Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Varmint update

# Last night I saw a white-tailed spider scuttling down the wall of my bedroom and out of sight behind the bedside chest of drawers. I hope the business about white-tailed spider bites causing necrotic ulcers and gas gangrene is an urban myth, but just in case it isn't, I have Baygonned the bedroom to uninhabitable levels.

# This morning, having already learned the hard way to be wary of giant hairy huntsman spiders lurking in the letterbox and hiding on the underside of envelopes, I discovered that this also holds true for geckoes. Considering that a few months ago, while it was still bloody freezing, a very tiny example of this species somehow got into the allegedly critterproof outside unit and fried several grand's worth of reverse cycle heating/cooling*, you'd think I would have thought of it before. The one in the letterbox was a handsome pale-grey speckled creature who boldly did not detach himself from his tail at the very sight of me like they usually do.

*Still under warranty, fortunately

# For a couple of hours in the middle of the day there was lots of particularly crashy-bangy lightning and thunder around Adders, as ThirdCat will attest; while it did not drive the cats actually under the bed, it still meant there were four very wide little golden eyes and four very pointed little ears and a lot of erect sproingy whiskers chez Pav today.

#And, finally, something is eating the just-visible embryonic capsicums in the vegie patch. All advice gratefully received.

14 comments:

naomi said...

Give me a gecko over a huntsman any day.

Capsicum problem is either snails or caterpillars. Snails are easy - cut a hole in the side of a plastic juice bottle, fill it up to the hole in beer and then bury it up to the hole in the ground. All snails will go for the beer and drown, drunk and happy.

Caterpillars are best picked off by hand. But the geckos might help you!

comicstriphero said...

Giant huntsman spiders eh...

Being the world's biggest and wussiest arachnaphobe, Canberra's lack of spiders is one of its best features.

Especially coming from a particularly funnel web spider prone area of Sydney...

Tobias is good at catching flies in his mouth as they fly past - would you like me to put him on a plane to Adelaide to sort out your varmint problem?

As he is under 2 years old he flies free.

Ampersand Duck said...

Canberra's lack of spiders??!! Which alternate universe Canberra do you live in, CSH? Mine is full of them! Not trying to freak you out or anything :)

I was bitten on the heel by a white-tail spider (in Canberra!) about six years ago, and while my heel was uber-sore and stiff for over six months, I didn't get creeping necrosis. Apparently they affect people on an individual basis, and I'm not a necrosis-y person, thank kitten. So it's probably very wise that you took precautions, not knowing what your reaction would be.

ThirdCat said...

Scorpions are a natural predator of the spider. I can bring some home for you next time I am camping if you like.

Yes, weather was amazing. Had to reset the clock three times.

Also, snails don't like coffee grounds. I would offer to give you my coffee grounds, but I am already throwing them over my neighbour's fence (in a neighbourly way).

cristy said...

My understanding is that white tail spiders actually act as a carrier for a particular virus that causes the whole gangrene, flesh rotting thing that they are known for. Apparently, if the spider has recently been in contact with the virus then they will be a carrier and will infect anyone that they bite. If they haven't (which is most of the time), well then they are fairly harmless.

Ampersand Duck said...

PHEW!

comicstriphero said...

Duck - no spiders, roaches or mozzies.

I always thought it was the dry climate.

Must be because I live on the other (bestest) side of northbourne.

Bernice said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pavlov's Cat said...

Berince -- I had to delete your comment because something in it broke the blog! So here it is again (she said nervously) ...
'Slugs - cure for? Snail & slug pellets I'm afraid. Though providing a nicely dampened overturned saucer will allow them to mass together & then be ruthlessly harvested each morning. But you will have to use the 'orrible pellets. Try & collect as many carasses of your poisoning victims as possible - blue tongue lizards & tawny frogmouths will emerge to eat the dead & then be deaded themselves.'

Pavlov's Cat said...

I meant, of course, 'Bernice'.

Thanks particularly for the tip about poisoning blue-tongues. Since I am already irritating the neighbours by not having the semi-bushland backyard mowed because somehow they always manage to mangle a blue-tongue, and even if they don't it will destroy their habitat, I'm not gonna poison them with pellets no matter what. Beer and coffee it will have to be; t'anks all for your help.

CSH -- I tend to get pet redbacks on the front veranda and the garden furniture, too. They are such very elegant and beautiful creatures that I forget how deadly they are, and peer shortsightedly at them, which means that eventually I will get bitten on the nose and die a horrible death.

ThirdCat said...

So you don't want any scorpions?

Redbacks are okay on the sides of bins etc, but there was one in the laundry about a year ago (presumably before the scorpion arrived) which freaked me right out.

Gee, my house sounds like a barrel of laughs, doesn't it?

Blue said...

Slugs & snails don't like garlic and caterpillars appear to be adverse also. You can either crush it around the plan or infuse the garlic in water & spray.

JahTeh said...

My two cents worth. A scientist friend told me to use HomeBrand surface spray as it does the job just as well but without too much havoc to humans. I hope it wrecks havoc on the huntsman in the letterbox which hid under my envelope the other day. The envelope was from a certain political party but I'm sure it had nothing to do with the spider, almost positive, very nearly sure it didn't.

Zoe said...

We used to have terrible snail issewes (especially since the otherwise lovely buddhist lady next door used to "relocate" snails from her veggie garden to the fence between her place and our veggie garden rather than kill them).

All fixed now - and I'll tell you what snails don't like - big fat chooks wandering around eating them up. &Duck's Bumblebee comes round with half a bucket from their yard occasionally too.