Australia, The Land Down Under, is full of beautiful beaches, incredible landscapes…and scary things that can kill you.
Speaking of scary, meet Martha, the giant golden orb spider who made herself right at home in someone’s garage in Buderim, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Golden orb spiders typically eat flies, beetles, and moths – as well as small birds and bats.
Back in November of 2016, Patrik Berg captured the picture of Martha, although she’s now only gaining notoriety following Patrik’s friend posting her picture to Reddit.
The original picture was put up on Patrik’s Facebook, where he showed off the enormous grey-bodied, black-legged spider. He included a shot of his brother-in-law’s hand behind it in order to give viewers a perception of scale. It’s terrifying.
As Patrik said to Daily Mail Australia, “I’ve seen some big ones before but not like that. She was an absolute monster. We were just going to have a barbecue and a couple of beers and I saw it as we pulled up in the driveway and just went ‘holy dooley.’ He was holding his hand 5-10cm away from it. That was the closest he wanted to get to the beauty. The actual length of the body in the photo was about 7cm and as thick as my thumb. With the leg span the spider was probably 17cm big. I wasn’t scared, I was amazed and struck by the beauty of it. I think they’re a gorgeous creature.”
He added, “We just left it and took some pictures. They don’t live very long and one day she was gone. They’re quite common, especially in Buderim, there’s some big insects and lots of natural forests and rainforests.”
Martha is most likely a female golden orb spider since the females typically grow larger than the males. Female golden orb spiders have been known to get well over 12 cm. They’re venomous as well. Thankfully, this spider’s venom only works on their prey – it’s not lethal for humans. But, if you do get bit by a golden orb spider you can expect some numbness and swelling.
For anyone with a touch of arachnophobia, it would seem like it is the kind of picture that nightmares are made of.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.