Queensland woman helped pregnant banded Huntsman called Sophia give birth to 200 babies

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An arachnid lover has helped a pregnant huntsman called Sophia give birth to about 200 baby spiders, and lets them live in her home.

Sophia’s ‘human mum’ Lisa Van Kula Donovan, 48, took video of the banded huntsman with her bubs last month at her home in Hervey Bay, about three and a half hours north of Brisbane.

Ms Donovan, a wannabe entomologist who works in the tourism industry, kept one of the babies to raise and has asked Daily Mail Australia readers to help her name it.  

An arachnid lover has helped a pregnant huntsman called Sophia (pictured) give birth to around 200 baby spiders

‘I only have had her a few months. I found her on the outside of my house and she was pregnant,’ Ms Donavan said.

‘I brought her in to feed her and give her water. I guessed she was pregnant by the size of the abdomen. And she later on laid a sac.’ 

The mother-of-three kept the family in her ‘bug room’ until the babies were ready to leave their mum.  

The little huntsmen were released inside and outside her house, and Ms Donovan kept one in captivity to raise. 

‘Most of my friends know having spiders all over my house at any given time is normal,’ she said. 

She is considering a few names for the spider she has kept, and has asked Daily Mail readers to help choose between the gender neutral options of Charlie, Boop and Tickles.  

Ms Donovan released Sophia outside near a huntsman friendly wooden pallet with a male so she can procreate further. 

Lisa Donovan kept one of Sophia’s babies to raise, and asked Daily Mail readers to help name it

Sophia’s ‘human mum’ Lisa Donovan (pictured) with another Huntsman in her Queensland home

Ms Donovan believes spiders are ‘beautiful’ and ‘misunderstood.’  

‘Spiders to me are honestly beautiful. I love the way they walk, their long legs. I also know how misunderstood they are and they’re really just not out to harm anyone,’ she said.

’99 per cent of spiders can do you know real harm, but it’s the 1 per cent that give them all a bad name.’

She urged people to avoid killing spiders, even if they are afraid of them.   

‘It takes for most spiders, months of growth, moulting, finding stuff to eat, avoiding predators, to get to adulthood,’ she said. 

‘Then someone freaks out and just squishes it. [It makes] me sad.’

Ms Donovan said she did not recommend most people let huntsman sit on their face, like she does because they may get bitten

Ms Donovan believes spiders are ‘beautiful’ and ‘misunderstood’ 

Ms Donovan said she did not recommend most people let a huntsman sit on their face like she does. 

‘They are venomous but not deadly to humans,’ she said.

‘[But] unless you understand their behaviours and how to read if they feel defensive, you can get bitten and they have large painful fangs.’

‘I’ve never been bitten by anything I’ve kept or caught, I was only bitten once by what I thought was a dead huntsman and… when I picked it up to move off of some laundry, it bit me.’  


Courtship between male and female huntsman is more romantic than other spiders, with the female spider rarely attacking the male

She will then produce a flat oval egg sac which is hidden, usually under bark or rock, or sometimes carried under the body while they move around

The mother will then stand guard, not eating for three weeks, and will usually be aggressive if provoked during this period

In some cases, the mother will then moisten and tear the egg sac open, helping her spiderlings to emerge, sometimes up to 200 

The mother will stay with her young for several weeks while they undergo several moults before hardening to a darker brown and dispersing

Source: The Australian Museum 


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