Once Elina Walsh found an emaciated, two-legged huntsman spider, she did what most people would never think of doing — saved its life.
After hand-fed the spider, dubbed ‘Peggy,’ Ms Walsh won the Hero To Animals award for a month, as her legs grew back.
When she encountered the arachnid, she thought a gecko or bird had attacked it.
“Initially my thought was she wasn’t going to make it and I considered putting her out of her misery,” Ms Walsh said.
“I did a quick Google search and found out that spiders can in fact regrow legs, so I thought I would give it a go.
“I am a huge animal lover, normally huntsmen aren’t my favourite choice of animal but I kind of felt sorry for her and tried to help her out.”
Ms Walsh spent a month feeding small cockroaches with tweezers on the spider; at that time the spider was able to regrow six smaller legs which were noticeable and usable after a moult.
Ms Walsh has a pet tarantula and scorpion, and had an idea of how the huntsman would be fed.
She wants to keep Peggy in her possession until there’s one more moult on the spider and her new legs are more sturdy.
“Now that she has got her legs back she is able to hunt quite well on her own, but the ones that have regrown are quite a bit smaller,” Ms Walsh said.
PETA spokesperson, Emily Rice, said the organisation saw a Facebook post about Ms Walsh’s efforts and wanted to recognise her compassion.
“We take our hats off to this compassionate woman who displayed great care and respect for Peggy and went above and beyond to save her life,” Ms Rice said.
Ms Walsh said the recognition from PETA Australia was unexpected but she is pleased that so many people have taken an interest in the spider’s recovery.
“Everyone has been cheering for her from the get-go.”