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David Emery

Angolan Witch Spider - Arachnophobes, Avert Your Eyes!

By February 9, 2013

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Angolan Witch Spider

Nobody in their right mind thinks this Facebook photo is real, but it's still guaranteed to induce a shiver in folks who hate arachnids. Some say the pictured specimen is native to Texas, others say it's Australian, and at least one Facebook post identifies it as an "Angolan Witch Spider" which supposedly feeds on cats and dogs.

In reality, it's a common, relatively harmless wolf spider, a couple of inches in diameter, max.

The composite image was created by artist/photographer/musician Paul Santa Maria, who shot the original wolf spider pic in New Smyrna Beach, Florida in 2011.

See also:
Attack of the Camel Spiders!
The "Deadly" Two-Striped Telamonia
The Long, Long Snake
Giant Coconut Crab
"World's Biggest Dog"
Snowball, the Giant Mutant Cat of Ontario


February 14, 2013 at 8:58 am
(1) Gerda says:

Actually, it looks like a fairly good painting to me.

February 14, 2013 at 9:09 am
(2) Jon Richfield says:

Nice one Gerda; I had regarded the theme with such disdain that I had overlooked the artistic aspects.

February 14, 2013 at 9:16 am
(3) Jon Richfield says:

And as a corroborative detail added to lend artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing presentation, this hunter of pit-bulls apparently lost its third larboard leg in securing one of its meals!

February 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm
(4) Bonnie O'Neill says:

This stuff is shared on facebook, why do not these urban legend disclaimers appear as your status updates. This where the most people are reached and influenced.

February 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm
(5) ShariYS says:

While there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that the photo was shopped, it still gave me a chill. I get those little bastids around my house, sac spiders too. I hate ‘em. They get the bottom of my shoe REAL quick. Couldn’t figure out why I kept finding them dead in my kitchen — not alive, suitably dead! — until the night when I saw one of my cats bring one up from the basement. Yeah, I screamed.

February 14, 2013 at 8:09 pm
(6) elayne says:

D-v-d, any chance of getting the scoop on this video? “Raining spiders in Brazil” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPujnYOX9dc . There’s a small blurb in the “about” section of the video, but lots of debate as to specifically what kind of spiders they are, why they do this, how “normal” it really is, etc. (Not really UL fodder yet, but I think only a matter of time before they were filmed “right here in Peoria Illinois!” or whatever.)


February 15, 2013 at 8:02 pm
(7) David Emery says:

Re the “spider rain” in Brazil, this explanation sounds plausible to me:

Brazilian’s news portal G1 consulted with a Brazilian biologist who identified the spiders as Anelosimus eximius. The Brazilian local spider is considered to be a “social spider” species known for its massive colonies. The spider species is also known for forming massive webs. …

The Brazilian spider’s colony is often made up of several thousands of spiders. The massive spider webs created by the Anelosimus eximius can be found from ground level to at least 20 m up. The webs of the Brazilian spider species can range in size from tiny structures with a length of 10-25 cm and containing only one or a few spiders, to large spider webs of 2 to 3 meters or more.

Strong tornado-like winds can pick up the web, along with the thousands of spiders, carry it anywhere, and as the winds die down, it can rain spiders, as in this case.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/11/meanwhile-in-brazil-spiders-have-taken-over-an-entire-town/

March 17, 2013 at 7:54 pm
(8) Ralph M Bohm says:

Not “Larboard” (another name for “port”. You might have meant starboard”.

March 18, 2013 at 2:13 am
(9) Dave says:

Poor wolfy. Only 7 legs.

March 26, 2013 at 8:07 pm
(10) Anthony moala says:

Actualy it doesnt even look like a wolf spider… we have these spiders here yes they are HUGE but not even close 2 this size… its called a cane spider or huntsman spider whatever fits your description… it doesnt spin webs but runs really fast and jumps like a frog… and its hella creepy

April 15, 2013 at 12:52 am
(11) esther says:
December 9, 2013 at 2:03 pm
(12) James says:

Spiders are pretty AWESOME. To see something really spectacular is to watch the YouTube video on the Peacock Spider. Quite beautiful and amazing.

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