Hawaii Trip: The Disaster Reel


[Hello. If you found this page by searching for information on a hideous, giant brown spider that you've encountered in Hawaii, you're probably dealing with a cane spider. The extent of my knowledge of cane spiders is: (1) they are enormous, hairy, brown, and altogether terrifying, (2) they can be aggressive but are not poisonous, (3) they hang out in sugar cane fields (hence the name), and (4) native Hawaiians apparently don't think they're that big of a deal. Below is a story about my encounter with a cane spider during a vacation to the Big Island in summer 2005. In the comments section you'll find links to pictures of cane spiders, and stories from other people about their experiences with cane spiders. Happy hunting.]

Dr M and I just got back from a ten-day trip to the Big Island of Hawaii (otherwise known as the Island of Hawaii). Several dicksload of photos are available here (the automatic slideshow function doesn't seem to work because the Internet is terrible), and I'll be cross-referencing them throughout my numerous blog entries. The last 54 pictures were taken with underwater disposable cameras and are mostly awesome.

In my characteristic manner I've decided to begin the blog series with all the crappy things that happened to us while we were out in the middle of the freakin' ocean. The trip was wonderful overall, definitely one of my best vacations, but there were a few stinkers along the way. And here they are.

1. The Brush Fire

Our first afternoon in Hawaii, while lounging on the balcony of our fabulous timeshare condo, we found ourselves smelling fire in the air and being rained on by ash. The ash rain grew in intensity, as did the Santa Ana brushfire smell, and we wondered if it was The Volcano. It turns out it was a brushfire after all. We decided to go through with our fancy outdoor sunset dinner, ash be damned, and we kept our drinks covered with napkins between sips to avoid drinking ash. The brushfires would continue with varying intensity throughout the trip. See pictures 27, 28, and 32 for some fun smoke.

2. The Urchin

Dr M and I rented two snorkel sets on our second day on island (Snorkel Bob's -- $9 a week for a mask, snorkel, fins, and de-fogger solution, no hard sell to get you to rent the fancier stuff, free hat!), and immediately after obtaining the snorkels we drove off in search of a suitable snorkeling beach. We arrived at what we thought was a particular beach that appeared on our map, but turned out to be a random beach. But no matter. We went snorkeling!

The first thing I noticed about this beach (and most of the beaches we went to) was that there were freaking rocks everywhere. This made it hard to get into the damn water, especially for an uncoordinated oaf like myself. I managed to pick and trip my way into the water where Dr M was waiting impatiently. We swam around and saw fish and our first turtle and it was a lot of fun.

After swimming around for a while we decided to get out. Having never snorkeled before, I didn't know I was supposed to take my fins off before I got out of the water. And so, I clumsily tripped my way over the rocks to the shore, using my hands more than my feet. The whole experience was pretty painful and uncomfortable, mainly because all the rocks were rough at best and jagged at worst (mostly jagged, as it turned out). However, at one point my hand groped onto a spot where the pain was distinctly more severe than the usual rock formation -- it felt like sticking my hand into a pile of broken glass, and sent a painful tingle up my arm.

I finally got out and look at my finger where the pain had localized. In addition to the bleeding I saw four or five streaks of blue dye underneath my skin, and each streak had a corresponding blue splinter-like object dug deep into the skin. I had been stung! By something!

I showed my finger to Dr M and we decided that we may as well go to the urgent care clinic we had seen a few miles up the road. As we turned toward the car we heard a voice calling to us from a nearby house.

"Sea urchin! You got stung by a sea urchin!" It was an old native Hawaiian, excitedly yelling at us with helpful information and advice. "Vinegar! Soak it in vinegar! Or urinate!"

He walked toward us and we met him near his lawn. I showed him my finger. "Yeah, sea urchin," he said. "Soak it in vinegar, or urinate on it if you don't have any."

"Thanks," I said, still in a great deal of pain. "How do I get the spines out?"

"You don't get them out," he said. "The vinegar dissolves." Fabulous. I gathered my snorkeling crap together while Dr M made small talk with the old man. He told us about how when he was a kid, before he and his friends had cars, they would get stung by urchins all the time and just pee on it. He asked Dr M where we were from and she told him we were from San Francisco. He didn't know where San Francisco is. The man knows how to treat an urchin sting, but not so much on the geography.

It was a few miles to Safeway so as Dr M loaded the car I crouched down behind a rock formation and whizzed on my finger. Like magic, the pain subsided instantaneously. My hand smelled like piss, but at least it didn't hurt. We picked up a bottle of vinegar and I soaked my pee-y finger in it all the way home, and for a while that afternoon. I soaked the damn thing for so long that even after repeated hand-washings my finger still smelled like vinegar. I had pickled my finger.

Fortunately the vinegar soak did in fact dissolve most of the smaller bits of spine, but there was still a large piece that was dug in quite deep and didn't seem to go away. The blue dye was absorbed rather quickly. Some impromptu surgery with a needle freed most of the spine fragments, and at this point scar tissue has formed around the remaining bits. I'm predicting that the spines will be absorbed into my bloodstream and I'll get super urchin powers. Photos 24 and 25 sort of show my injured finger en route to Safeway.

