Spiders are scary enough already – they’ve got too many legs, they move really fast, and some of them even jump. Scorpions add even more terror into the mix with those pinchers and venomous stingers. But these seven arachnid species are even more special than most, and when we say special, we mean terrifying.
Happy Face Spider
How can you possibly be scared of a spider that’s so happy to see you? The fact that it’s so big and – well – enthusiastic – might have something to do with it. Meet the arachnid equivalent of a deranged clown. The Happy Face Spider (Theridion grallator) is found in Hawaii, appropriately enough. Individuals of the species have black and red marking son their abdomens that sometimes, but don’t always, happen to form into a cheerful smiley face.
Tailless Whip Scorpion
This horrifying thing right here looks like a spider, but it isn’t. Does knowing it’s a scorpion make it any better? Its two front legs give it a pretty aggressive, bizarre appearance, but the fact is, the tailless whip scorpion lacks both a stinger and venomous fangs. Those two really long appendages are sensory organs, which they use to feel around while they’re walking. And while seeing a mother carrying all of her babies on her back might be a bit scary for the more squeamish among us, her behavior with them is actually kind of cute. The mother uses those big front arms to communicate with her young, caressing them to send certain messages, and they reciprocate both to her and to each other.
The pattern on this spider’s abdomen seems like it can’t possibly be naturally occurring. It looks like some kind of ancient Aztec relief carving discovered in a forgotten palace. But it is, in fact, a hardened disc strengthened by a system of ribs and grooves that the Cyclocosmia, or ravine trapdoor spider, uses to clog the entrance to its burrow when threatened. Various species within this genus have differing patterns.
Long Horned Orb Weaver
This little guy is pretty impressive, with those two massive horns reaching up well beyond its body. Nobody knows exactly why certain varieties of spiny orb weaver spiders have developed horns like this, while others haven’t. The most impressive species can be found in the tropical islands of the Pacific Ocean, like Singapore. Check out photographer Nicky Bay’s website for incredible pictures of these and many more creatures. They’re seen, along with many other weird spiders, in the video above.
Bird Dung Crab Spider
This spider has developed what we’ve all got to admit is a pretty solid way of not getting eaten: it has evolved to resemble bird poop. As far as we’re aware, most birds aren’t interested in eating their own droppings, so they have no idea that this little guy is actually a juicy spider. Too bad for them – he’s probably delicious.
Yes, that thing is seriously a spider and not some kind of tiny hairy pelican. This weird species of Assassin spider is less than 1/8 inch long, but has a particularly deadly method of hunting that has earned it is name. At the end of its extremely elongated jaws are venom-filled fangs, which it uses to stab its prey. It also has a super-elongated neck to help it support that jaw without dragging it around. The combination of the two lets them sneak up on prey without being sensed.
Giant Emperor Scorpion
Believe it or not, the massive emperor scorpion is a fairly popular pet. Native to Africa and living 6-8 years, it has a black body that glows under ultraviolet light. It can reach an astonishing 7.9 inches in length. And yes, it can – and does – sting, with varying species delivering wounds that range from mild (like a bee sting) to severe. It’s not generally recommended to pick them up if you own one, though some people do anyway.