Spiders have been around for precisely 350 million years, and scientists agree that without these spiders that keep bugs from devouring crops, humanity would face famine. Spiders also benefit humans because fewer bugs mean fewer nibbles and less disease transmission.
There are over 46,000 species of spiders living across the globe. These several species come in all shapes and sizes, and a few of the most venomous tarantulas can be fatal to human beings.
Let’s get to know some amazing facts about the biggest spiders in the world.
The 10 Biggest Spider in the World
1. Goliath Birdeater
The Goliath birdeater is at the top of our list. The Goliath birdeater is the world’s largest spider and heaviest spider, weighing up to six ounces and stretching nearly a foot long. This tarantula is the world’s largest arachnid.
Goliaths do not normally eat birds, but they are large enough to do so on occasion. The term bird-eating spider originates from an 18th-century engraving of another type of tarantula eating a hummingbird, which inspired the name of the entire Theraphosa genus.
Know Some Interesting Facts About the Biggest Spider in the World
The Goliath birdeater (Theraphosa blondi) is the biggest spider in the world by mass, weighing around 175 g (6.2 oz). It belongs to the tarantula family called Theraphosidae. Its nearly footlong leg span can cover a person’s head.
The male Goliath bird eater has a three to the six-year lifespan because they die as soon as they mate for the first time. A female goliath birdeater, on the other hand, has the advantage of living for ten to fifteen years. Even more astonishing is the fact that a female can live up to twenty-five years.
1.2 Where do they live?
The Goliath bird-eating spider lives in swampy or marshy areas of Amazon rainforests in northern South America. These creatures prefer to live in deep caves and are commonly found in the rainforests of Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, and Venezuela.
The deep caves could already exist in a shrouded area, such as beneath a log or a rock, or the spider might also dig them out on its own. Furthermore, as a nocturnal species, the bird-eating spiders do not hesitate to spend daytime in deeply hidden burrows and slither out at night to hunt their prey.
Despite its name, the Goliath birdeater hardly ever preys on birds; in the wild, it eats mostly other large arthropods, worms, and amphibians. These species, however, kill and consume a variety of insects and small terrestrial animals, and small birds due to their size and opportunistic predatory behavior patterns.
The majority of goliath’s diet consists of insects, but frogs and rats are also on the list. It lurks in the Amazon mostly in search of insects with the occasional frog or rodent. When a Goliath jumps on a mouse, its inch-long fangs operate like hypodermic needles, injecting neurotoxins into the dying prey.
They avoid eating their prey in the open; instead, they drag the nearly dead animal back to their burrow, where the digestive process starts. They succeed in this by liquifying their prey’s insides because they can’t consume solids, so they liquefy the prey’s insides before sucking it dry.
1.4 How do they hunt?
The biggest spider in the world makes its home in the remote rainforests of South America. They are most active during the night. But for these ambush predators hunting means lying and waiting near the entrance to their burrow. The Goliaths lay down a silk welcome mat, which acts like a tripwire letting the spider know when something ventures within range.
Goliaths and other spiders have weak vision, even though they have eight eyes. Vibrations rippling across their sensitive hairs alert them to the presence of prey. It’s only a matter of time before some hapless creature like a mouse wanders too close and brushes against the silk mat. The Goliath’s venom is fatal, and it can easily kill a mouse.
1.5 Defense Mechanism
The biggest spider in the world, Goliath birdeaters stridulate in response to threats and for self-defense. The hairy bird-eating spiders, rub the hairs around their mouth to create a detectable hissing sound. They generally make the hissing noise to frighten away any perceived threat from large animals, or to alert their predators. Furthermore, stridulation is accompanied by another defensive measure used by big spiders, in which they also rub their abdomen with their hind legs, releasing stinging hairs that are highly irritating to the skin and mucous membranes.
This fearsome predator has predators of its own for example, snakes or coatis. It has poor eyesight, and it cannot hide because it isn’t even aware of its predators. It relies on vibrations and sensitive hairs to warn itself of the approaching danger. To protect itself from danger, it uses long-range barbed hairs on its body which are tipped with tiny stinging barbs. The spider rubs its legs and flicks them up into the air like miniature missiles.