3. The Volcano

I'm really glad we went to the Volcano. Even though we were miserable most of the time, and spent much of the day wishing we were on a hot beach instead of being pelted with freezing rain on a Monument to Nature's Fury, it's the kind of thing that I would have been sad to have left Hawaii without even trying.

The Volcano trip is a story best told in pictures (and captions), so I invite you to enjoy pictures 50-90 and their associated captions, which were written with the aid of much bitterness and also vodka.

4. The Spider

On (what we thought would be) our last night in Hawaii, Dr M and I were about to get ready to go to sleep when I noticed some movement near the ceiling outside our bedroom door. I told Dr M I was going to go get some water and brush my teeth, and went out and investigated the movement.

An aside here. I'm not really afraid of spiders. I certainly don't consider myself a full-on arachnophobe, meaning I'm not afraid of spiders in the way that I'm afraid of heights, lions, or success. But once a spider reaches a certain size, it afraids me. My rule of thumb is, if a spider looks like it's big enough to kill a mammal -- any mammal -- I'm afraid of it. So when I looked up and saw, lurking above the bedroom door, a spider that looked like it could kill a horse (not with venom, but by strangling it), my balls retreated forcefully into my abdomen and my heart decided that maybe I didn't really need it to beat for the next few minutes or so.

I went back into the bedroom, went up to Dr M, who was still in bed, and told her there was a really big spider outside the bedroom door.

"How big?" she asked, the Fear beginning to spread across her face (Dr M is afraid of spiders in all shapes and sizes).

"Big," I said.

"How big?"

"Like, tropical big." I resisted the urge to demonstrate the beast's size with my hands, but she got the idea. My first instinct was to just get dressed and leave. I know that doesn't make much sense, but even now I feel like if I saw one of these things in my own house I would just burn the house down and steamroll the ashes. This was a very large spider.

Somehow overcoming my crippling fear, I decided to try and kill it, and grabbed a nearby large book. I headed back toward the door and saw that the spider had decided for itself to come in and join the party, and was now making its way over the door frame. It then disappeared through the slats into an adjacent closet. I kept Dr M up to date on all this and she, who had managed to avoid seeing the monster, decided to leave the room and ask the Internet what kind of spider we were dealing with. She left me to draw the thing out of the closet.

I went to open the closet door, fully expecting to be met with a crawling lair of millions of giant spiders. But I never got the chance -- the spider had cleverly retreated into the locked utility closet that resort guests couldn't open. I told Dr M the latest and she decided to call the management company and get someone to come and open the closet. She explained our situation to the person on the phone, who told her that they couldn't send someone until the morning and maybe we could just sleep in another bedroom. Great! Here was a spider as big as a housecat, that for all we knew was fatally venomous, and could jump or fly or maybe do long division, and the management's advice was, "So yeah, just go ahead and go to sleep about twenty feet away from where you last saw it. I'm sure it won't bother you."

Dr M then called the concierge of the nearby hotel to see if she could at least figure out what we were dealing with (the World Wide Web proved to be an unhelpful resource on the spiders of Hawaii). The concierge told Dr M what I had feared all along -- we were very probably dealing with a Brown Recluse Spider, one bite from which is enough to land you a guest spot on Animal Planet's next episode of "Fucking Scary Fucking Animals That Will Totally Kill You." This fear was bolstered by the fact that, judging by the Web's coverage of spiders, the Brown Recluse is basically the only spider in the world.

Honestly, I didn't care what kind of spider it was. It was enough that the spider was (1) huge, (2) hairy, (3) enormous, (4) quite unreasonably big, and (5) in the house. I didn't care if its bite did nothing but simulate an orgasm. I didn't want it in the house, and that opinion wasn't going to be affected by finding out its name. As Dr M and I fretted over the appropriate course of action I noticed that a few flexible tree branches were showing up over the bedroom door, and surmised that the spider had finished whatever business it had in the utility closet and was coming back out to see where the party had gone. I shooed Dr M into another room and, arming myself with a broom and a phonebook, decided to take on the beast once and for all.

I tracked the bastard as he skittered along the ceiling toward the sliding balcony doors. I knew that I couldn't let him get to the doors. As much as I would have liked to just let him go outside and live the rest of his life as a giant spider, I knew that there was no guarantee he wouldn't come back once the heat died down. But I was also scared shitless of getting close enough to do anything. I couldn't reach him with the phonebook, and I couldn't nail him with the broom unless I was sure he would fall onto a spot where I could finish him off (as opposed to behind the couch). Then, I saw my opportunity.

He was going for the balcony, and he climbed past one of the big wooden sliding doors. Seizing my chance, I threw the other sliding door down the track and crashed it into the door the spider had just crawled begind, hoping to crush the spider between the two doors. No good. Just as the doors collided the spider slipped back into the room, onto the wall, and tensed up. It stood there, glued to the wall, and didn't move.

"I think I wounded it!" I called to Dr M. "Stay in there."

I crashed the doors together again, and the spider took a few steps and then seized up again. Another exploratory crash, another few steps, another standstill. I may not have taken out any of its legs, but I may have stunned it, and at least it knew that it was now in hostile territory.

