A TERRIFIED woman says she “hasn’t driven in a week” after she discovered a huntsman spider hiding in the HANDLE of her car door.
Christine Jones, from Armidale in New South Wales, Australia, said she approached her car and saw what she believed were “hairy caterpillars” tucked away under the handle.
The vehicle owner revealed she had spotted the spider “at the last moment” before grabbing the handle.
Jones shared a photo of the creature, which can be seen hiding from plain sight, with the caption: “Thought it was hairy caterpillars at first.
“Haven’t used my car for a week.”
But a close up shows the hairy legs and body of a large arachnid, which has since been identified as a banded huntsman.
The post was shared on the Australian spider identification page on Facebook.
It was then confirmed to be one of the massive, crab-like spiders – which can have a leg span of up to 25 to 30cm.
WHAT are Huntsman spiders and how big do they get?
These massive, crab-like spiders can have a leg span of up to 25 to 30cm.
They normally live in small gaps in tree bark, but frequently wander into homes and cars in search of food. They move at lightning speed, can walk on walls and even ceilings, and jump huge distances suddenly.
Unlike other types of spider, they go out to stalk and kill their prey instead of spinning webs, feasting on insects and small animals like mice and lizards.
You don’t want to make a mummy huntsman angry – they defend their young fiercely, attacking and biting those who threaten them.
If they’re touched, they have a “cling” reflex and will hang on tightly. Shaking them off doesn’t work, but does make them angry and likely to bite.
Although usually found in the Southern Hemisphere, they have been known to stow away in cargo and arrive unexpectedly in Europe. They wouldn’t last long in the winter cold of the UK though.
Despite their scary appearance and aggression, they shouldn’t cause too much alarm – their venom isn’t deadly to humans, although it has been known to cause headaches, vomiting, and heart palpitations
The image has been shared over 6,000 times and attracted hundreds of comments since it was posted on November 30.
Members of the Facebook page commented the large crawly appeared to be attempting to find shelter from the blistering heat.
But many reacted in horror at the size of the spider, with one saying: “I like spiders but I’m sure I’d need new undies if I put my hand under there unknowingly.”
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Another Facebook user commented: “This has now given me massive anxiety”.
Another shocked user said the creature would have “caused a heart attack”.
But one animal lover posted: “Poor thing might have been burning on the metal of the car and seeking shade… or something a bit cooler and got stuck there waiting it out after that heat over the weekend.”