Urticating hairs can be dangerous to humans. Theraphosa blondi spiders, like all tarantulas, have fangs sufficiently large enough to break human skin (2-4 cm or 0.79-1.57 in). They have venom in their fangs and have been known to bite when threatened, but the toxin released is pretty benign and has effects similar to a wasp sting. Tarantulas bite humans only in self-defense, and these bites generally do not result in a venomous bite.
Female goliaths cover their large egg sacs, which hold somewhere around 50 and 150 eggs, using the same urticating hairs. Hatchlings remain close to the female spider until they are two to three years old. Goliaths do not spin webs to catch their prey, but they do use their weaving abilities to line their burrows beneath the forest floor.
In certain parts of South America, the giant spider is considered a delicacy. Goliath bird eaters are a part of local cuisine in northeastern South America, the spider is eaten by singeing off the stinging hairs and roasting it in banana leaves. It has a shrimp-like flavor.
2. Giant Huntsman Spider
The Giant huntsman spider is ranked second on our list. The Goliath birdeater is the biggest spider in the world, but the Giant huntsman (Heteropoda maxima) has longer legs and a significantly bigger appearance. It is considered the world’s biggest spider by leg span, which can reach up to 30 cm (1 ft) and its body length is 4.6 cm (1.8 in). Giant huntsman spiders are distinguished by their twisted leg orientation, which gives them a crab-like walk.
In most parts of Australia, larger specimens of these spiders are known as wood spiders because they prefer to live in wooded areas. Many Giant huntsman spiders have flattened bodies that allow them to live in narrow areas under loose bark or rock crevices. This is assisted by their legs, which, rather than bending vertically concerning their bodies, have the joints twisted so that they spread out forward or laterally in a crab-like manner.
The huntsman spider’s vision is not nearly as good as that of jumping spiders. Their vision, on the other hand, is more than adequate to identify approaching humans or other wild animals from a distance.
These spiders have venomous bites that may necessitate medical intervention. Its bite can cause harm, with local swelling and pain causing nausea, headaches, vomiting, and heart palpitations. Huntsman spiders, like all spiders, molt to grow, and their old skin is frequently mistaken as the original spider when seen suspended on the bark of a tree or in the house. In general, Huntsman spiders are not dangerous. Female spiders, on the other hand, are known to defend aggressively against a potential threat to their egg sacs and their young spiderlings.
Male spiders create a rhythmic ticking sound, which is similar to that of a quartz clock, while females do not tick. Listening to the ticking sound and walking in the opposite direction of the sound can safeguard you from the venomous bite of male spiders.
Most Huntsman spiders have a lifespan of two years or more. The Giant huntsman spider is only found in a cave in Laos, but similar huge Huntsman spiders can be found all over the world in warm and mild climates.
3. Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater
The Brazilian salmon pink bird eater (Lasiodora parahybana), bird eater ranks third on our list, with a leg span of up to 10 inches. The third-largest spider is just an inch smaller than the world’s largest spider. Although males possess longer legs than females, females weigh more (over 100 grams). This large tarantula species breeds easily in captivity and is regarded as submissive. When provoked, however, the salmon pink birdeater can give a bite roughly equivalent to that of a cat.
This species is found in Brazil’s rainforests. However, because it is a popular captive pet, you may see them in pet stores or at your neighbor’s house.
The Brazilian salmon pink birdeater is one of the largest spiders. This spider grows quickly and can reach a diameter of 6 inches in its first year of life. As the name suggests, Brazilian salmon pink bird eaters are partly pink, with long salmon-colored hairs protruding from their legs, abdomens, and mouthparts. These spiders are mostly dark brown with pink patches.
Brazilian salmon pink birdeater are ground dwellers and can be found on the forest floor in Brazil. They are usually located during the daytime in burrows or natural hiding spots. They prowl at night to prey and find a mate. Because of their name, you might assume these tarantulas only eat birds, but that is not the case. While they do eat the occasional small bird, the majority of their food comes in the form of insects, small lizards, frogs, and mice.
4. Grammostola Anthracina
Grammostola Anthracina belongs to the Theraphosidae family of spider spices. Females are larger than males, ranging in size from 7-9 inches, whereas males have smaller bodies accompanied by long legs.
Some species are jet black, while others are brown, grey, or have dual coloration. Pink or orange hairs can be found in many species. Female spiders lay approximately 500 eggs in a sac. The number of eggs produced by each species varies. Some spiders molt before they reach adulthood. Other than the sperm web used for reproduction, these spiders do not make any webs.