There was nothing left for me to do but the obvious. The spider was over an area of open carpet, so I grabbed the broom, mustered every ounce of courage, and thrust the end of the broom directly into its massive body. I kept the bristles pressed against the beast for a while, pumping my arms a few times, before pulling the broom away and jumping back. The spider tumbled to the ground, landing on its back with its legs in the familiar death tangle above its smashed body. One or two legs were twitching feebly.

It was clearly done for but I had to be sure. I gave it a few fierce whacks with the broom. Now in a decidedly more flattened state, it wasn't moving at all. But, given my scorched earth approach to pest control, I wasn't done.

I threw the broom aside and grabbed the phonebook. Thankfully, it was hardcover. I imagine that Hawaiians find themselves using phonebooks as weapons quite often, so the phone company decided to give them a little more firepower. I dropped the book onto the spider's carcass, stepped on it, and ground it into the floor (miraculously, the spider had landed on a small non-carpeted area of the floor that covered a floor outlet, so I don't think I did much damage to the carpet). I left the book. I was satisfied that I had killed the spider and there was no way I was looking at that thing again.

"It's dead!" I called. Dr M came out. I pointed to the phonebook and suggested she stay away from it.

The rest of the night kind of sucked. We kept a bunch of lights on and slept under a sheet. Dr M, who through all that never laid eyes on the monster, fell asleep rather quickly and stayed asleep for most of the night. I lay awake, under the hot sheet, distracted by the dull lights, and re-living that terrible first full sighting over and over again for a few hours before falling into a restless sleep for about four hours. When I would get up to go to the bathroom (which was often, since I had generated quite a bit of adrenaline throughout the experience) I couldn't take my eyes off the ceiling. Every unseen place was a threat. I was sure there would be a giant spider under the turlet seat, seeking vengeance for his fallen comrade. I was seriously fucking freaked out.

Dr M and I got up at about 6:30 the following morning. We didn't have our usual balcony breakfast, no pleasant quiet last morning in the Hawaii condo. We just packed up the rest of our things, constantly looking over our shoulders at the ceilings, checking our shoes, etc. We didn't bother packing up or throwing away the food we had bought. I didn't even take out the trash. I never moved the phonebook. We headed to the management office at around 7:30.

We planned to tell the woman at the management office what had happened, and complain a bit about the response we had gotten when Dr M called the night before. All the same, I anticipated a level of disdain that can be expected from those who choose to live their lives around giant arthropods when visitors get scared of said arthropods. Kind of like Californians and earthquakes. Sure enough, when we told her we thought that we had battled what appeared to be a giant Brown Recluse Spider the night before, her response was, "A what?"

"Brown Recluse," I said, holding my hands (that's right, hands -- plural) out to demonstrate size. "It's a large brown spider with extremely deadly venom."

"Oh, the big brown spiders?" she said, grinning. "Those are our cane spiders. They're completely harmless. We have them all over." She then explained all about how cane spiders like sugar cane, and they're basically kittens with eight legs, and when she was a kid and they burned the sugar cane the cane spiders would come swarming out and throw big parties for everybody, with lots of confetti and cake and rum. Especially the rum.

"Well anyway, I killed it," I said. "It's under a phonebook on the carpet. Whoever goes in there next to clean or whatever should know that there's a giant dead spider under the phonebook." She told us that she would go in and take care of it. Like I said, disdain. But given the fact that I don't live in the tropics, the only giant spiders I had ever seen were either in cages or on TV, and up until the night before the largest household spiders I had ever encountered were the size of a quarter, I don't think it was unreasonable for me to be freaked out by finding a spider as big as George Washington's actual head.

(There are no pictures with this story. I'm finishing this in the midst of Disaster #5.)

5. The Delay

After the spider imbroglio Dr M and I had about 14 hours to kill before our flight home. We spent the morning reading at Starbucks, then had lunch, then drove over a mountain and back along the north coast of the Big Island, then more reading at Starbucks, then dinner, then we returned the rental car at the airport and checked in, and found out that our flight had been delayed four hours.

Four hour delay, whatever, it happens, it's annoying. There's nothing particularly unique about this delay, so I'm going to write about another delay I experienced a few years ago, my freshman year in college in fact. When I would go down to visit my family on break, I would fly Southwest out of Ontario to Oakland. The plane into Ontario came from Phoenix, and once my flight was delayed for three hours because of an air show in Phoenix. Now, you're probably thinking what I was thinking, and what I still think to this day: Isn't an air show the kind of thing the airlines should be able to plan around? An airshow isn't like a thunderstorm. It doesn't just appear out of nowhere. At the time I imagined the bewildered air traffic controllers in the tower at Phoenix:

"Okay, let's get that Southwest flight off the grou- Holy shit! What's that on the horizon? Gus, do you see that?"

"Aw, hell, Kurt! It's an air show! Comin' right at us! We need to ground all our flights until this thing blows over."

Tonight's delay is apparently due to mechanical problems in Los Angeles. Which is good, because, you know, I wasn't freaked out enough already flying over the vast nothingness of the Pacific Ocean for five hours in pitch blackness. Now I get to do it in a plane that's recovering from mechanical problems! Hooray! Mechanical problems!

