By Tui Benjamin
A daring Yorkshireman handled a close encounter with a huge specimen of one of the world’s deadliest spiders in hilariously stoic fashion – by repeatedly goading the critter.
Jason Sutcliffe, from Leeds, came across the biggest redback spider he had ever seen while clearing out his garden in Sylvania, New South Wales, Australia, earlier this month.
But instead of running scared the fearless dad-of-two filmed the highly venomous arachnid at close range, providing a running commentary in what are still broad Yorkshire tones – despite having lived in Australia for 18 years.
The 45-year-old panel beater said: “I was cleaning up in the garden and this redback was under a rock – I nearly grabbed it in my hand.
“I’ve seen a few redbacks since I’ve lived in Australia and usually they just sit there but this one was a lot more lively and was coming right at me.
“It’s definitely the biggest redback I have ever seen. They’re usually not a very big spider, they just look scary, but they are dangerous and can kill you.
“I was holding my phone quite close to it but I wasn’t really scared – I did start getting a bit scared when it came at me, but I knew it wasn’t a jumping spider.”
Redbacks are highly venomous and are one of the few species of spider which can be seriously harmful to humans because of their venom’s neurotoxicity.
They have previously been known to cause deaths prior to the ntroduction of an antivenom in Australia, which has been available since 1956.
Females usually grow to 10 millimetres long whereas males are much smaller at just 3.5 millimetres long on average.
When Jason posted his video to Facebook, his friends and family in the UK were shocked at his fearless attitude towards filming the deadly female arachnid.
In his footage, he can be heard taunting the spider as it scuttles towards him before calling it a ‘scary Mary’ and ‘cheeky monkey’.
Jason added: “I have a big family back home and everyone in the UK who saw the footage was shocked, saying that they weren’t going to come to Australia.
“Even people who do live here and Australian friends were saying they couldn’t believe how big it was and that they hadn’t seen one that big before.
“It was a pretty big one, but that is the price you pay for living here.”