A Vancouver Island woman discovered a creepy crawly surprise while walking her dog in Langford late April.
Krysten Leigh says her dog started pulling at his leash on their morning walk — clearly something had caught his interest.
That something was a female Pacific folding door spider, a shiny black tarantuloid (a relative of tarantulas).
“When I looked over, I actually had to look twice because I thought it was fake!” said Leigh in a conversation with Victoria Buzz.
She took a picture to show her mom, who advised her to call pest control in case the arachnid was dangerous. She later posted the photo on Facebook, where it has currently been shared by nearly 300 people.
“I was so scared to take the picture because I didn’t know how fast it was or if it could jump or anything,” Leigh recalled. “Quick snap and I was out of there!”
According to Claudia Copley, Entomology Collection Manager and Researcher for the Royal BC Museum, Pacific folding door spiders aren’t often spotted, but they’re not uncommon and are found all along the west coast, from the United States to as far north as Haida Gwaii.
“It isn’t actually rare, it just isn’t seen regularly,” clarified Copley. This is because the females rarely leave their burrows. Males are the ones who risk abandoning their underground homes in search of a mate.
Being a tarantuloid means the Pacific folding door spider can live quite a long time — up to 20 years. However, it is nowhere as big as its hairy-legged cousin which tend to measure 5 centimetres across on average once fully grown.
“They are definitely not dangerous,” Copley added. While these spiders can bite, they are unlikely to do so unless provoked, and their venom is very mild.
“It even still lives in the gardens here at the museum.”