Pictures 229-231 do some small amount of justice to our exhausted frustration during our last few hours in Hawaii.

Up next: The Beaches!


Your spider should fight my bat. I think it would be a good match.

when i lived in washington one summer it was the mating season of the hobo spider (which looks like the brown recluse but is not poisonous) and they were EVERYWHERE. they were also the size of my palm and covered in fur. my cats killed/ate several of them inside my apartment, as did i. except for the eating part. it was disgusting. and i am totally afraid of spiders. kristen was over and saw one and moved faster than i've ever seen anyone move to get on top of the couch. i took off my shoe and smashed it a couple times though.

If only you'd had the Phial of Galadriel with you, that cane spider would have been no trouble at all.

Eloise getting no love eh

gah, horrible dreams about spiders all night long. i blame you, matt.

seriously. i enjoyed this post immensely but now i keep imagining an enormous evil cane spider sneaking up behind me and tapping its hairy paw against my exposed ankle. then i shriek like a girl. then i get in trouble with my boss for disrupting the corporate environment. curse you, matt.

No need to worry, Kristen. The cane spider stayed close to the ceiling until I knocked it to its death, and every picture of the beast I've found on the Internet also has it clinging to the top of a wall. So clearly it's an aerial creature, and your ankles are safe. And even if it leaps onto you from above, you'll never have the chance to be scared by it, since its weight would crush you instantly.

Matt, I am sitting at my desk, trying to "skim" your extensive journal on Hawaii and got to the stung by an urchin entry. I was laughing so loudly someone came to my office to see what was up? Thank you....u are hysterical. John's MOM

Laugh riot. I think the only thing I might have done differently is beaten the internet into a bloody pulp until it finally gave up the goods about what I was dealing with. (Looking harder into this, I wonder what I would have found before you became google's first result for "hawaii scary brown spider".)

I don't think I would have gone anywhere near the damn thing without know exactly what I was up against. Some of those damn things can jump, I hear. And some can spit. And I think I've heard that some of them carry dueling gloves. I do not want a duel with a spider.

Okay, you want more info: see here.

You want more scary: click on the pictures here

I too ran across this enormous spider in a hotel bathroom in Kauai this past weekend. My boyfriend and I were brushing our teeth in the morning, when I decided to rinse my mouth. I was about to fill the glass with water, when I noticed this huge spider overtaking the entire water glass. I still can't get it out of my head, although, my boyfriend is having no issues after the fact. He took the glass, covered it with another glass, and brought it down to the front desk. We were then told it was a Cane spider. Ugly, hairy, oversized creatures.

Your story was hilarious. Thanks for sharing. I was looking on the web for descriptions of this spider, and your story was better than any other entry out there.

Dang.. awesome spidey story. We moved into a new development in 95 and our home had the cane spideys invading at least 1x a week. I can totally relate. I used to wake up at night and think I would see them on my bed...that's how bad it was!!!!!!We had Durisban and the vacuum on hand 24/7 for the first 3 years!!!! Yikes!

I have lived here in hawaii for about 8 years now on Oahu. I can assure you that cane spiders do not stay on the ceiling actually i have only seen on on my ceiling i find most of them behind curtains or under furniture, and sometimes in clothing. we find them daily in our house. Hope that makes you feel better

God. I am never going to Hawaii again.

I live in Hawaii and found your site when I was googling various critters to see what stung me a couple of nights ago. Turns out it probably was a scorpion (yes, we have those, too), although I didn't actually see it. But that's what the itchy, painful area looks like, according to several experts (i.e., people in bars) -- a scorpion sting. They're not as venomous here as on the mainland. Besides, it sounds a lot cooler to say, "I got stung by a scorpion" than any of the available alternatives (centipede, spider, bee).

But I would rather encounter a scorpion than a cane spider. Those buggahs terrify me! And they jump. Did you know that? They leap through the air at people! I have a fear of a cane spider getting in my car and hurling itself at my face while I'm speeding along the freeway.

But I'd take a cane spider over a centipede any day. *Those* are nasty!

my mother and I happened upon your blog and laughed our asses off at your battle with the cane spider. My boyfriend (who is new to hawaii) had a similar experiance. It took all I had to wipe that smug 'i killed the beast' look off his face. Maybe we should put up warnings at the airport for tourists.

Wow! Best Cane Spider Story I've ever heard! Just happened to come across this while I was researching the spider import regulations for one of my clients thinking of moving here (yes, he wants to bring more spiders here! Ahhh!) Growing up here I guess I'm kinda immune to the crippling fear experienced by most mainlanders when it comes to those things....however I can recall my own SCARY experience with those beasts. I was about 9 or 10 years old, at home out in Hawaiian Acres (aka the boonies) and getting ready to go to sleep on one of those dinky little fold out mattresses (which are only about 4 inches thick) and wouldn't you know it...one of those BIG HAIRY SPIDERS ran across my FACE! Needless to say I didn't sleep well that night....

But other than that, those are rarely seen in my neck of the woods, thank god, I really hate spiders.

Thanks for sharing your Big Island experience..


