A woman has told how she deliberately kept a giant female huntsman spider in her letterbox for weeks so it could nest and hatch its young safely.

It was no surprise then that, instead of reeling back in horror, Natasha Joyce celebrated on Tuesday after she opened her letterbox to find that the babies had hatched - hundreds of them.

The La Trobe University student from Bendigo in Victoria was over the moon to find that sprawling mass of the huntsman's babies were now swarming in the nest, the Bendigo Advertiser reports.

Joyce also got the neighbourhood children involved and made the daily visits to check on the spider a "a bit of a science and nature lesson" for everyone.


The children were so excited about the big day for the Holconia huntsman they had called "Hortense: Protector of the Post " that one of them even built her a nursery in the letterbox.

"We checked on her everyday since she moved in six weeks ago and yesterday the eggs hatched," Joyce said.

"There were hundreds, at least two hundred ... we were incredibly excited. It's been a real hit with the neighbourhood kids. They love it. As soon as my four-year-old nephew comes here he says - 'I want to see the big spider lady'.

"And when I looked after friend's daughters, who are six and eight years old, they were so excited about the babies they made Hortense a little nursery, complete with a nappy changing table, cot and sofa."

To make sure everything went to plan Joyce contacted Museums Victoria for advice, and she was warned that the mother huntsman would be "extremely protective of her egg sac" and "will bite much more readily than at other times".

But in the end there was nothing to worry about as Hortense just positioned herself in the corner of the letterbox and even the postman didn't know she was there.

Joyce was also reassured that her garden was not going to overrun by giant hairy spiders, as of the hundreds that were born, only two or three of them would live to adulthood.