Redback Spider in the Log Pile

I am now back at work after having had a fantastic Easter weekend camping in the Blue Mountains. However, before I post any accounts of our adventures away I want to start at the beginning.

Before Mat and I started off on our trip we stopped at Gideon’s to pick up a few bits and pieces he was kindly lending us. As well as some spare tent pegs, ground mats and camping stove he suggested we also take the ute down to the bottom of his paddock and load up with wood from his log pile. As it was already spitting slightly and the weather was likely to get worse in the mountains we agreed this was a good idea and went off to get some.

We all started piling on the logs and were nearly finished when Mat suddenly exclaimed he’d made a discovery; he’d picked up another bit of wood and was about to throw it in with the others when he spotted this little beauty:

Redback Spider with Egg Sac Redback Spider closeup

Gideon confirmed it was a Redback and was in fact rather a large female with an egg sac. I immediately grabbed my camera and started to photograph her. This was easier said than done as my little Ixus500 is only partially manual and I still haven’t got the hang of taking really good close ups. I rely on taking lots of pictures on varied settings until I get one I’m happy with. Fortunately for me Miss Redback was a most obliging model and didn’t move from her log while I clicked away.

Out of all the pictures I took only the above two came out unblurred. However, I am including the next one to give an indication of her size as it is difficult to tell from the closeups. Mat wasn’t willing to get any closer (I don’t really blame him) and unfortunately the camera decided to focus on the background, not the foreground but at least it gives you an idea.

Mat & Redback

After the photo shoot was finished we gave her a few gentle pokes with a stick (Mat’s theory on how you get to know someone/something) and were pleasantly surprised to find she was not at all aggressive. In fact, considering she had an egg sac she was positively docile, just scrunching up a little as if to say “Now you’ve photographed me can you not just bog off and leave me in peace?”. After considering the safety aspects with Gideon he decided it would be ok to leave her be so we placed her log gently back on the pile and left her to it.

This was a majorly thrilling start to our holiday as it was the first potentially deadly creature Mat and I have seen since moving to Australia (not counting the dead Red Bellied Black snake that Mat saw when someone brought it back to the yard to tease Ant with – he hates snakes). Apparently though, no one has been killed by a Redback since the introduction of the antivenom.

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