To everyone trying to beat the summer heat by taking cool dips in your local outdoor creek, beware: You could be sharing your favorite swimming hole with a furry eight-legged giant spider.
That’s right, tarantulas can swim. And this horrifying video has the proof.
But before this lip-curling footage has you forgoing your next trip to the river—as you rock yourself on the floor, desperately trying to forget what you just witnessed—you should at least hear out some of the comments that people have been leaving on Facebook, where the video first appeared. And hear what an arachnid expert had to say about the whole deal with swimming spiders.
Did you know that tarantulas can "swim?" With their legs acting as paddles, they can row across water. Happy Halloween!Close up photo of a tarantula at the Ranch in the comments. #WildWednesday
Posted by Big Bend Ranch State Park-Texas Parks and Wildlife on Wednesday, October 31, 2018
The video, taken at Big Bend Ranch State Park in Texas and that went viral two years ago, shows a tarantula skittering across a shallow river at the foot of a rocky embankment. Over 1,500 netizens left comments in shock and amazement at what they saw in the seconds-long video.
“Did you know that tarantulas can ‘swim?’” Park staffers captioned their footage, fittingly on Oct. 31, 2018. “With their legs acting as paddles, they can row across water. Happy Halloween!”
The palm-sized arachnid almost appears to bob like a fishing buoy while flopping its eight fuzzy legs across the surface of the water like a soggy black sock with legs.
“Never underestimate any arachnid,” wrote another. “They’ve been here much longer than us! For a good reason too!”
Someone else added, “I knew there were a couple species that could swim. I have two species from that genus and I had no idea they were capable of this. I learned something today.”
Pondering the inconclusive river crossing, a netizen asked: “Did it drown? Or did it regain its strength and make it to the other side? I need to know!”
Texas Parks and Wildlife responded, “It did make it to the shoreline. The current helped it drift to the side.”
Tarantulas, according to National Geographic, are carnivorous but are harmless to human beings. A bite from this mildly venomous arachnid—with potency comparable to that of a bee sting—will result in nothing more than slight pain at the site of the bite.
Unlike other spiders that spin intricate webs, tarantulas are “burrowers” that live underground.
But the large-sized spiders are not landlocked, according to Dr. Jason Dunlop, an arachnid “curator” at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Germany, who wrote a paper called “Swimming In Tarantulas.” He explains that tarantulas can swim both in the wild and in captivity by using their front legs as “paddles.”
This effective paddling technique, the arachnid expert says, is ubiquitous among the fuzzy-haired minibeasts but is only used in emergencies such as when being chased by a predator or falling into a river or lake. In other words, a tarantula will swim if it has to but won’t likely grab your toes while you’re enjoying your summer swim on the river.
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