Oh man, you're totally funny! I grew up on the Big Island. Our house was built in a rural area, surrounded by cane fields. When they used to burn the fields the spiders came out. Now I'm totally terrified of spiders to this day and I totally blame the cane spiders. When I was 14, my bed used to be up against the wall in my room, right under the window. One night, the cool breeze was blowing the curtains over my bed while I was trying to sleep. For some reason I woke up in the middle of the night. Then I felt something on my chin that slowly touched my lip. I knew EXACTLY what it was. In about 2 seconds, I had flung it off my face, leaped out of bed, ran to the closet, got a wire hanger out, and started beating it into the carpet, all the while screaming for my Mom. Needless to say, it was REALLY difficult to get back to sleep as my mom wouldn't let me move the bed in the middle of the night.

Why the hell do I keep tormenting myself by reading this entire thread every time someone posts in it to say that they, too, have been in intimate contact with an enormous hairy spider?

Fine. When in Rome. I found a big black wolf spider in my house this morning, half-squashed between the bathroom door and doorframe, with legs sticking out in all directions. It was disgusting. I hope you're all happy.

Another question: Why the hell did I just search for "wolf spider" at Google images? Especially after having a full-on spider nightmare last night.

All things considered I'd rather find a smashed wolf spider than a live wolf spider. But the best kind of wolf spider to find is no wolf spider at all.

Eegah, too much spider talk. Now my psyche is a war between my pathological fear of spiders and the temptation of Pandora's Image Search to look up wolf spiders myself.

Ack! Ack! Oh, god, Matt, why did you have to mention Google images?

Zach: do not look it up. Do not even do a regular Google search for wolf spiders, because you do not want to see the three sample images that will show up on the results page. Trust me on this. Even I, knowing that the ones around my house are really not very big examples of the breed, cannot handle the hugeness and closeupness. Tie yourself to the mast, plug your ears, do whatever you must. Do not Google.

Yeah. Just picture a lovable cartoon spider with a wolf's head, big googly eyes, and a top hat. That's all you need to know.

You should've just let the spider walk outside and do its thing. It doesn't want to be near you any more than you want to be near it. No need to kill it, and certainly no need to **** a brick over it.

Nice Story...I came accross it 'cuz I just found a mean looking spider in my garage on the Big Island and wanted to know what it was...he or should I say she...as it turns out is a brown widow...yes...I have heard of black widows but never a brown one...She is in a jar sitting next to me as I type. Oh by the way...living on the Big Island just got more exciting with the earthquake last week...hell we're famous now. All of you West coasters can laugh all you want but it scared the shit out of me...not to mention with each of the 200 some odd aftershocks my ass puckers even more.

Enjoyed the read...Take Care

You are an awesome writer! I had a horrific cane spider encounter ehen I lived in Hawaii too, much the same as your own except worse as it was crawling over my husband's shoulder and was less than a foot from my face when I saw it. I completely freaked out, hyperventilated, and ran screaming down the hall "SPIDER!!!" I ran into the bathroom and slammed the door only to see my husband running after me, equally in terror! (He was a big tough Marine, mind you....but as you point out, this spider is enormous!). He tried a number of ways to destroy it, but jumping on it didn't work, I guess ours had thicker legs than yours. He finally ended up HAMMERING it to death! And I spent the entire rest of my life there (5 years) EVERY day scanning the walls and corners and ceilings of whereever I happened to be, in constant fear of another encounter. Which, by the way, DID happen. I have had 5 of them in my house at one time or another. And each time, ran screaming for help.
I enjoyed your story - nice to hear someone else who hates those things too!
Beth McGuire

I'm moving to Honolulu. I wanted to know what arachnids were lurking about, and I found your story! Right on dude! I have had to conquer my own crippling fear of spiders by actually making myself pick them up and let them crawl on me(as I cried into oblivion and peed my pants a time or three),because I could no longer function from the knee-knocking terror I suffered each time I entered a room with a broom before going to bed! When I lived in Idaho as a child,the wolf-spiders had their own fast lane on the highway! They were the size of baby tarantulas! I was convinced that if I got bit,they would paralize me and suck me completely dry! One day I was sitting on the couch-paralized by the terror I was experiencing, as I was in a staring match with a HUGE,brown,hairy,wolf spider! As I began to scream(mind you it was across the room actually looking at me-yes they have eyes), I felt something like a lead-truck climbing up my bare leg using ice-spikes, grapples or something of the sort etc...) I looked down to see it's identical twin-heading up for my precious nethers! After a continuous 10 minute scream that could wake the dead,and a dance that nearly dislodged the floor-beams under the house, I was able to free myself from the combat-boot wearing arachnid that ran and hid behind the couch-deep in the tall forest of brown shag carpet! I was arachni-phobic from that moment on! After many years of more spider horror stories-I won't tell the one about the outhouse and the black-widow across the open seat-or the one that I accidently ate-or the one that flew in the window and dangled down my bangs causing me to run off the road-or the one that scared all six of our out cats out of the house-I don't want to be blamed for costing you folks thousands in therapy bills so I won't bore you with the nightmarish details-but I have faced my fears and now-I can lasoo and pet a cave-dwelling, man-eating fur-coat wearing tank with eight, body-builder's legs and fangs that Bram Stoker would envy! Sweet-dreams all! Hawaii here I come! Karen

