Fearless Cambodian children catch huge spiders and then deep fry it for a tasty tarantula treat

Rebecca Lewis
Yahoo! News UK
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The five year old children hold the spiders in their hands as if they were harmless (Caters)

You wouldn't see Helen Flanagan or Nadine Dorries do this on I'm a Celeb!

Children in Cambodia spend an afternoon in the jungle catching dangerous tarantulas to eat, just like British kids who go strawberry picking. 

The five year old children grab the spiders between their fingers, drown them in a water bottle and them cook them in hot butter for a tasty and scary treat.

Although the tarantulas are venomous, they are not deadly.  When fully grown they can reach the size of an adult's palm, but the children treated them as if they were friendly rabbits.

British photojournalist George Nickels took these unbelievable photos after being invited to join the children on an expedition that would shock him.

Nickels, 30, who has been living and working in Cambodia for almost a year, said: "My first thoughts upon invitation to take part in tarantula hunting were of intrigue and excitement.

"My time there would be spent documenting the hunt for what is now one of Cambodia's finest delicasies,  -Haplopelma albostriatum - also known as the thai zebra tarrantula.

"From catching to eating, the time taken is about 10 minutes, so it really is fast food!

"The method used at this particular jungle hut was very cheap and easy as the family were living in poverty, and so the spiders are tossed in salt and deep fried in reused cooking oil.

"I found them quite edible, with a flavour that I could not compare to anything I had eaten before. The texture was like fried crickets, which are a more common beer snack here in Cambodia."

While it is unclear how the practice started, some suggest that the population of Cambodia started to eat the eight-legged creatures out of desperation due to starvation during the years of Khmer Rouge rule.

Nickels added: "The children who catch the delicacies are simply hunting for their next tasty meal and fear is something that they do not comprehend.

"You could see similarities to children of Europe catching worms, fish or butterflies, but from my personal point of view, I see it as very practical and efficient way to get dinner, and the Cambodians that I met had great humour, a sense of fun, and a welcoming sense of pride in their ways.

"In some respects it reminded me of a family day to out pick strawberries in England!"