The author of all your night terrors has been identified.
Scientists have identified an insect that’s been dubbed the “creature from hell” following nightmarish footage that had even fearless Australians metaphorically wetting themselves down under.
A TikTok video of the entomological terror had amassed 11 million views and sent shivers down social media’s collective spine.
The skin-crawling clip, reportedly shot in Laverton, Western Australia shows the oblong insect sitting in the dirt with its wings flared out as it stabs the air with its tail like a hybrid of a stick and a scorpion, news.com.au reported.
Its herky-jerky movements evoked one of the atomically-enhanced superbugs that battle Godzilla in the classic 1960s monster movies.
The mystery critter both scared and baffled viewers with one exclaiming, “That’s a hard NO.”
“What is going on in Australia,” gasped aghast viewer.
One social media comedian quipped, “Australia looks gorgeous but the insects carry guns and smoke cigars, never going.”
Even commenters hailing from the Lucky Country, where venomous critters are as ubiquitous as vegemite, seemed unsettled by the chimera-esque creepy crawly.
“I live in Western Australia 51 years and never seen one of these think I might leave,” wrote one horrified Aussie.
“Honestly, if I didn’t live in Australia, I’d never visit,” said another. “We have some crazy stuff here.”
“I’m Australian and now I’m actually scared,” shuddered a third.
Some commenters compared the critter to iconic movie monsters, including the face hugger from “Alien” and the alien bugs from “Starship Troopers.”
As it turns out, the animatronic-looking critter is actually completely harmless, according to bug experts.
“This is a walking stick insect, in the family Phasmatidae,” Aussie entomologist Nikolai Tatarnic told news.com.au. “Phasmids are herbivores and are not venomous.”
He explained that along with its signature camouflage — ie. parroting a stick — some species of walking sticks engage in threat displays to “ward off potential predators.”
“The terrifying display in the video is all a ruse, but it clearly works,” Tatarnic chortled.
Despite the walking sticks’ striking defense tactics and massive size — they can grow to ten inches long — the herbivores are seldom seen due to their impeccable camouflage, he explained.
Aussie walking sticks aren’t the only plant-eaters with an impressive threat display.
In order to scare off predators, certain species of king snakes cosplay as rattlesnakes by shaking their tails and coiling their bodies just like a viper.
Speaking of unidentified flying insects, in 2021 an Australian worker realized every entomophobe’s worst nightmare after encountering a moth so “chonky” that it struggled to fly.