I found one of these enormous beasts in my house last night!!! I seriously thought that it may have been a brown recluse also. The spider that I found was much bigger than the one that you have described....my little house guest was about 8 inches across. My camera phone was sitting next to me when I saw it...so I snapped a couple of pictures of it because I knew that no one was going to believe me! I tried to kill it with a broom...but it saw me coming for it and it literally jumped at me! I was planning on moving this weekend...needless to say- that got moved up to about 5 minutes after that thing scurried under the couch! I have to go back to the house to get my belongings...like you said in your story...I am seriously not going back in there alone..considering buying new things!! Ha ha. As I said, I took a couple of pictures of the spider...all the people at work said that they had never seen a cane spider that huge before...even the local people that I work with. Just my luck!
I am glad to know that I am not the only person that encountered this sort of monsterous spider and freaked out too! Just like you...I am not afraid of spiders usually...I am pretty much the designated spider-killer on all camping trips and such...but this one was out of my league!!
Thanks for your story!!!

Your account rivals any Benny Hill episode I've ever watched as well as the Monty Pythons of the marijuana days. I however am stupid enough to be planning on living there for my old age, or dimensia as it were!
My Story? Thanks for asking.

Once upon a time, in a moment of nostalgia and melencholy, I purchased my mothers property by the City of Refuge on the Big Island. It currently has a "Shack" with a seperate outdoor bathroom on the property. Callng it a "Shack" is code for termite riddled roach infested cane spider harbinger!
This last trip was a recon mission (as my husband calls it). To see what the rules, reg's and codes of Hawaii were going to prevent us from doing on our own property. While there I totally revamped the bathroom and made it look like a cute little bungalow inside. I was quite proud of the perfume I managed to pour on that pig. One evening just before dusk I was posturing to shower, patiently waiting for my husband to finish his, dutifully holding a towel for him. He slides open the shower curtain, I hand him the towel and request that he remain in the bathroom with me, you know, roach and spider guard, to which he says OK but go outside and check to see if the fire is still going (that is code for run for your life but I was not privy to this partiuicular code) I in my independent ,you cant hold me down, I am woman hear me roar attitude reply; "I can see it from here its fine! To which he replies, "OK" (which is code
for "take a valium") and without further negotiations calmly reaches up above his head to the left of him, with a foot shaped pedicure callous remover and gives a whack with it on my nice sage green walls. Immediately something from the scifi channel comes running across and down the wall towards me with something that reflected on its back like glass and legs as big around as my fingers. I let loose with a "one flew over the cookoos nest" scream that came from one of my multiple personalities. I was walking in place and trembling. My husband cant belive this sound is coming from me and is not very comforting at this moment. He is currently afrad that all the Hawaiians in the area have heard me, including my dead relatives, and are making there way toward this sound ready to kill the poor naked hauli man who is beating this local woman to death!!!!
Later when I could breath again and the straight jacket had been removed and the thorazine had worn off, I confided in him that I was very close to histeria in there. His reply? "Hell honey you had passed histera and moved right on to INSANITY!!!
This story is the very reason I came upon your site, I was researching how to keep Cane spiders out. One of these days I'll tell you about my Cane Spider on the speedometer at night STORY.
The Crazy Hawaiian

I so love your spider story......I have lived in Hawaii on the island of Oahu all my life.....I have NEVER gotten use to the spiders......Yes they are huge....I hate when I see them in my house....When I see them I just curl in fear....sometimes they wake me in the night....When I do come accross them I will not rest till it is dead....I mean curling dead.....if i can not kill it I sleep at my parents house...YES that is how much I hate them.....I think that is one fear I WILL never over come......I give you so much creadit for killing it.....they say they don't bit....but hay I must say I got bit from one and need to go to the hospital...no joke.....it took 3 months plus to heal......ever since then I don't even get close to one....Great story...I was laughing so hard ONLY cause I been in that situation a million times.....great.....

The spider story is the best story in the world...it should be published!! I'd buy it!

Matt, I was doing a bit of research on spiders of Hawaii and found your website. It is very late here and now I can't go to bed because I KNOW I will dream of those cane spiders. I have never been to Hawaii and have always dreamed of going there...until now. Seriously though, I was talking to a guy who's wife is Hawaiian and I told him about my desire to go to Hawaii but I was deathly afraid of spiders. Well, he informed me that there are no spiders in Hawaii and as I'm very gullible and have this misplaced trust in people I believed him. OH what a fool I was. I see now he was teasing me and if he still lived in my neighborhood I would go and give him a piece of my mind but alas he has moved on (I hope his new home becomes infested with spiders). Oh what a cruel way to find out I've been had...not only does Hawaii have spiders but it has kick-ass bionic spiders from hell. DAMN...maybe I won't go there in this lifetime. I'll wait for a lifetime when I do NOT have arachnaphobia-if that ever happens. Great story though! Kudos to you for being able to get close enough to the evil being to kill it. I once heard a spider story from Australia where a guy tried to kill a spider with a broom and the spider ran up the broom towards the guy and the fella quickly dropped the broom and ran screaming from the house! Really though, is there anything worse than being surprised by a spider?? I've had 16 major operations and I'd have every one of them again if it meant I would never have to see another spider in my life!....got to go shake these spider willies now....

