An Australian reptile park believes it may have received the country’s largest huntsman spider.
The dubious claim to fame was announced on Facebook, along with pictures of the colossal arachnid, which has been aptly named ‘Behemoth’.
Behemoth was given to the Australian Reptile Park in Sommersby, New South Wales during a recent drive to have funnel web spiders brought to the park. He has since been released into the nearby bush.
A spokesman for the zoo helpfully allayed the fears of arachnophobes, explaining: “Huntsman spiders tend to inhabit many places that humans do and will pop up when you least expect them. Such times are in your car when driving or in your room when watching TV, but they really are not a worry!”
The centre has photographed Behemoth next to average sized huntsman spiders to show he is, in fact, a monster, with a leg span of around 14cm.
Behemoth joins similarly sized specimen Charlotte, who was found in Queensland, in November last year in the oh-my-god category.
Charlotte’s keepers at Barnyard Betty’s Rescue were equally forgiving of her fearsome appearance, stating: “She was a beautiful, calm, spider, not aggressive in any way and like most spiders she just wanted to go about her business eating bugs and living in peace.”
Despite their terrifying size, a bite from a huntsman spider can be painful, but will not cause anything more serious than mild nausea or headaches. Localised swelling and pain tend to be the only symptoms.
The average huntsman is about 1 inch long, with a leg span of up to 5 inches. The giant huntsman however, has a leg span of up to 12 inches and is often described as being the size of a dinner plate.