You've been warned: this article is going to be nightmare fuel for anyone who is arachnophobic. While it doesn't contain many gross or scary spider pictures, the topics discussed here are enough to make you queasy if you're not fond of the eight-legged critters. There are so many scary things spiders do, not to mention creepy species of spiders. And all that terrifying info is just a quick Google search away.
Of course, not all spiders are bad. They're creepy to many, yes, but spiders are a vital part of the natural world. They cut down on pest populations, weave beautifully artistic webs, and become more fascinating as you study them. That doesn't mean you should go clicking randomly on anything tagged "spider" on the Internet.
Whether you're morbidly curious, brave, or just masochistic, here's a roundup of the spider things you shouldn't Google. If you do, no judgments – but you can't feign ignorance about what you're doing.
The Goliath Birdeater Tarantula
The Goliath Bird-Eating Tarantula is most likely the world's largest spider. It can grow to the size of a child's arm, and weigh as much as a puppy. Not all of them reach that immense size, but the largest one was recorded as being a foot long. In fact, these spiders are often mistaken for small mammals because they are so hairy.
This tarantula has barbed hairs on its body, it can make a loud hissing noise when threatened, and has fangs that are a whopping two inches long, capable of piercing a mouse's skull. Oh, and it's venomous, and can regenerate lost limbs.
The Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant
This might just be the worst spider infestation of all time. In 2009, the Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant called for help for an "extreme spider" problem. When they said extreme, they really meant it. Almost four acres of the property was completely coated in spider web. Scientists who studied the event estimated there were over 107 million spiders living there, with over 35 thousand spiders per cubic meter in spots.
If you're still in doubt about whether or not you should give this a Google image search, maybe a quote from the local paper could help you decide:
"We were unprepared for the sheer scale of the spider population and the extraordinary masses of both three dimensional and sheet-like webbing that blanketed much of the facility’s cavernous interior... Far greater in magnitude than any previously recorded aggregation of orb-weavers, the visual impact of the spectacle was was nothing less than astonishing. In places where the plant workers had swept aside the webbing to access equipment, the silk lay piled on the floor in rope-like clumps as thick as a fire hose.”
The Ukraine Mutant Spider
This story is almost certainly an urban legend, but it's still one Google search to avoid when you're alone late at night. The tale goes that, in the '90s, a man was found dead in a Ukrainian elevator, with no immediately obvious cause of death. There did seem to be a bite mark, however, and examination showed that he was missing a ton of blood.
Later, more victims were discovered, and authorities began to get concerned that there was some sort of mutant creature or vampire around. A police sergeant and detective decided to take matters into their own hands, and went to search the elevator. They heard a strange sound on top of the elevator, and went to check it out. They discovered a gigantic spider with a head the size of a man's fist. The detective managed to take out the spider – but not until it had claimed its final victim, the sergeant.
The Ghost Trees Of Pakistan
This Google search adventure could almost be beautiful – if it wasn't so terrifying. Every so often, massive flooding strikes Pakistan. Living creatures, including spiders, have to escape the water, and often they have nowhere to go but up. Spiders crawl into the trees and live there until the water recedes. They spin webs nearly constantly, until the tree is cocooned in a large white ball of webbing. Even after the spiders die or leave, the trees remained encased in spider silk.
While this has only been seen a few times, the images are creepy, fascinating, and kind of haunting, just as the name "ghost trees" suggests.