What’s next in 2020? How about giant spiders in north Georgia?

Joro spiders spinning webs across metro Atlanta

ATLANTA — Kathy Ramatowski is the kind of person who doesn’t scare easily, but some things can push a person to their limits.

“The first one was on the deck in the back. I was like, ‘What is that?’”

“That” was a spider outside her Dacula home. Not just any spider, but one that is more than four inches long.

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In a year that already brought us murder hornets and giant lizards, more people are now seeing the Joro spider.

University of Georgia agriculture extension agent James Murphy says the Joro spider is traditionally found in China, Japan and Korea but it’s also apparently in north Georgia.

“If you fully stretch out those legs, maybe up to around five inches in particularly large individuals,” Murphy said.

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Murphy says spiders may have stowed away in crates that came through Atlanta’s airport at some point.

The good news is they are not deadly. The bad news is a four-inch spider has large fangs and if they bite, it can hurt.

The Joro spider also builds webs that can be several feet high and several feet wide and very strong.

“They probably could take something the size of hummingbird if it happened to run in there and get caught," Murphy said.

Murphy adds that if you knock down the web the spider will likely just build another.

He believes the species has possibly been in north Georgia for five years and is here to stay.