If you’re an arachnophobe or otherwise easily squicked out, you’ll definitely want to stop reading right here, because beyond this point there are images of a truly massive huntsman spider that was discovered in Australia. And by “truly massive,” we mean “haunt-your-dreams gigantic.” Really, like the size of your face. And now you’re thinking about it on your face. Just saying, spider-haters, you’ve been forewarned.
If you had any doubt that Australia was the land of NOPE, then this massive huntsman spider should disabuse you of such doubts quite handily. The huge eight-legged beastie comes to us courtesy of Imgur, where user dothesnozberriestastelikesnozberries wonders if it’s the biggest huntsman spider ever photographed in Australia. That’s one of those questions where, if the answer is “no,” we’d prefer that you just don’t tell us.
The original images came from the Facebook page of Barnyard Betty’s Rescue, which originally shared them about a year ago. Barnyard Betty’s Rescue is located in Queensland, Australia, and it bills itself as a sanctuary for “orphaned, mistreated, and unwanted farm animals who if not rescued would be destined for a certain death.”
This huge huntsman – dubbed Charlotte, natch – would almost certainly be destined for death were it to run across the wrong person, but the people running Barnyard Betty’s saw a “beautiful, calm spider” where others might have seen something in need of a healthy dose of fire.
The Barnyard Betty’s crew say that Charlotte the gargantuan spider is indeed real and that the images are in no way photoshopped. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how squeamish you are – there will be no further images of Charlotte. Not because she’s dead, but because the Barnyard Betty’s crew released her onto the sanctuary grounds, where legend has it that she still roams to this day, eating bugs and naughty children who backtalk their parents.
Just kidding; huntsman spiders don’t like bugs.
The Backyard Betty’s crew was taken by surprise by the sudden popularity of the year-old pictures of the massive huntsman. They’re using the opportunity to spread information on the species, though, noting that Charlotte and other spiders “didn’t or doesn’t need to be killed! Poor spiders are so misunderstood!”
They’ve got a point there, as the huntsman spider is no danger to humans, aside from maybe startling the daylights out of anyone coming across one. The huntsman eats bugs and other invertebrates – not naughty children – and it typically lives under loose bark on trees. According to the Australian Museum, the huntsman also lives in crevices of rock walls, in logs, under rocks on the ground, and under foliage, and definitely not right under your desk right now and getting ready to drop onto your leg. Definitely not.
The huntsman species Delena cancerides, the “social huntsman,” tends to gather by the dozen on dead trees and stumps. So there’s that lovely image.
Huntsman spiders are also known to enter houses, and the Australia Museum says that they’re “notorious for entering cars, and being found hiding behind sun visors or running across the dashboard.” So, you know, nowhere is safe.
The huntsman lays up to 200 eggs when reproducing, and the mother will stay with her young for several weeks, helping her huntsman spiderlings emerge from their eggs and showing them the best angles for skittering out of the corner to carry off your dog.
If spiders like the huntsman make your skin crawl, you’ll be happy to know that they rarely bite humans, and their bite can be treated with a cold pack to relieve local pain. In the unlikely event you were bitten by a huntsman and the pain does not subside following the application of a cold pack, seek medical attention and reflect on the life choices that brought you to this point.
And now, for good measure, here’s a clip of another massive huntsman spider trying to eat a mouse. Because everything is awful.
[Featured Image by John Moore/Getty Images]