There was a redback in my knickers!

January 8, 2009 at 6:03 am | Posted in Life | 1 Comment
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To those of you that don’t actually know what a redback it, that may sound exciting!  Let me tell you…it isn’t.

imageI was happily folding my washing the other evening on the lounge room floor and up to the underwear. As I was folding a pair of knickers, a giant redback shot out, and across the floor back into the pile of washing.

What ensued was a lot of screaming, kitchen gloves and about 20 mins of a heightened heart rate. I didn’t find her that night, but I did find her the following day. She has since gone to that giant cobweb in the sky.

The redback is a native Australian spider, found across the country. They particularly like urban areas to establish there webs. The Redback is actually a close relative of the famous American Black Widow Spider, but the female has a redback on her (instead), other than that is very similar in appearance.

The Redback Spider favours proximity to human habitation, with webs being built in dry, sheltered sites, such as among rocks, in logs, shrubs, junk-piles, sheds, or toilets.   *Note the toilet

Here is the fun part. There are frequent Redback bites in Australia, approximately 250 reported cases (who knows how many unreported cases).  My poor mum was bitten by one of these at work a number of years ago and spent 2 days in bed sick as a dog.

Symptoms of a Redback Bite

Early symptoms of a Redback bite include:

image

  • pain (which can be severe)
  • sweating
  • muscular weakness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • swelling of the lymph nodes
  • abdominal or chest pain
  • headache
  • coma
  • seizure
  • pulmonary edema
  • respiratory failure

Redback bites have been known to cause death, however since antivenom was introduced there have been no recorded deaths.

Interesting Fact

ITt is one of the few animals that display sexual cannibalism while mating (the female eats the male).  Remind me not to be reincarnated as a Redback – or a praying mantis while we are at it.

The Toilet

Australia is famous for its outback dunnies (outside toilets). These were traditionally famous for being ideal cool dark places for a Redback to build her nest.  A famous song by Ralph Ernest ‘Slim’ Newton was written after being bitten on the nether regions after a late night visit to the dunny.

There was a red-back on the toilet seat
When I was there last night,
I didn’t see him in the dark,
But boy! I felt his bite!
I jumped high up into the air,
And when I hit the ground,
That crafty red-back spider
Wasn’t nowhere to be found.

There was a red-back on the toilet seat
When I was there last night,
I didn’t see him in the dark,
But boy! I felt his bite!
And now I’m ere in hospital,
A sad and sorry plight,
And I curse the red-back spider
On the toilet seat last night.

Rushed in to the missus,
Told her just where I’d been bit,
She grabbed the cut-throat razor blade,
And I nearly took a fit.
I said “Just forget what’s on your mind,
And call a doctor please,
‘Cause I’ve got a feeling that your cure
Is worse than the disease.”

There was a red-back on the toilet seat
When I was there last night,
I didn’t see him in the dark,
But boy! I felt his bite!
And now I’m ere in hospital,
A sad and sorry plight,
And I curse the red-back spider
On the toilet seat last night.

I can’t lay down, I can’t sit up,
And I don’t know what to do,
And all the nurses think it’s funny,
But that’s not my point of view.
I tell you it’s embarrassing,
(And that’s to say the least)
That I’m too sick to eat a bite,
While that spider had a feast!

There was a red-back on the toilet seat
When I was there last night,
I didn’t see him in the dark,
But boy! I felt his bite!
And now I’m ere in hospital,
A sad and sorry plight,
And I curse the red-back spider
On the toilet seat last night.

And when I get back home again,
I tell you what I’ll do,
I’ll make that red-back suffer
For the pain I’m going through.
I’ve had so many needles
That I’m looking like a sieve,
And I promise you that spider
Hasn’t very long to live!

There was a red-back on the toilet seat
When I was there last night,
I didn’t see him in the dark,
But boy! I felt his bite!
And now I’m ere in hospital,
A sad and sorry plight,
And I curse the red-back spider
On the toilet seat last night.

Its all just  so………Australian

References

http://www.austmus.gov.au/factSheets/redback.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redback_spider

http://alldownunder.com/oz-u/songs/red-back-on-the-toilet-seat-27.htm

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