Giant Spiders Invade Queensland

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 6th, 2009

The tiny Australian North Queensland newspaper, the Townsville’s Bulletin, is heralding an invasion of giant bird-eating spiders around those parts.

The invaders: whistling spider (Phlogius crassipes) ~ the largest spider in Australia.

Here’s reporter Daniel Bateman’s report.

In a scene that could almost be out of a B-grade monster movie, giant spiders have invaded Bowen.

For about six weeks, residents have reported seeing huge bird-eating spiders crawling around their backyards and gardens.

Amalgamated Pest Control Bowen pest technician Audy Geiszler took this incredible photo of one of the spiders he caught wandering across the garden of a restaurant near the town’s centre.

Mr Geiszler estimated its body alone was 5cm long, a specimen declared `especially large’ by the Queensland Museum. Most grow to be the size of a man’s hand.

“It was found in a public area, just wandering around the garden areas. It’s a bit scary for the people,” Mr Geiszler said.

While at this stage there had only been about five sightings of the giant spiders, Mr Geiszler said it was unusual to see that many in such a short period.

“Normally they live in and around gardens and that type of thing,” he said.

“They are very shy. They normally never venture out too far but obviously these ones have been flushed out for some reason.

“It’s more than enough to scare a few people. It’s not plague proportions or anything.

“That in itself is unusual because you don’t normally see these species out in the open.”

Queensland Museum spider expert Dr Robert Raven identified the arachnid in Mr Geiszler’s photograph as the eastern tarantula, which is also known as the whistling spider (Phlogius crassipes) _ the largest spider in Australia.

The spiders whistle or make a hissing sound when aggravated, which can be heard about 2m away.

Dr Raven said the spider, an especially large individual, was also a male.

“The females remain in their burrows. Because of the nice rain that you’ve had, you’ve got plenty of food about with plenty of warmth,” he said.

“The spiders have been getting fed and now they’re out walking about looking for females to mate with.”

Whistling spiders, which are found throughout North Queensland, are burrowing arachnids, living underground in burrows which can be up to 1m deep.

The spiders have been known to eat small birds, however Dr Raven believed it would have been stocking up on insects, small mammals and amphibians.

“They’ll go for big insects. They probably feed on toads. They have no problem with cane toads and frogs _ anything big and slow-moving that comes their way.”

The bite from a bird-eating spider is not known to be fatal to humans, however it can cause up to six hours of vomiting.

The spider’s venom does, however, kill dogs and cats with death occurring within 30 minutes.

Dr Raven believed the spiders would soon return to their burrows.

“It’s a little bit late in the season for them by my reckoning, which is probably just saying you’ve had plenty of rain and they’ve been locked up inside waterwells or something in the meantime and they’re just getting loose,” he said.

It has become such a big story in Australia that the original source has also been employed in rewritten articles, for example, in other media such as the Times of London.

🙂 Thank You.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

2 Responses to “Giant Spiders Invade Queensland”

  1. cliff responds:

    Wow, that is one huge freakin arachnid, and those photos really don’t help my extreme case of arachnophobia too much. Now I’m going to be freaking out today every time I feel something brush across my skin and feel like I have spiders crawling on me all day. Thanks Loren!!…LOL

  2. cryptidsrus responds:

    “Let go of me, you Eight-Legged Freaks!!!” 🙂 🙂 🙂

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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