Huntsman spiders are common in Australia. They are very large and able to inflict a painful bite resulting in local swelling. Their bites can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting and an irregular pulse. The Huntsman spider is notorious for taking up residence between a car’s sun visor and the ceiling. Although they live in the wild in tight craggy spots, they find their way into homes and it seems that Australians are quite used to dealing with them.
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The TikTok user, Luke_Jones made this short video which shows a woman holding up her domestic cat to the cornicing just under the ceiling to, I presume, attack and kill a Huntsman spider. The cat paws at it but does no more than that in the video which must have been disappointing to her. The video has gone viral (4.7m views).
Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.
He said that they get so many of them in his house and they get into everything. People who commented on the video amusingly asked whether the cat owner was feeding their cat to the spider! They are Australia’s version of the tarantula.
The question that I have right away is whether the cat could be harmed. I’ve said in the first few sentences that their bites are quite nasty. I wonder, therefore, why the woman in question thinks it is a good idea to push her cat towards the spider. Of course, it is quite normal for a domestic cat to kill and eat a spider because insects are on the menu. It is part of their wild cat heritage. We know that, but a spider this size?
The author of a Wired article on this topic said that cats are quite safe in attacking Huntsman spiders. They say that the process of eating a spider neutralises the venom rendering it harmless. I don’t know if it’s true but I do know that the Huntsman spider has a bite which is considered low risk meaning non-toxic to humans or the toxicity level is not considered a problem. They are also non-aggressive but as they are large their bite can be painful.
Also, females protect their young in summer which makes them more aggressive. They do have venom but as stated appears to be non-toxic at least to humans. Is it toxic to cats? Research on this indicates that they are not dangerous to cats or at least I can’t find anything on the Internet which reports cats being harmed and their noses bitten by these very large spiders. They provide a service to homeowners in killing nasty insects and therefore they should not be killed, it is argued.
This species of spider can be massive and crab-like with a leg span of up to 25-30 cm.
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