Did you sleep well last night? Good, we hope you enjoyed that, because after being introduced to this newly discovered species of spider, that may very well be a thing of the past. Meet Poecilotheria rajaei, a tarantula native to the Sri Lanka, one that happens to have a leg span of eight inches (20 centimeters) or more. He resembles an Alien facehugger more than your garden-variety arachnid, and definitely has the size to latch onto your face if necessary.
Poecilotheria rajaei is so big that it even gave pause to the people who discovered him, people who have made it their mission in life to study things that creep and crawl. According to Ranil Nanayakkar, who co-founded the Biodiversity Education and Research in SR, “It was slightly smaller than the size of the plate we have dinner on.” That is one big-ass spider. As if the size isn’t off-putting enough, the tarantula is also highly venomous. Its poison can take down mice, lizards, snakes, and small birds.
The new spider bears delicate yet lovely markings of pink, grey, and daffodil yellow. Peter Kirk, of the British Tarantula society journal, said, “It can be quite attractive, unless spiders freak you out.” That’s seems like an understatement.
The genus Poecilotheria are tree dwellers—and also bear the adorably disarming nickname “Pokies.” Known for being colorful, quick, and poisonous, they are only found in Sri Lanka and India. But haven’t we all seen enough movies to imagine a scenario where one of these bad boys hitches a ride to our part of the world?
They are rare, especially considering that their preferred habitats are old trees, the same old trees that have mostly been cut to the ground due to deforestation. As a result, the pokies have taken to moving indoors, into old and abandoned buildings. That’s not terrifying, not at all.