lol... I read about your spider experience and I don't blame you at all for your reaction. I came across you story by searching the "web" to identify a spider I saw running under our front deck. I live on Maui (only been here 2 months though) and I'm trying to get familiar with the threats and non-threats so to speak. I have yet to see a cane spider... I'm not really afraid of spiders (except the ones that could kill me, however, I don't believe I would like to ever see a cane spider even if it gave me rum. And you're absolutely right... you can't find jack crap on the internet about "Hawaii Spiders"... I spent two hours last night trying to identify the medium sized gray spider I had seen with no success... :/
So, fantastic story and I love your Animal Planet "show title" lol... awesome. Thanks for sharing your stories! :D

Storm :P~

I was just working on my homework using my cane spider story as an example when I came upon yours while looking for an image. When I was little we lived in Hawaii. Picture this: Mom and dad in the front seat, four little kids side by side in the back. One (me at about 5 years old) starts screaming shrilly, and multiple slaps on the thigh does nothing to interrupt the screaming. Dad pulls car over, sure I was going to get it now. Did I care? No! -- we all came rushing and screaming out of the car and three cane spiders exited before we got back in. One had been crawling up the seat beside of me. I remember them being larger than my lap. Thought that maybe it was one of those stories that grows with age, but you've confirmed my memory is not faulty on this one! Took dad a lot of cajoling and threatening to get us back in the car after that one.

Thanks for your story and patience with letting me share mine!

only an asshole would kill a spider. why didn't you just put it outside and leave it be. if you're so alienated from nature you've only got yourself to blame. your humor isn't funny, it's like you've been watching too much television. try and find yourself...

I live in Hawaii. My first trip to Hawaii in 2005 I stepped on a sea urchin and I can relate to how freaking painful that is. And we actually had a cane spider make his way into out house this morning! Luckily our cat killed it though!

You're possibly one of the biggest pussies on earth!

hi my name is kacie
i have recently been to hawaii and went snorkeling .while i was down there i saw many interresting things like fish and 2 puffer fish. i was their with my best friend teleni we were having lots of fun. my friend teleni is scared of almost everything in the ocean like fish rocks crab turtels well i am more on the dare devilish side . i have swam with manarays the size of a car and smaller ones that i have touched also have been on things like the drop of doomat west edmonton mall. anyways as we were snorkeling we saw eseay 50 urchins and man can i tell u they freaked me out. how big was the urchin that stung you? and what color was it?

kacie age 12

I must say that you are a very negative person. You say "The trip was wonderful overall, definitely one of my best vacations, but there were a few stinkers along the way."
If you are looking to get away from fires then i think that you should go to the bottom of the sea or somewhere there is no oxygen then you will be safe.
If you are going to Snorkel Bob's I will give you a hint the de-fogger solution is actually baby shampoo. Also yes peeing on the urchin wound does work and if you don't want to listen to the locals about that then have fun at the hospital. :) Also you make the locals seem ignorant by saying that they don't know where San Fran is. Does that really matter?! He helped YOU out and YOU are getting him down for not knowing where you are from... with your attitude I wouldn't blame him if he doesn't ever want to know where your from.
The cane spider didn't hurt you and you shouldn't have killed it. Honestly I wish that it wasn't our cane spiders that you met with, I really wish that you had a bad experience with our centipedes.
Too bad you didn't fall out of the sky on your five hour fight on your way out to "the middle of the freakin' ocean" as to prevent your bad experiences and save you the whining. STAY HOME if you want to grumble about someone else's home.

I think the last post was from a Hawaiian.
that was a funny ass story. I have this huge bite on my arm, and I was googleing "hawaiian spiders" because we just got back from Hawaii a couple weeks ago and thought maybe we brought back a traveler. No cane spiders I dont think. great story

Awesome story! I was rolling with laughter! I remember when I first arrived on Oahu, and moved into my apartment that I came across this "pretty little thing." I had previously lived in Arkansas in a townhouse with my ten month old son that just happened to be infested with the real brown recluses. I am VERY scared of spiders, so when one day I happen to see my son in our brand new apartment's bathroom playing with his toys while I unpacked other boxes about a foot away from our towel rack...which happened to have a new design on the towel that had not been there before...I freaked! It's leg span literally reached to the ends of the towel while it was hanging. For a second my brain could not calculate where I had bought, or why for that matter, a spider designed towel. I yiped so loud my son, who had just turned one, looked at me like I was crazy then looked at where I happened to be staring and started to cry. Even he knew that thing was not supposed to crawl out of the television and into real life. I snatched him up from the floor, ran into the living room, grabbed my phone and dialed my husband at work in the span of a second! I could not go back into the bathroom, and only checked every few seconds to make sure it hadn't moved. I thought it was a mutant brown recluse! My husband laughed at first and joked about it with his co-workers, but that only pissed me off, so I told him that if I had it in my HANDS, it's legs would be dangling! I'm six foot tall with very large hands for a women...needless to say, he came home. My husband is a Marine...a five foot six Marine...I was afraid he would go into that bathroom and be eaten alive! Luckily I have not come across another one of those mutant spiders...oh, and my husband survived. ;)

I love your writing style by the way! If I would have had the nerve to kill the spider like you did, I would have done it in a heartbeat! Too many of those suckers anyway!

