An Australian tradesman had the adrenaline rush of his life when he encountered a huge flesh-eating spider while pumping concrete at Oyster Bay, Sydney. When he found the beast crawling up his shoulder, he managed to be calm and picked it up.
Further, he took a photo of the monster spider and posted it on his Facebook page, asking the opinions of people about what they thought it was. Turned out, it was a huge Australian tarantula.
"I'm not easily scared but was a little freaked about the size of it," the 30-year-old tradesman told Daily Mail Australia. People on social media praised the man's courage and also speculated about the spider that looked like the stuff of nightmares.
Here, IBTimes Singapore brings you six facts about the Australian tarantula or Australian bird eating spider which will make a chill run down your spine.
1. They are Australia's biggest and most dangerous spiders
The giant spider species can have a body up to 6 cm long, with legs going up to 16 cm, which is roughly the size of a human hand. Their fangs can grow as long as a snake's, that is one centimetre long. However, they are not as ferocious as they look. Mostly, they are docile and only bite if they feel threatened.
2. These scary arachnids have a weird talent: they can whistle
These species are also known as the whistling spider or barking spider because of the wide array of noises it makes. The spider can produce sounds by rubbing rows of modified spines on the basal segments of their front limbs, explains the Australian Museum. It whistles and makes a hissing sound when threatened and takes up a defensive pose against predators.
3. Its bite can make you throw up for six hours
The Australian tarantula is quite gentle and does not generally bite. However, if it feels threatened by you, it can give you a wound which will make the affected body part swell up for hours. Additionally, tarantula bites cause nausea and vomiting for as long as six hours. Its venom does not kill human beings but can cause the death of animals like cats and dogs in minutes.
4. Contrary to popular belief, it does not eat human flesh
The whistling spider has got the reputation of being flesh-eating but it does not feast on human flesh. It is also not known to traditionally eat birds, although it does consume small-sized winged beings. Primarily, they prey on large insects, frogs and tiny mammals.
5. Male tarantulas have swollen sexual organs throughout life
The sex of the spider can be distinguished by noticing a pair of limb-like structures in the front of their body. These are called palps and they remain swollen in male spiders from the time of maturity to death. The female barking spiders, which are bigger in size, can live for up to 30 years, whereas males die at eight after mating.
6. These are very popular as pets
Forget about conventional pets like dogs and cats, tarantulas as pets are the rage now. The Australian tarantula is sold in cages as pets, primarily in Queensland. It is also believed that the spider population is being seriously endangered due to its popularity as pets. Traders sometimes carry out captive breeding programs to keep the balance in the ecosystem.