BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - We've all seen the movies, and now it's happening for real. A minor plague of eastern tarantulas, also known as bird-eating spiders, has got residents of outback town Bowen, in Queensland, watching where they put their feet.
The spiders have been appearing in the town by the dozen over the last few weeks, showing up in streets, gardens and even a restaurant. Some of the spiders are larger than a man's hand, measuring over six inches across, with the body alone two inches across.
Experts say that they have probably been driven out of their natural habitat by heavy, unseasonable rain. The spiders usually live under logs and within rock crevices.
While the spiders are not usually fatal to humans, their venom is pretty powerful, and they are said to be able to kill a dog with one bite. They don't, despite their name, eat birds.