adrian Harvey
      Happy

      Although they look a bit scary you’re best off leaving huntsman spiders alone - or just relocating them. They’re both not poisonous and they eat other, poisonous, spiders - thereby saving you time, effort, and cleanup. I lived in Australia for a few years, and this worked well.

    2. Tikimon Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Meet the Bug-A-Salt, destroyer of arthropods

      The only weapon you need to dispatch spiders and most other home-invading arthropods is the Bug-A-Salt. It's a plastic spring-loaded pump shotgun that fires a burst of ordinary table salt with an effective range of about three feet. The salt blast can be directed into cracks and corners and behind breakable things, unlike a flyswatter or broom or newspaper. The salt is non-toxic to pets, won't damage surfaces, it usually doesn't splatter the bug so no mess, and salt vacuums up during regular cleaning. With practice, you can shoot bugs out of the air. Tape a small flashlight under it to illuminate dark corners.

      I'm a proud owner, and can attest to its effectiveness. I bought mine when I had an infestation of flour moths, I mean HUNDREDS at once all through the house. Cleaned out the kitchen and pantry multiple times to no avail. I later found The Hive, a half-empty bag of cat food hidden behind something downstairs and removed their main breeding ground. Before then, I destroyed thousands of moths with the Bug A Salt. It also does stellar duty as a spider killer. In fact I blew away a couple of black widows in my Tiki Lounge, then fired a few blasts into the dark little corner to clean out any juveniles or eggs.

      It usually gets a laugh at first mention, but it's really a nice design and works great.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: You realise that if you fired that at a person...

        ...you would be charged with A Salt.

        1. caffeine addict Silver badge

          Re: You realise that if you fired that at a person...

          That joke is literally in the name of the product

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't help thinking the happy ending and amusing tale might have been somewhat different in America if it had been a black geezer shouting "die motherfucker" at a spider once the cops had arrived at the scene.

  17. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    UK has its dangerous species too. Not a lot, but they do exist.

    In boring, grey, temperate UK, the most dangerous creature you're likely to run into is a dairy cow or red deer – neither of which actively seek to do people harm – so such a response to a spider here would naturally be mocked.

    AFAIK adders are NOT extinct yet. Though their bite is usually not fatal and you have to live somewhere really out in the sticks to run into one.

    There are also a set of lovely, protected creatures called bats. If you think that you will live long after an untreated bat bite you are up for a rare treat (pun intended). It's called rabies and while the land-walking mammal population in UK is rabies free, the bat's aren't and there have been a number of fatalities over the years.

    1. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: UK has its dangerous species too. Not a lot, but they do exist.

      Rabies in bats is not the same as land rabies. https://www.bats.org.uk/about-bats/bats-and-disease/bats-and-disease-in-the-uk/bats-and-rabies

      Adders are certainly not extinct. Far from it. I see them quite often, but I do spend a lot of time outdoors.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK has its dangerous species too. Not a lot, but they do exist.

      I once saw a Black Adder. Nearly died laughing.

      https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=black+adder

  18. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Ticks and Lymes disease

    I went hill walking on Skye with an Aussie hippy who was fitter than me, and when she got a safe distance away from me she went nude. I'm guessing that was meant to be motivational since I was covered from head to toe.

    She ended up covered in engorged ticks, and she ignored my 'twist and pull' advice. Instead she smeared the ticks with tea tree oil, and they immediately dropped off dead.

    I am not a fan of Aussies or hippies or tea tree oil, but tea tree oil is tick poison so I keep some with me on every country walk.

    Avon's Skin So Soft for midges, tea tree oil for ticks.

    I asked a hippie ecologist why honey isn't considered vegan, and she said because bees die making it. I said that was more a workers rights issue. I asked her why science shouldn't just exterminate midges that benefit no-one and plague every species, and she replied, "No. Midges play a vital part in Scotland's ecosystem. If it wasn't for midges then we'd be over-run with English tourists".

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Ticks and Lymes disease

      Getting them to drop off after they've bitten you wouldn't save you from getting Lyme disease if bitten by an infected tick. Though I guess there's probably no Lyme disease on the Isle of Skye so she'd be fine aside from some very minor blood loss.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Ticks and Lymes disease

        Getting them to drop off after they've bitten you wouldn't save you from getting Lyme disease

        As well as tick viral encephalitis. While the British Isles are not officially listed as an area (rest of Europe is) I would not chance it. The aftermath is not pretty (to say the least).

      2. Tikimon Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Ticks and Lymes disease

        Bzzt, wrong. If you get the tick off within 24 hours (or so) it hasn't had time to transmit the bugs for Lyme et al.

