Huntsman Spider Crawls Over Fearless Woman's Face in Instagram Video

An entomologist creeped out followers on social media last month by posting videos of a huntsman spider crawling over her face and neck.

Lisa Van Kula Donovan, whose Instagram profile @wannabe_entomologist has built up more than 46,000 followers by posting detailed close-up images and videos of insects, shared the footage of the large arachnid with her fans on March 26.

It was recorded less than a week after the same female spider gave birth to a batch of offspring, seen in a separate clip uploaded on March 1.

"Does this spider make my forehead look big?" Donovan wrote. "Was separating babies tonight and needed mama out of the way. They ALWAYS run up your arms and onto your head and back. If I had a dollar for every time this happened...ammirite??"

The entomologist said in the post the spider was safely transferred back into its own enclosure and "a few babies" were set aside to be raised. The remainder of the spiders, which stay close to the mother for a few weeks, will be released into the wild.

Donovan said the species is venomous but not considered deadly, writing on Instagram: "They are not aggressive and don't readily bite." Still, commenters under the post were not sure they would have the courage to let a spider crawl over their faces.

One Instagram user wrote: "Why am I having a hard time breathing? How are you this brave?!" Another user commented: "So that one on your face was poisonous?! I admire your calmness. I'm not very afraid of spiders, I just don't trust them like that."

In her March 1 post about the birth, Donovan, who lives in Australia, said the species typically has about 200 babies at a time.

She said: "The babies will hang around mom for a couple weeks before dispersing. No, the babies do not consume the mother. Yes, if left in together and not fed well, over time the babies will cannibalize each other. I will keep some to raise and release most."

In November 2020, Donovan posted footage of an adult male huntsman that jumped onto her face from her hand while it was being released into the wild.

She wrote in a caption: "He did about twelve laps around my shoulders, back and head, until he finally launched onto the ground and scurried off. (I was sitting.)

"He's one of my adult males that has mated, and I've put some wood in back that will be a good hiding spot for some huntsmen and hopefully I can attract more."

The Royal Entomological Society explains on its website that, at its core, entomology is the study of insects conducted by people "as a career, as amateurs or both."

"Insects have lived on earth for more than 350 million years. Entomology is crucial to our understanding of human disease, agriculture, evolution and biodiversity," it says.

Spider (for video)
An entomologist creeped out followers on social media last month after posting videos of a huntsman spider crawling over her face and neck. Lisa Van Kula Donovan via Storyful