Claim: Photograph shows a furry albino tarantula.
Example: [Collected via email, March 2015]
Is the furry albino tarantula real?
Origins: Photographs purportedly showing a furry albino tarantula have been circulating on the Internet since
Franks clearly stated that the objects depicted in the photographs were not real animals when she added them to her web site:
“These cuddly spiders have a polymer clay face painted in acrylics and their bodies are faux fur. Their legs and bum are fully posable and can cling to anything! They will take a ride on your shoulder or even snuggle atop your head! They are about 13 inches wide.”
But as the images circulated around the Internet they eventually became disassociated from Franks’ description. In 2014, a Pinterest account dedicated to photographs of real spiders called “Amazing Arachnids and Webs” shared one of Franks’ photos with the caption: “Tarentule albinos, white furry Tarantula.”
While that Pinterest account later added a clarification (“ETA: Not a real spider but a plush fabric sculpture. Sorry about that, but it is cute”) the notion that a furry albino tarantula was a type of arachnid genuinely found in nature had already taken root.
This isn’t the first time that the internet has been fooled by the cuddly creations of a creative artist. A doll created by the the Santani Workshop in Russia started a rumor about a rare monkey from Madagascar, and puppet creator Marina Yamkoskaia’s dolls led some to believe that magical owlets lived in the forest.
Last updated: 19 March 2015