If you are part of the baby boomer generation, you’re probably familiar with the book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. And if you’re at all like me, you never liked that story. We’re not alone, though. The American Psychiatric Association says that more than one in ten people in the U.S. suffer from phobias. And nearly half of those are afraid of bugs (especially spiders), mice, snakes, and bats.
So imagine finding this dinner-plate sized spider in your house! Just the mere thought of it has my heart pounding. Apparently, the people who actually encountered this one were a lot like me; their first reaction was to kill it.
Fortunately for the spider, someone (who apparently wasn’t afraid of her) thought to call Barnyard Betty’s Rescue. The enormous spider, whom Betty named Charlotte, is an unusual rescue, even for Betty.
Barnyard Betty’s Rescue is located in Queensland, Australia. Her non-profit organization is set up to rescue orphaned, mistreated or unwanted barnyard animals from almost certain death. And in this case—had anybody been brave enough to get close enough to carry out the deed—Charlotte would certainly have died.
Charlotte is a Huntsman Spider, which is found in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, Florida, and Hawaii. (I’m so glad I don’t live there!) Also known as Wood Spiders, they are relatively harmless, although the bite of one variety can cause nausea, headache, vomiting and heart palpitations. Any bite from the Huntsman Spider causes intense pain.
Normally, Charlotte’s extended family is somewhat reclusive, hiding under dead wood and bark when it sees (with its eight eyes) a human approaching. Fortunately for Charlotte, she was rather easily caught and relocated to Betty’s farm, where she now lives unmolested.
According to Betty’s Facebook page, Charlotte "was a beautiful, calm spider, not aggressive in any way and like most spiders she just wanted to go about her business eating bugs and living in peace. She didn't or doesn't need to be killed! Poor spiders are so misunderstood!”