There’s something about spiders that has people screaming and reaching for the metaphorical nuke button. Most of the time they have more reason to be afraid of you, but that primal fear can cause some irrational – and unorthodox – removal methods.
The panic here, for instance, begins when the children of Sydney-based YouTuber leokimvideo spot a Huntsman spider on their wall and react like most kids would – with hysterical screams. Aussie spiders have a bad reputation, after all, even if only a few of them actually pose a deadly threat to a healthy human.
The Huntsman spider gets its name from its speed as well as the aggressive way that it catches its prey. But even though its impressive size makes it an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare, the Huntsman isn’t particularly dangerous to humans and rarely bites unless provoked.
A Huntsman may even be accepted in spider-tolerant households since adults don’t weave webs and their diet consists of common pests like cockroaches. Their size and appearance, though, can make them unwanted guests… and leokimvideo definitely didn’t want this one around his scared children.
The spider has the kids screaming in panic, and they want their arachnid squatter gone. They don’t hesitate to point out where it has taken up residence. “It’s quite a fair size,” says Leokimvideo in the clip. “How are we going to get rid of this monster?”
His little boy has a suggestion: the vacuum cleaner! But leokimvideo has a series of popular recordings that he’s made of himself dealing with large spiders, and he has another idea. It is this idea, then, that caused this particular video to go viral and reach 32 million-plus hits on YouTube.
“Have you got a Nerf gun handy?” he asks, and the kids run off to get their secret weapon. It’s not recommended that you try this at home, since agitating a spider is a good way to get bitten. “Lock and load, daddy!” leokimvideo’s daughter shouts as she brings the toy gun to her father.
Nerf guns, made by the multinational company Hasbro, are toys that fire foam darts. The particular model being used here is an N-Strike Elite Nerf gun that has been equipped with a light pointer for extra accuracy.
Assisted by the red dot sight on the Nerf gun, leokimvideo manages to hit the unsuspecting spider with his first shot, and it seems to have some effect. The Huntsman nearly drops off the wall and, although it manages to hold on, it looks like it’s in trouble.
His kids screaming and panicked, Leokimvideo takes a few more (unsuccessful) shots at the spider. “I’m pretty sure some of those Nerf bullets hit her. She’s still there and I’m worried that it’s not going to be an effective way of capturing her. She’s only gonna get angry and do something really nasty,” he says.
With that attempt merely resulting in a wounded spider, then, Leokimvideo’s daughter has a slightly more sensible idea. “Daddy, use the vacuum cleaner. That’s the only suggestion, I think… the old fashioned way,” she says.
Although Leokimvideo’s son is still screaming at the spider, the arachnid is incapacitated and so the family can get a better look at the Huntsman. The intent seems to have been to capture or kill the spider outright with the toy gun, and the Nerf dart does seem to have broken one of its legs.
Following his daughter’s advice, the next spider removal device on the agenda is the vacuum cleaner. Leokimvideo was told by a salesman in a Dyson store that their vacuum cleaners both capture and stun spiders for disposal; the theory is about to be tested.
True to form, the Dyson DC39 sucks up the wounded Huntsman, and, after a couple of spins, the spider stops moving. The unwanted guest is dead, but whether it was the Nerf gun wound that killed it or the vacuum spin is open for debate.
Although a lot of YouTube users expressed their fear of spiders, these methods have caused some controversy. One particularly angry commenter said, “I think you’re an idiot for teaching your kids to hurt animals, and make them think that is something fun. You’re everything that is wrong with this world.”
Australian Geographic, meanwhile, said this about the removal of spiders, “It’s not condoned nor advised to try and kill a spider (after all, if you miss, you may anger it), but if you really feel this is the only way, then make sure you do it quickly, with a bug spray or a single, accurate hit.”
Leokimvideo is also known as the internet’s Spider-Man due to the many arachnid videos that he posts. This includes another clip in which he attempts to capture a different unwanted Huntsman on his ceiling using a more traditional method.
Armed with only a pretty large bowl and a stepladder, Spider-Man gingerly approaches the large arachnid and tries to line it up with the container so that he can get a clean capture for safe disposal. However, Huntsman spiders are famously very fast.
As Leokimvideo raises the bowl, the spider dashes out of the way almost faster than the eye can follow. This Spider-Man, evidently, doesn’t have the proportionate speed and agility of a radioactive spider and can’t keep up with the Huntsman; the edge of the bowl catches it and it drops on his head!
He lets out a yelp and his daughter drops the camera. You can just see leokimvideo’s foot getting caught in the plastic bowl, and you hear his retreating footsteps clopping away into the distance. It is worth remembering, though, that spiders are probably more afraid of you than you are of them. You’re much bigger, after all.