If you thought spiders couldn't get scarier, I've got some bad news for you, friends. Just look at this video.
Sandra Adaway, from Sebastopol, Australia, came across this extremely weirdly-shaped male huntsman spider. She quickly put the massive insect into a see-through container to take a closer look at what was happening. The 7-minute-long footage shows the spider struggling with was appears to be 16 legs and two abdomens. The video is at "some places a little shaky as I was a bit scared," Adaway wrote on the Facebook group of Amateur Entomology Australia, where she posted the footage on 4 January.
However, this spider is neither radioactive nor from another planet; there's a natural albeit creepy explanation. spiders shed skin when they grow bigger in what commonly called "moulting." The spider basically spends some time with a "folded" new body under its current one before it decides to make the move. The process is interesting, but it's less than pretty to look at.
In Adaway's video, the spider gets on its back and starts pushing itself out of its current skin in order to enter the new one. In this case, an already huge crawler becomes even bigger and looks like something taken straight out of a horror movie. The crawler has 16 legs instead of 8 and two abdomens hanging by a thread as its former exoskeleton detaches from its new body.
At the end of the footage, the creature seems to lie dead. But it's only waiting to get stronger. Adaway explains in the comments that it took the spider 5 whole minutes before moving, proving that it was alive and well – sorry arachnophobes.
Adaway's video was shared almost 27,000 times on Facebook since she initially shared it. And the "minibeast" was popular with the viewers. One commented that the spider's moulting was just like "taking off skinny jeans after a big night". Another reflected: "How disgustingly fascinating." Someone went one step further: "It's adorable." Even the ones who admitted being scared of spiders watched, finding the footage "amazing."
Many viewers regretted that they only came across spiders' skins - or "moults" but had never witnessed a moult itself.
While some will appreciate the scientific value of it all, both spider lovers and haters would do well checking their pillows before going to sleep tonight. You never know when the big bug could bite...