NEWS AND COMMENT-SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: The first point to make is that although huntsman spiders use venom to immobilise prey and can reach up to 5 inches across, based upon my careful research they do not cause harm to domestic cats who kill them and perhaps sometimes devour them. If a cat devours a huntsman spider it is entirely natural because domestic cats regard spiders and other insects as prey items.
In this story a Sydney woman, Ms O’Sullivan, amusingly to some, relies entirely upon her two domestic cats to track down and kill huntsman spiders. It appears that she not infrequently has to deal with them as they make their way into her home. The news media claims that she has ‘trained her cats’ to kill the spiders but I would rather characterise it as letting them do the dirty work for her.
RELATED: She isn’t the first woman to use her cat to get rid of huntsman spiders. On another page (click link) you will see a woman pushing her cat into the face of a huntsman spider to deal with it for her. No problem for a cat. Sensible for the woman.
And unsurprisingly she is terrified of them. They are very large and venomous and can inflict a nasty bite on a human. It appears that the most common reason for a huntsman to bite a human is when defending their young. It is known that females aggressively defend their egg sacs and young against perceived threats. When bitten the human can suffer from an irregular pulse rate, headache, vomiting, nausea, pain and heart palpitations. But as mentioned the reports that I’ve read tell me that if a cat eats a huntsman spider there are no ill effects.
It is claimed that the stomach acid of a cat neutralises the venom. I would have thought, though, that a spider would be able to bite the inside of the cat’s mouth as they were being consumed! I don’t see any reports on this.
Ironically, Ms O’Sullivan, hates having to kill the spiders. She would much rather have them caught and removed from her home. With this objective, she has reached out on social media, on Facebook, to see if there is somebody on the Internet who would like to provide an arachnid catching and clearing service!
She said that she had “found another huntsman in my kitchen just now and of course I freaked out. He had run away and I’m now paranoid and on edge as to where he’ll pop up again so just thought I’d ask around.”
She had asked: “Hi everyone, just wondering if you know anyone who can/doesn’t mind catching spiders in people’s houses to relocate as opposed to killing them?”
The public, including me and thee, are able to see her team of arachnid catches in action because she made a video of it. And please note that the video is downloadable which is why it is on this page under the Vimeo label.
Below are some pages on cats and spiders.