Purple Liza The Funnel Web Spider And SparkleWe have a huge but harmless spider in Australia called a Huntsman. One summer when my daughter was a toddler, a large Huntsman took up residence in the cornice in our living room. We named her, "Sparkle." She coexisted with us happily in the house until one day she was gone. The next summer, another Huntsman arrived. My daughter noticed that Sparkle was back and was very excited. Every year Sparkle would come and go and I never had the heart to tell her that they were all different spiders, or that our original guest was probably deceased along with most of the others.
Last summer, after some rain, another spider came to visit us in the carport one night. My daughter, then eight, looked down at the ground where I was stepping out of the car. She said, "Sparkle looks really angry." I looked down to see the silhouette of a huge Funnel Web Spider in striking pose, right near my ankle. I pulled my leg back into the car and the spider remained in attack posture, waiting. It seemed the ugliest creature I had ever seen.
Fortunately, I hardly ever clean stuff out of my car. There was a juice glass on the front seat from that morning's rush. I thanked my daughter for saving my life, did my best to stop shaking, and put a juice glass over the deadly spider. Then slid some cardboard underneath and it was caught.
It's usually the responsible thing to do, to capture spiders so that their venom can be used to treat spider bites.
I had to drive this creature on the freeway to the Reptile Park, it's new home. I don't think I have ever been so scared. Its almost impossible to keep your eyes on the road when there is a Funnel Web in your car.
When we got there, the spider handler took her out of the glass and put her in a little tray on the front desk. With the danger gone, the spider actually looked quite beautiful. It's abdomen had soft, lavender coloured fur and it's black legs were elegant and shiny. The spider handler said that when a Funnel Web has a round abdomen, it's a female. She described the spider as, "voluptuous". My daughter named her, "Purple Liza", after one of her toys. We are going up to see Purple Liza these school holidays.