Goliath Birdeater, Biggest Spider in the World

By | December 17, 2017

I don’t know many that can say they love spiders. For me spiders are scary. Not sure why, I’m not afraid of snakes and they can be deadlier. Still, I am fascinated with spiders. Maybe because, I’m naturally fascinated with things that can kill me. And even more so with the Goliath Birdeater, the biggest spider in the world.

The Goliath Birdeater is native to the upland rain forest regions of northern South America. The spider lives in deep borrows and is mainly found in swampy regions. The spider is a local cuisine in north-eastern South America. It is roasted in banana leaves and the taste has been described as “shrimplike”. See, not everything tastes like chicken.

The Goliath Birdeater can have a leg span of up to 28 cm (11 in), roughly the size of a dinner plate, a body length of up to 11.9 cm (4.7 in) and can weigh up to 175 g (6.2 oz). This does not really sound big, until you consider that it weighs as much as a new-born puppy and is about the size of a child’s forearm. Although, picking up this puppy would not be a good idea.

Despite its name, the Goliath does not actually pray on birds. Its diet mainly consists of earthworms and toads. Its name comes from a 18th-century engraving by Maria Sibylla Merian that portrait a tarantula devouring a hummingbird.

The Goliath Birdeater’s Defence System

Goliath Birdeater

Goliath Birdeater | Image from WikiPedia | License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Before you think that its size is the most remarkable thing about the Goliath Birdeater is its size, take a look at its defence system.

Initially they will make a hissing noise that sounds almost like Velcro being pulled. If this does not scare away predators, it rubs its abdomen with its hind legs and release hairs that are severely irritating to skin and the mucous membranes; this causes unbearable pain and itching.

The last resort would be for the Goliath to use its fangs. Like Wolverine, the Goliath has the advantage of tissue regeneration; if you cut of a leg, it will grow back.

The female Goliath Birdeater

Female Goliaths can live up to 25 years whereas the male on lasts about 3 to 6 years.

Sources

  1. WikiPedia: Goliath Birdeater
  2. Unbelievable-Facts.com: Meet the Goliath birdeater: The world’s biggest spider that weighs as much as a newborn puppy

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