Giant tarantulas were recently discovered in Mankulam, Sri Lanka, reports Wired.com (video below).
The spiders have a leg span of 8 inches across and live in trees near a hospital.
Scientists with the Sri Lanka’s Biodiversity Education and Research group discovered the spiders, reports Sky News.
The tarantulas were originally spotted by villagers.
“They are quite rare,” researcher Ranil Nanayakkara told Wired.com. “They prefer well-established old trees, but due to deforestation the number have dwindled and due to lack of suitable habitat they enter old buildings.”
“Ranil has been working on these spiders since 2009 out in Sri Lanka and this is the first of what is thought to be a number of new species he has discovered in what was previously the inaccessible northern region of the island,” Peter Kirk, with the British Tarantula Society, told Sky News.
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“It demonstrates that wildlife continues to survive whilst we are in the throes of conflict and that they can adapt to its changing environment, but also highlights that we risk destroying the habitats of species new to science and condemning them to extinction before they are even discovered.”
The spider is venomous, but not lethal to humans.
Sources: Sky News and Wired.com