By Tui Benjamin
This disgusting yet fascinating time-lapse footage captures a huge huntsman spider emerging ‘jelly-like’ from its old exoskeleton.
Jake Giannino, 23, filmed the rare sight in Healesville, Victoria, Australia, after spotting the arachnid moulting in his backyard on Wednesday (Dec 13) afternoon.
He watched as the gargantuan insect took little more than six minutes to shed its old skin before stretching out its eight legs and waiting for its new outer layer to harden.
Biologist Jake said he could understand why arachnophobics would find the footage horrifying but said it was a ‘once in a lifetime’ moment to witness.
The invertebrates fan said: “I was just walking around my back yard and I saw this happening right in front of me.
“I watched the moulting process the whole way through, it was really interesting.
“I have kept loads of huntsman spiders but I have never been lucky enough to capture that before.
“It’s a once in a lifetime experience to see this, especially during the day – normally you would have to wait up all night to try and witness it.
“They look pretty creepy but they are actually pretty fragile creatures, especially when they have just moulted.
“I can definitely see why it would make most people really squeamish, it almost looks like a squid out of water, it is weird, but that is actually when they are at their most defenceless and harmless.
“When it comes out of the exoskeleton, it’s body is a velvety, jelly-like consistency.”
After the badge huntsman forced its way out of its old exoskeleton, Jake held it and fed it spider food while waiting for its body to harden to protect it from birds.
While the whole process took less than 10 minutes, it can take the creatures up to two hours before their new outer layer and fangs fully harden.
Jake added: “Afterwards I held it and fed it some spider food – I wanted to keep an eye on it to make sure no birds came and ate it.
“It’s something really interesting that is rarely witnessed. For squeamish people it’s probably weird to look at, but pretty interesting too.”