In the latest instalment of "Are you kidding me right now, Australia?" a Sydney resident returned to her parked car earlier this month to find it overrun by a family of huntsman spiders. Footage captured by Dannielle Glasgow shows a mama spider and her many many babies scuttling across the dashboard of Glasgow's car – the hefty matriarch even reared up defensively at one point in response to being filmed. 

Huntsman spiders – those hairy, fright-inducers that often star in viral videos from Down Under – are widespread across much of Australia. There are over 150 species found on the continent, all from the family Sparassidae, and if you live in Australia it's only a matter of time before you'll bump into one of these sizeable arachnids. Thankfully, huntsman spiders are not particularly dangerous and do not carry fatal venom. If anything, they are handy to have around if you're looking to keep your insect population in check.

"Consider the huntsman a small workforce of natural insect exterminators in your house and garden," wrote Cornell University senior lecturer and research associate Linda Rayor in a piece for The Conversation

These spiders are notorious for crawling their way into vehicles and homes where they usually scare the pants off unsuspecting arachnophobes. Huntsmen don’t build webs, but instead use a combination of vibrations and vision to track down their prey – something they usually do under the cover of darkness. During the day, the spiders like to hide out in dark crevices and other gloomy retreats, which is why they regularly turn up behind paintings or tucked under car sun-visors.

But for all their frightfulness, female huntsmen are dedicated mothers. They actively guard their egg sacs and newborn spiderlings acting aggressively towards anything that strays too close (which is likely why the mama spider in the latest clip looked decidedly grumpy when Glasgow stuck a phone in her face).

It's unclear how (or indeed if) the vehicle invasion was resolved, but hopefully no spiders were harmed in the reclaiming of the car.

Top header image: Victor Fazio, Flickr