By Jasmine Kazlauskas
A backpacking couple captured the terrifying moment they came face to face with a huge wolf spider – carrying THOUSANDS of babies on its back.
Dutch travellers Pauline Keuzekamp, 28, and her boyfriend Valentijn Meeuwis, 30, were nearing the end of an epic 20,000km four-month road trip around Australia when they set up camp in the remote town of Merbein in regional Victoria.
But as the couple were popping the cork on a bottle of champagne to celebrate their journey, Pauline glimpsed a ‘huge, unidentifiable creature’ approaching them.
She snapped photos of the gigantic arachnid – whose bite is poisonous but not lethal to humans – and the ‘army’ of thousands of babies it was carrying on its back.
Pauline said: “We thought it might be a spider, but it was huge and its body seemed too round and really fluffy.
“I sprinted to the car to get a torch and I nearly died when I shined my light onto the thing.
“There were thousands of reflective little eyes staring back at me and suddenly its whole body starting to move.
“I realized it was a huge wolf spider with an army of baby spiders on its back and I absolutely freaked out.
“The gigantic spider quickly came towards me and I jumped back as I was unsure how aggressive or dangerous it was.
“I was scared but at the same time I was curious, so I took some great photographs of this rare sight.”
While a wolf spider’s venom is not lethal to humans, their bite is very poisonous and medical attention is required.
While not typically aggressive, the spider will bite is provoked and should be considered dangerous.
Marketer Pauline and her anaesthetist boyfriend Valentijn said that of all their travels across Europe and Asia, Australia had the most incredible wildlife.
And their run-in with the gigantic wolf spider wasn’t their first encounter with Australia’s creatures great and small.
But while the couple were confronted with weird and wacky animals galore during their travels, they said they are yet to come across their favourite Aussie legend – the Tasmanian tiger.
Pauline said: “We were never alone throughout our Australian road trip and were always greeted by some unexpected guests.
“We had seen lots of spiders, heaps of scary snakes and even some crocodiles.
“We’ve even been chased by a curious emu and were surprised to find enormous frogs hiding in the toilet one time.
“At first we would get really scared and were anxious all the time about what we might find but after a while you do sort of get used to it and then we were more fascinated than anything. This country is amazing.”