        This is the basis for Nexguard (for example) flea and tick medication for dogs. The ticks/fleas bite the animal, then are killed by the medication circulating in their blood. The animal MUST be bitten for the parasites to get killed by the drug, but it happens before they infect your pet.

        1. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: Ticks and Lymes disease

          Bzzt, wrong.

          Read https://www.lymedisease.org/hard-science-on-lyme-ticks-can-transmit-infection-the-first-day/

          TLDR version: 5% transmission with the first 24 hours. 50% between 1 and 2 days. I would not want to risk being in that 5%.

    2. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: Ticks and Lymes disease

      No. No. No. No.

      Never ever use chemicals on ticks. They may well hate it and fall off but they may also disgorge (vomit) stomach contents back into your own blood stream as they do. Even if the eww factor of that isn't enough for you the increased chance of infection and Lymes should be.

      Me? Not a hippy - just a trained outdoor instructor and wilderness medic.

    3. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

      Re: Ticks and Lymes disease

      > I asked a hippie ecologist why honey isn't considered vegan, and she said because bees die making it.

      What complete tosh.

      They eat pollen and vomit honey. End of.

      If you take more than the hive needs, they might go hungry. But since commercial beekeepers spend half their lives driving hives to places swarming with pollen, this is a non-starter for anything other than "organic" or backyard/homegrown honey.

      The fact that honey is extracted from the ENORMOUS supplies they lay up in honeycomb (the clue's in the name) , without there routinely being vast drifts of dead bees at the foot of the hive, might have been a bit of a clue for your self-righteous acquaintance.

  19. Joe W

    Vipera Aspis

    My wife ran into one - or rather the other way round. The beast was coming down a hill extremely fast. Scared her. A lot.

    And this is in Germany, there are only six types of snakes and only one that needs a serum. This one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vipera Aspis

      My colleagues in South Africa advised me that most snakes would disappear when they heard your footstep vibrations.

      Unfortunately the puff adder likes to sunbathe on paths - and doesn't get out of the way. Step on one - and they are possibly the world's fastest strikers in 250 milliseconds [probably sideways].

      The very venomous black mamba runs for its hole - unfortunate if you are apparently blocking its way.

      A friend had a large cat, Thomas, that was half Cape Wildcat. When they went to to their country plot the cat loved to find a Cape Cobra on the rocky kopje (hill). It would circle round the snake - just out of striking/spitting distance. The snake would raise its body and twist its head to follow the cat. After several turns the snake couldn't twist any more - it would have to untwist a turn. At which point the cat struck - grabbing it behind the head.

      The cat also loved to torment the local pack of dogs. It headed for a wire mesh fence when they chased it. Against which it had earlier positioned a large cardboard box on its side - open side facing outwards. It dived into the box - then sat there slashing the nose of every dog that dared poke inside the box.

  20. Boo Radley

    Good Thing it Wasn't US Police

    They'd have arrived, guns drawn, and shot the poor guy immediately.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Good Thing it Wasn't US Police

      And missed, and hit the toddler instead.

  21. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    FTFY

    So, whoever you are, Australopissecus, we feel you.

  22. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Alien

    I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit . . .

    . . . it's the only way to be sure.

  23. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Australian Spider EATS Snake

    Australian Spider EATS Snake. Hors d'oeuvre, anyone?

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: Australian Spider EATS Snake

      How many cane toads would you like for dessert?

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-46720029

  24. Steve 22
    Linux

    May well you mock...

    Ex-Brit in Aus here. One of my colleagues is in hospital as we speak as the result of a spider bite (species unknown). Such was the necrosis, some part of the poor bugger's leg has already been sliced away, uncomfortably close to his scrotum I hear. As he's a body-builder, there's a lot more to go around but we're all hoping for a full recovery. That and emerging swinging-between-buildings skills.

    Sure everything wants to kill you but, hey, embrace the danger. I'll be off this afternoon for a bit of body-boarding on a beach that was closed yesterday after a 2.5m white pointer was spotted. What you gonna do, sit in front of a monitor for the rest of your life?

    1. Michael Hoffmann

      Re: May well you mock...

      Indeed.

      Missus and I were working outside on the horse arena yesterday.

      Fat spider runs over her hands while holding a sleeper board.

      "Ugh, that's an ugly spider.... oh shit, that's a redback!"

      Gloves! Thick tradie's gloves always and everywhere! After you've twisted and crunched them severely every time before putting them on. Because redbacks love hiding *inside* gloves when given a chance.

      Why doesn't El Reg have an Australia-with-overlaid-skull-and-crossbones icon yet?

