Why do we have a fascination with creeping ourselves out? It’s weird but I guess some things are just too irresistible to not watch.
The recent craze of pimple popping is one such example. It’s utterly gross and a bit unnerving to see – I mean, where does that gunk come from?! Still, it’s an easy way to
waste spend a few minutes.
And while our own bodies have enough going on to make us feel a tad queasy, the insect and arachnid world has us beat hands down. From creatures who eat their partner after mating, to an army of ants taking on a wasps nest, the little critters easily have the edge when it comes to weird, but natural, phenomena.
This video of a tarantula shedding its skin is one of those don’t-want-to-watch-but-can’t-look-away moments. I don’t know why, it’s just plain weird. It’s a totally natural thing for tarantulas to do, but still, gross.
Check it out:
It’s kind of mesmerising, right? And also totally creepy, and for the rest of the day, every time I feel the slightest touch on my skin, I’ll probably be convinced it’s a spider. Great.
The video is of a Mexican redknee tarantula. The whole process took two hours, which sounds exhausting but I bet you’d feel amazing after shedding off your old skin.
It also makes me wonder how the old legs stay intact – I would’ve thought they’d burst open like an eight-legged Bruce Banner turning in to the Incredible Hulk?
Instead, they just remain where they are and could still pass for a live spider. Imagine having this guy as a pet and one day you notice your tarantula has split himself in two?
Of course, this isn’t a unique spider who one day decided to grow himself some new skin. Many tarantulas go through this process several times a year in order to grow, renew the outer shell and even replace missing appendages – yep, tarantulas can gradually regrow their limbs, basically.
In the build up to casting off the old skin, the spider will become sluggish and stops eating so it can conserve as much energy as possible. The new exoskeleton grows underneath its old one, and to shake off the outer layer, the tarantula releases fluids between the layers and wriggles its legs to loosen it.
Once the old exoskeleton is off – imagine the relief – the tarantula will not eat for days or even weeks as its fangs, which are part of the exoskeleton, are still soft and need time to harden.
In other arachnid news, because I know you all wanted more, a rare species of JUMPING arachnid has been recorded in the UK for the first time.
The ‘athletic moss-dwelling’ critter, known officially as the Sibianor larae, was found in June at Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s, Holcroft Moss Nature Reserve, in Warrington.
They can jump to heights of around six feet, and though they’re not poisonous to humans, I’d really rather not see one of them leaping all over the place cheers.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.