There isn’t much that creeps me out more than massive spiders do.
Sure, tarantulas make great pets for a lot of people, but no matter how hard I try to picture them the way their beloved owners do, I just can’t see past their giant fangs. However, if I had to choose between getting bitten by one or being stung by this insect, I’d immediately pick the spider bite.
Wasps are already horrible creatures, but tarantula hawks are a special kind of horrible. It is a spider wasp that actually hunts tarantulas.
Because of their ability to adapt to different climates, these freaky critters can be found in a variety of areas, including India, Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia, the U.S., and South America. They actually happen to be the state insect of New Mexico.
The wasps’ blue-black bodies (and huge stingers) serve as a warning to potential predators that they pack an incredibly painful sting.
When a female is ready to lay her egg, she hunts and stings a tarantula. After the spider is paralyzed by her venom, she drags it to her nest, where she lays an egg on its abdomen.
As soon as the larva hatches, it digs its way into the tarantula’s body and eats its insides while the tarantula is still alive. What’s worse is that it purposely tries to keep the spider alive by staying away from its vital organs as long as possible.
Surprisingly, tarantula hawks are pretty docile when it comes to human interaction and don’t attack unless provoked. When they do sting, however, you have to suffer through excruciating pain and possible paralysis for up to five minutes. The only insect sting more painful is that of the bullet ant.
If you’re wondering exactly how nasty a tarantula hawk sting really feels, just watch our friend Coyote Peterson from Brave Wilderness writhing in agony.
Who’s extremely thankful that they’re not a tarantula right now? Me too.