Wellington Zoo has released new photos of the newly-bred baby Goliath bird-eating tarantulas - sending social media users into a frenzy.
Pictures of the 7-week-old spiderlings beginning to shed their exoskeletons has delighted some and terrified others, but zoo staff have been quick to reassure Facebook users the tarantulas won't be taking over the capital anytime soon.
"We have very secure habitats at the zoo and just to put your mind at ease, this species wouldn't be able to survive in our climate, it's far too cold for them," Wellington Zoo responded to nervous commenters in a post on its Facebook page.
The zoo is the first in 20 years to successfully breed Goliath bird-eating tarantulas, and it is also the first time they have been bred in Australasia.
One of the babies recently finished its first moult since being out of the egg sac, shedding its old exoskeleton to reveal a fuzzy new one underneath.
Team leader of reptiles and invertebrates, David Laux, said Goliath birdeaters are the largest arachnid in the world by mass, and can have a leg span of 30cm - about the size of a dinner plate.
"Despite their name, there have only been a few observations of this species eating birds. They most commonly feed on invertebrates, small rodents and occasionally snakes, including the highly venomous fer-de-lance."
The zoo has 11 baby Goliath birdeater tarantulas, which will mature in three to six years.
The species does not stop growing until it does, however at this point the spiderlings will not change much until they reach maturity.
"They are more or less a perfect miniature of the adults."
Now the spiderlings have had their first moult outside the egg sac, they will start feeding on hatchling locusts. The zoo feeds adult Goliaths mice and adult locusts.
Male Goliaths typically live three to six years while females can live for more than 25 years.
"Males aren't sexually mature until they have had their maturity moult and they can be in this mature form for up to two years. Once a male is in their final moult stage, their sole purpose is to mate. After mating, the female will commonly consume the male," Laux said.
Facebook users swung wildly between exclaiming the baby tarantulas were "beautiful" and "adorable", and labelling them "terrifying".
The babies are not on display at the zoo, but the adult Goliaths are.