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The Whistling / Barking spider
(Selenocosmia crassipes)

Elanor Mahon

The Whistling / Barking spider (Selenocosmia crassipes) makes a sound rather like a thumb nail rubbing across a comb. You can hear it from quite a distance away (over a meter away).

Females live up to 30 years, males up to 8 years.

They are nocturnal burrowers, typically very aggressive. They can eat some pretty amazing stuff - guinea fowl (like chickens), your usual array of invertebrates. One has been seen dragging a 2.5 pound dead fish carcass up from the river bank and across the forest floor to its burrow, where it happily feasted!

Reports about their venom are often conflicting. Some claim that they are dangerous to humans, esp. small children and sick elderly people, and can make an adult feel very unwell (vomiting).

There are substantiated reports that their venom has killed large dogs - Dobermans and German shepherds within 20 minutes of a bite (these dogs are usually the farm dogs which play with things they shouldn't).

They are found in tropical rainforests of Queensland, and as such need warm temperatures and plenty of humidity.

They grow to about palm size, light to dark brown in colour. Males are smaller in body size, but have much longer legs than the females and hence look bigger. Females are quite "sturdy".

This information was supplied by Elanor Mahon of Melbourne Australia

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