I too had one of those suckers on my arm a few years back. I had a heck of a time getting it off! I lived there for 6 years and each day away, makes my heart weak. I lived in Oahu from 1996-2002. I am planning to move back in Feb 2010. Have you ever gone back or did the spiders keep you away.

Take care

Oh dude!! I think I wet myself laughing!! You should write books or comedy routines. Holy cow!! I needed that, thanks so much!

I lived in a cane house across the ditch from a cane field on Kauai from 1977-1980. The house had 4 rooms with a 3'x4' passage that went from the living room to the 2 bedrooms. A cane spider decided to take up residence on the ceiling in this small area. There was no way I could figure to catch it on the ceiling without knocking the darned thing down, possibly onto myself. The normal route to the bathroom was through one of the bedrooms. Fortunately, there was also an outdoor entrance to the bathroom, which I used until for a month until spidey decided to move on. A friend once saw one drag a grape from the table and suck all the juice out of it. I once saw one jump 3'.

In Washington state we have Wolf Spiders. They only grow to about 2", but also jump. In the fall, they move indoors and are often found in the tub. The creep thing is when you're sitting quietly watching TV and suddenly one dashes across the floor.

If I remember correctly, the average human eats 28 spiders in their lifetime (when we're asleep) so I guess the good news about cane spiders is that if you eat one, you've had your quotient!

Okay, I just moved my family ( husband & five children) to the Big Island. Our house is enormous, seven bedrooms, four bath on five acres. Inground pool, spa, and sauna. We are all so happy, What more could I ask for?
Damn it! Why did I have to ask?
( I ambulate by wheelchair as a result of a accident a few years back). It is the resting day after our big New Years party. I just put the little ones to bed, Off to the emergency room after putting it off for the holiday weekend. My husband is loading up my wheelchair, and our oldest daughter (16) is grabbing the bags. After my sweet and attentive husband puts me in the car, he heads to the trunk to load up the chair. I had just given our kids a fruit called romboton, (reddish in color but looks completely odd, funky long strains and like a big grape inside) Trying new things is important, never the less sitting in the car I remember thinking " now why would the kids leave a rumboton in the car, and why do I not remember giving it to them in the car? While I sat staring at what I thought was fruit, that fuckin thing sprang out of the little compartment toward me!
What do I do? As I am screaming like a child, I fall out of the car! Still screaming yup!
My husband is now looking at me like "what the HELL?". My heart is racing the Indie 500, Ready to cry, all I could say was spider! He then comes to help get me off the ground while laughing at me (no not with me) at me! He says "baby are you serious", A Spider? Yeah like I freakin expected a rumboton to jump out and get my ass! This whole time my sixteen year old is ready to piss her pants! By this time my husband was around the drivers side with the door open, with no clue what kind of monster awaited!
Next you hear, " what the, HOLY SHIT"! Only if we had a camera close by! Trust me when I say this thing was enormous, hairy, and not a romboton! Bless my husband cause I was not getting in that car with that thing still in there! After about an hour of the cat and mouse game, the spider won! Nope let's just say, I am waiting another night to go to the ER! I called the exterminator to see if they could spray my car as well as the normal perimeter, Yup, he laughed too! (I only spray my perimeter to keep the kids safe) I did all my research about the island and culture, I even studied about the poisonous centipede, so how the Hell did I miss Spiders of such extreme size? We had spent about an hour looking at photos and I still have the he bee je bees!
The series of events that took place tonight have left my family in stitches laughing, maybe you will enjoy it too!
Ps. Hawaii is the most beautiful place to live or even to visit, but understand that it is the beauty of the people just makes it paradise! Your missing out if you don't make it in this lifetime! Aloha.

After living on Maui for 7 years, I guess I should consider myself lucky that I've only seen about 5 cane spiders.
The most impressive ... "incident"... happened about a year ago. I had just come home from work, around 11pm. I started about my normal routine...
Standing in the bathroom, brushing my teeth vigorously, I noticed a movement coming from the next bathroom (yes, we have 2 side by side). Curious, I peeked my head around the corner and encountered a cane spider.
It was big. Really big.
I freaked out. Now remember, I was about to get in the shower. Therefore I was naked. I was also brushing my teeth. Therefore I was foaming at the mouth.
I ran into the living room (naked and foaming at the mouth) where my husband was innocently watching tv.
He saw me right away, as I had probably made quite a bit of noise coming down the hallway with a quickness.
This was all I could think to say.
Not "there's a big *******spider, can you please murder it for me", or "help!"...
My chosen words while standing there once again naked and foaming at the mouth were "alert!".
Needless to say, the spider is no longer with us, although we did TRY to get it outside to no avail.

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This page contains a single entry by hb published on August 11, 2005 8:46 PM.

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