Hoaxes & Rumors

Fake Photo Alert: Giant Spider on the Side of a House

Fake Photo Alert: Giant Spider on the Side of a House

An image shows a massive spider attached to the side of a house, described as an “Angolan Witch Spider” or “Giant Hawaiian Cane Spider.” Is this photo real or fake?

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It’s fake.

This composite of two separate images (spider and house) has circulated for several years, with a variety of false descriptions.

The Photo

The image has been shared in one of two variants: as a meme, or just the image itself. The first memes dating back to around 2012 included the caption, “Meanwhile in Australia.”  A version of the image in 2013 included the caption: “In Texas this abnormally large spider was found on the side of this home. It took several gun shots to kill it.”

By 2014, social media sharing included a name for the creature: the “Angolan Witch Spider,” while in 2015 it is being referred to as a “Giant Hawaiian Cane Spider.”

Below are the two versions of this photo seen most often online when we first covered the image in early 2013. The first was sent to us by its creator, and was originally entitled “Sure you want to move to Florida?”

Eventually the photo was turned into a meme by someone else and circulated with the following caption:


We were able to track down the creator of this image, artist Paul Santa Maria from the website ArtOfPencil.com. When we first reported on this image in February 2013, he kindly gave us a detailed account of the photo’s creation:

I was outside with a Canon point-and-shoot at my former house in New Smyrna Beach, Florida on a hot day – this Wolf Spider (note he has only 7 legs!) was sitting in the shade on a concrete block – I shot him, then the side of the house and painstakingly cut the Spider out in Photoshop 7 and flew him into the house pic, then equally painstakingly painted shadows. (If one just used the “Drop Shadow” effect, then it would look unnatural as light bounces all around the place when outside, not just down…) anyway, these spiders are as big as your palm and this house has tile floors – they get in all the time and I swear you can HEAR THEM WALKING ON THE TILES!!! No kidding!

He posted the image on Facebook but removed it after over 24,000 shares. As he describes:

I was just having fun, but I took it off my own Facebook page after complaints from friends with children that I was scaring the pants off them! Haha – success!

Spider Impossible

In addition to Mr. Santa Maria’s Photoshop confession, spiders simply do not get that large. This appears to be a wolf spider, which typically only grows up to a couple of inches in size. The spider in the image only has 7 legs, which some have pointed out as further evidence of a fake photo, but this isn’t an uncommon sight to see in the wild.

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The largest spiders in the world are such large varieties as the Giant Huntsman Spider or the Goliath birdeater, with perhaps a 10-12-inch leg-span possible. A pre-historic spider may have reached a 20-inch leg-span size, meaning modern “large” 12 inches spiders are certainly a long way off from the creature seen in this photo. See more about the world’s largest spiders here.

Bottom Line

Although not many people are fooled by an image of such a massive spider, those arachnophobia types probably tend to err on the side of caution and look it up just in case. And in this case, it is certainly not real. The photo is a composite of two images, a small wolf spider and a house, which were combined by artist Paul Santa Maria.

We’d like to thank Paul from ArtOfPencil.com for clearing this up for us.

Updated July 8, 2015
Originally published February 2013

  • Amy Unruh

    Does anyone actually read the article? It clearly says it was done in Photoshop, that it’s not real. So comments that remark on that as though the article doesn’t mention this are redundant.

    • It must be a lot more fun for some people to skip the article and head right to the comments! 🙂

  • xXx_swagnamite_xXx

    why was it so tiny

  • Summer

    I can tell you from first hand experience that wolf spiders get big but not that ridiculously big! And they jump really high! I had one in my kitchen and I am terrified of spiders so I called my uncle/neighbor to come kill it for me, because I am a pansy when it comes to spiders of any size and this one was huge! He about s***t hisself when he went to step on it and it jumped about 3 feet off the ground! I hate them things!

  • Melvins

    I’m sorry, but… Maybe it’s because I’m a millenial, but I can tell that this spider is very obviously not real. It has that ‘Uncanny’ feeling you get from looking at CG. It looks plastered onto a background, as if this were done in photoshop.
    How some people can’t tell the difference, I don’t know, but that off-feeling you get from looking at CG in the middle of a real photo/video is what told me.

  • Gareque

    There’s also the issue of lighting. The sun appears to be over the back of the house, hence the camera glare (unless I am mistaken?).

    As such, the spider itself would be much more shaded than it is there. I can only assume that this is a close up picture of a spider and then cut and pasted onto the image of the house.

    And proof that the casual internet user will believe anything lol.

  • Stormee

    Look at it! This is a HOAX! You can tell it’s not real, I mean the spider is not the rite color. So it is a Hoax. thank you and good bye..

  • Michael maclean

    You can also tell it is a fake because the plant is away from the house and the spider has gone a leg over it without there being a bend in it or at least coming off the body at an alternative angle to the other legs!!! I bl**dy hate spiders aswell!! So when I originally saw it I must admit I nearly had to change my boxer shorts!! Haha

  • Michelle

    I have a friend on facebook who sent me this because I live in Texas. I told her it was Photoshop but she doesn’t believe it us. she really thinks a spider is that big because it gave the guy who took the picture, his name.

  • Paul

    Thanks for your interest. At least whomever re-released my pic as a meme kept my url at the bottom left – that was cool. And I do believe this is a Wolf Spider – they’re so weird when they walk on a tile floor – you can actually HEAR them!! Ha – Thanks again. I’ll post some more of my weird stuff.

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