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Arachnophobia abounds when giant spiders invade Australian town

May 7, 2009 |  2:40 pm

Spider
It sounds like a remake of the campy horror movie, "Eight Legged Freaks."

But this is scarier, because it's really happening.

According to a Times of London story, giant venomous spiders have recently invaded the town of Bowen, Australia, startling and shocking residents just because of their size.

The spiders are eastern tarantulas, also called bird-eating spiders or whistling spiders because of the noise they make when aggravated.

The influx is believed to have been caused by recent heavy rains, which have pushed the spiders out of their natural habitats.

The arachnids can grow to be up to 2.5 inches long with a leg span of 6 inches, or larger than a man's palm.

While not deadly to humans, the spiders' venom has been known to kill dogs and cats.

Deadly or not, I don't think I'd want to find one of these wandering about my home or garden.  And I thought potato bugs were creepy.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Two Australian spiders, with a coin for comparison; the tarantula on the right may be the same species as the ones invading Bowen. Credit: Associated Press

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