Living in Australia, people (usually overseas) keep asking us: And aren’t you afraid of spiders?
Well, first of all, the spiders usually keep for themselves – as do we – and catch the nasty mosquitos and other stuff. These are usually the smaller ones anyway. As for the Big ‘Uns..
We don’t fear them, because they are all dead (at least in the ones in our backyard). Why? Because we have an awesome ally: The Tarantula Hawk Wasp.
This terrifying creature preys on – well you guessed it – Tarantulas, and other big spiders, such as funnel web. It lays its eggs next to the spider, and the small larva feed until they reach a certain size.
The other day, we saw our Tarantula Hawk carry a paralysed / dead spider, almost as big as my hand, into the den under our terrace where it keep its prey. We were so fascinated, we didn’t even take a picture, but it was a damn impressive and scary sight.
A couple of weeks ago, we had a big spider occupying our balcony, so we were kind of stuck to staying inside. But the next day, it was gone – or better to say: dead. We found it close to the entry of the Hawk’s den. I can’t be sure the wasp killed it, but it is a pretty safe bet the spider did not freeze…
The wasp is also very famous in the Gecko community that lives with / close to us. They all hang out near the Hawk’s lair, because it is the safest place around. Definitely no spiders, and the wasp does not hunt them. It’s like a bunch of pretty girls in a gay night club.
Well, the only thing about the Tarantula Hawk Wasp is the following: It has the SECOND MOST PAINFUL STING of any insect (surpassed only by the Bullet Ant). Basically, the only thing you can do if you get stung, is scream, but you might not even be able to do that… Fortunately, it lasts only three minutes, and then it’s over (where as with the Bullet Ant, you are in excruciating pain for about 24 hours).
And the wasp is not very aggressive, as long as you don’t provoke it or it is not drunk… Yes, you heard right: The wasp eats fruit, and “…the consumption of fermented fruit sometimes intoxicates them to the point that flight becomes difficult.” Flying under the influence – not cool, bro!
But finally an insect I can identify with!