If you're even slightly arachnophobic, stop reading right now. Wait, you're still reading this? Okay, fine, let's chat. In this 90-second time lapse video, we're treated to (okay, thoroughly disgusted by) a tarantula molting. Yes, spiders molt as they grow -- because they have exoskeletons, they must occasionally shed their worn-out exterior and emerge, creepier than ever. The shiny new spider is ready to freak you out/cuddle/whatever it is you people do with your pet spiders. Um. Seriously, this is creepy and very Alien-like. But if you can handle it, here's a tarantula molting in time lapse:
According to online reports I skimmed (I was too creeped out to get into the details), this happens every few months for young tarantulas, and once or twice a year for adults. The horror! Hey, look, another creepy molting video:
And another one, with narration:
As the video's author cautions: "If you find your tarantula lying on its back or side, it's going to molt. Don't disturb it, just sit and watch." I'm going to go ahead and agree that I will not mess with any large spider really under any circumstances. So. We're cool.
For more on the science here, check out this extensive article about spiders from HowStuffWorks, amusingly entitled "How Spiders Work."
And now I'm going to take two showers and hop up and down a lot to make sure all the spiders are off me.