These spiders hold mild venom that is not usually fatal for humans, but medical assistance should always be availed, in case of a spider bite. Grammostola anthracina, like the Brazilian salmon pink bird eaters, are famous as pets due to their appearance, size, and behavior.
Grammostola anthracina is a tarantula that lives in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay in the scrub, desert areas, and grasslands. Insects and small reptiles and invertebrates such as beetles, moths, grasshoppers, lizards, cockroaches, and mealworms make up their diet.
5. Colombian Giant Tarantula
The Colombian giant tarantula (Megaphobema robustum) resides in the Amazon rainforest of northern Brazil and Colombia. They are found primarily in tree trunks. The majority of them are black, though brown specimens with some reddish parts have been discovered. It is known to grow to a size of 9.1 inches and can be extremely aggressive, and it can also exhibit unusual defensive behavior. It has large sharp spines on its legs that it uses to capture its prey and as a defense against small predators.
The Colombian giant tarantula eats mice, lizards, and large insects, so you might like to keep one for pest control at home. However, they are not particularly venomous spiders, but these spiders are notoriously aggressive, frequently spinning and striking out with their spiked rear legs, so avoid them if you come across one in the wild. However, its size and appearance are sufficient to frighten anyone.
6. Face-Sized Tarantula
One of the few tarantula species not indigenous to South America is the bizarrely descriptive Face-sized tarantula. In Sri Lanka, the Face-sized tarantula (Poecilotheria rajaei) has adjusted to deforestation by making its home in old deserted buildings. They are arboreal tarantulas, also known as ornamental tarantulas, and are distinguished by their vibrant color patterns, quick movement, and powerful and effective venom when compared to other tarantulas.
These spotted wild beasts enjoy consuming birds, lizards, rodents, and even snakes. These tarantula species can be found in Sri Lanka and India.
7. Hercules Baboon Spider
The Hercules baboon spider’s only known specimen was captured in Nigeria around a century ago and is now housed at the Natural History Museum in London. It gets its name from the striking similarity between its legs and a baboon’s fingers.
Hercules baboon tarantulas are native to Africa and are known for being massive and hostile, but they haven’t been found in the forest since 1900.
The king baboon spider (Pelinobius muticus) is found in East Africa and can reach a length of 7.9 inches (20 cm). Harpactirinae is the other tarantula subfamily known as baboon spiders. They are African tarantulas with extremely potent venom.
8. Camel Spider
Except for Australia, the Camel spider (order Solfigae) is found in all warm deserts and scrublands. Camel spiders also called wind scorpions are usually camel-colored. They are not venomous.
They are neither true scorpions nor true spiders, they are a cross between a scorpion and a spider, with two massive chelicerae or fangs for biting and making eerie hissing sounds.
The majority of Solifugae species live in arid environments and feed strategically on ground-dwelling arthropods and other small rodents. The largest species can grow around 12-15 cm long, including the legs. Their potential threat to humans is insignificant.
9. Brazilian Wandering Spiders
All the species of Brazilian wandering spiders belong to the genus Phoneutria. They are located mainly in northern South America, with one species found in Central America.
Wandering spiders get their name because they spend the night on the forest floor instead of in a burrow or a web. They spend the day hiding inside termite mounds, under fallen branches and rocks, or in banana plants. Brazilian wandering spiders are extremely venomous, they can kill a person within 2 hours.
10. Cerbalus Aravaensis
The Cerbalus aravaensis is a huntsman spider located in the southern Arava Valley of Israel and Jordan. It is the largest member of the Sparassidae family in the Middle East, with a leg span of 14 centimeters (5.5 in). That’s why it can be considered as the biggest spider in the world, but the actual biggest spider in the world is Goliath birdeater.
The Sands of Samar, the last remaining sand dunes in Israel’s southern Arava region are the home to these spiders. They are rapidly vanishing due to agriculture and sand quarries. Cerbalus aravaensis is unlikely to survive if the Sands of Samar are destroyed.
Cerbalus aravaensis resides in sand dunes and on stable sands near salt marshes. It is nocturnal and most active during the hot summer months. It builds underground dens with hinged, trap-door made of sand and glue to hide the entrance from predators.
These huge spiders are killing machines perfectly adapted to their habitats. But, the biggest spider in the world, and the baddest of them all is the Goliath birdeater.