One of our earlier posts in our Weird & Wonderful series was about the skin-eating fish of Cambodia, and now the creepshow gets better. It’s a long way to Cambodia, but I only had to move to Georgia, right here in the good ol’ USA, to discover my first snake-eating spiders. I am not making this up.
There’s a gravel path to the mailbox behind our condo building which is wooded on one side, with mature viburnum shrubs on the other side. It’s a convenient shortcut and normally a pleasant path, but this past summer, a huuuumongus spider (a female – more on that later) wove a beautiful, golden, 6-8 foot-wide web, and set up shop on the shrub side of the path. On my daily trips I monitored her progress, and as the days passed, I swear, I was half expecting to see a squirrel dangling in her net.
This is a Golden Silk Spider, but it’s is also known as a Banana Spider – and not because it eats bananas.
“It is particularly despised by hikers and hunters, as during late summer and fall the large golden webs of this species make a sticky trap for the unwary.” — University of Florida Entomology Department
The female is considerably larger than the male, and the spider’s body length is about 2 inches. Add in the frighteningly long legs, and it measures 3-4 inches. Now that’s one big honkin’ spider! And just so you know, the itsy-bitsy spiders you see in the photos are not babies (thank goodness), but are males. I’m betting that they don’t forget to put the seat down.
In Australia earlier this year, someone shot a short video of one of these spiders attempting to eat a 15-inch snake. It’s hard to know who to cheer for in this battle. There’s also a video floating around of one of these spiders capturing and eating a goldfinch. I didn’t link to this video for fear of being labled the Big Meanie of the blogosphere.
I’ve been told these spiders are normally harmless unless harrassed. Their venom is a mild neurotoxin, similar to the black widow’s, but not as powerful. Harmless – what malarkey! If one of these spiders drops on me, stick a fork in me because I’m done.
I wish you a good night’s sleep and pleasant dreams.
Happy Trails and Sweet Dreams,