Arachnophobe's 'unfortunate' dilemma with 'territorial' huntsman

A spider expert has weighed in on the discovery after the man pleaded for help with hundreds of incoming spiders.

An Aussie man who pleaded for advice after a huntsman and her babies moved into his bathroom has – somewhat predictably – been told to move out or burn his house down by fellow arachnophobes.

The terrified resident took to social media to share his plight, after the spider lodged itself in between his fly screen and bathroom window a week ago.

"I'm severely arachnophobic but since it's had no chance of getting in [my house] I haven't really had an issue of cohabiting with this admittedly gorgeous creature," he wrote online.

Huntsman spider holding onto its egg sac, behind window screen
The man said the mother huntsman spider moved in a week ago. Source: Reddit

"Unfortunately, this territorial mother has begun building an egg sac that's practically glued to the window's outer surface. Since it's a sliding window, I can't reach that area at all and I have no clue how to get rid of it."

While the man said he wouldn't have a problem with "letting nature run its course and witness the birth of hundreds of those buggers", he explained that his windows aren't airtight enough to block the entrance of tiny spiders. "There's a significant chance of them leaking into my bathroom, after which I might as well abandon my entire apartment," he said.

"I just cannot let the babies enter my premises," he said, before asking for help on how to remove the egg sac without massacring the entire family.

The 'circle of life'

The Melbourne resident posted his plea for assistance on Reddit, where hundreds of fellow users suggested he vacate the property. "It's the huntsman's house now," one user responded, while another said the only option was "burning the house down".

"Get a very large bowl and a sheet of cardboard, sit on the ground and place the bowl over the top of yourself, then slide the cardboard underneath, and live in there from now on," someone else joked.

Others suggested the worried man pay someone to come remove the mother spider.

A huntsman spider on a wooden floor (left) and a man opening an egg sac of baby spiders (right)
While relatively harmless, huntsman spiders can appear pretty terrifying to some, especially when the mother's egg sac can contain 100-200 babies. Source: Australian Museum, TikTok/@insecthaus_adi

Spider expert's advice

However, Associate Professor Tanya Latty from the University of Sydney's School of Life and Environmental Science encouraged the man to leave the "mummy" and her 100 to 200 babies alone, and instead watch "the circle of life" unfold.

"You don't want to try to poke at her with anything because she's holding that egg sac so she can't really move as fast, and she might get a little defensive," she explained to Yahoo News Australia. "But huntsman aren't what we would call a medically significant bite, so if you get bitten by one, you're not going to die but it'll hurt."

Latty also explained that once the babies hatch, they'll be tiny and will disperse pretty quickly. "The first thing they're going to do is try to move away from each other, essentially because they can eat each other and they're so small they're basically food for all sorts of predators. So they're not going to be moving en masse into the house. They're going to run and most likely where they're going to run is probably outside.”

Even if one does manage to get into the house, it won't last very long. "A baby huntsman needs a decent supply of nice small food and that's not something you're going to have in the average house," Latty explained. "So even if you get a couple of babies in there, they're most likely going to starve to death long before they reach any substantial size.

"On the flip side, if they do manage to get to substantial size, that suggests you have a lot of little tiny insects like mosquitoes in your house and they've been doing you a favour. They're being good roommates."

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