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: May well you mock...

      Something about over-developed muscles either attracts spider bites, or makes you more vulnerable to them.

      I had a colleague whose hobby was cage-fighting, and who was ridiculously industrious about his physique. One bite from a humble white-tail, and he was off work for two weeks. A second bite, and such serious health problems set in that he never returned.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn
        Pirate

        Re: May well you mock...

        To work or to cage fighting?

  25. Dabbb

    The worst mistake you can do trying to kill a huntsman

    assuming it was a huntsman, as redback encounters usually result in a loud thump with a slipper and not much of a screaming, is to spray it with spider insecticide.

    It will die.

    But not before about 5 minutes of agony during which it'll run towards anything that is warm and moves.

    You.

  26. SNAFUology
    Terminator

    Oh just Die...

    Me to my software using computer device [Pc, Mobile phone] nothing unusual with this.

    Normally followed by "oh shit you just died again".

    the earlier shouting normally is "Work you Bastard" but it rarely does, so I end up yelling argh die, die, die.

    This is tech

    Note: yelling & swearing helps to reduce pain & mental anguish, but will reduce learning.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Oh just Die...

      I have similar exchanges with my car in the morning, before I get to work to shout at the software.

  27. Shane 4

    Pfft spiders,

    It's the drop bears you gotta watch mate!

    1. IveGotALovelyBunch
      Pirate

      Much More Prevalent After You Hear ....

      ... the phrase "Why is the rum always gone?!"

  28. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Good nature

    Just as an antidote to all the scary stories here. I consumed a field of magic mushrooms, tripped and fell asleep. I woke up the next morning frozen to what I assumed was an alarm clock going ba ba ba. There was a circle of about ten lambs taking turns to jump over my chest and then queuing up to have another jump. My wrecked body was an ovine playground. They scarpered when I sat up, but it was just so cute it turned me vegetarian.

    In retrospect the weirdest thing is that they queued - how British is that?

    Just before or just after that I took mushrooms and saw a house spider do something amazing. It was hanging by a thread on my stairs and all eight of its legs were in a blur of motion so it looked like a ball. My friend saw it too, scared us silly, made us think it was a deity. Never killed a spider since.

    I was in a field of cows that knew me with an american girlfriend who was terrified of them advancing on her. I told her, "Don't flinch, they are more scared of you than you are of them". Arguably the stupidest thing I've ever said, we had to run for it.

  29. Luiz Abdala
    Flame

    Kerosene.

    Lots and lots and lots of gallons of kerosene.

    Paint the walls with kerosene. Use masks and oxygen tanks if you have to.

    But don't light or torch anything. Everything that relies on oxygen should fail to enjoy the place that was doused in Kerosene.

    And move away for one week. It worked for termites in my case. You can do one room at a time if you are short on options, which I did.

    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: Kerosene.

      Or just Nuke it from orbit...just to make sure

  30. Christoph Silver badge

    Re the list of lethal spiders

    As Terry pointed out, it's quicker to list the non-lethal Australian species.

    "Some of the sheep"

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Re the list of lethal spiders

      think i'll reread that one next .....

  31. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Joke

    I'll trun the volume down ...

    ... next time I listen to Big Youth's "Screaming Targets" album.

  32. HKmk23

    Huh...

    When we moved to France, I foolishly said to my Wife you take care of the spiders and I will take care of the snakes!

    Current score (snakes) is 6 to me and two to my dog! The largest was just over 2 metres long and as thick as your wrist....not venomous but a very nasty bite.

    I should have said I will take care of the elephants!

  33. gskr

    Redbacks

    I'd been away from Australia too long....

    Was there last year helping to clear out my Dad's house. Taking apart an old BBQ (with the thoughts of taking it to the charity shop) and a large Redback drops out just where my hands were and starts proceeding slowly towards the flowerbed. At this point I remembered where I was - too long in good old Blighty had clearly eroded my childhood instilled caution against all things deadly.

    We were much more careful with the other stuff after that - a few more redbacks were found (and pressure washed away) - but no bites fortunately.

    I hope the new owner is enjoying their new BBQ - the only redbacks left now should be the ones that are really good at hiding!

  34. _LC_
    Devil

    Pussies!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sZaiIaneBY

  35. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Half Adders aren't poisonous...

    ...if you find one in your house it's easy to carry out, it won't hurt a bit.

  36. Compliant Andy
    Thumb Up

    'Cast your mind back to 2016, when an unfortunate Ozzie builder was bitten on the willy not once, but twice in the space of five months by a redback spider (popularly known as black widows)'....'can you take the pain away but leave the swelling please doc?!?'

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