Giant birdeating spiders

A Goliath Birdeater on a human hand

A Goliath Birdeater on a human hand

  • Goliath birdeater or ”Theraphosa blondi” in latin is the world’s largest spider.
  • The spider is found in wet swamps and around rainforestes in countries such as Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela.
  • A Goliath Birdeater can grow to almost a foot across (almost the size of a dinner plate) and with fangs about an inch long.
  • Despite its threatening size, goliath birdeater is pretty harmless to humans – but they do tend to bite humans when threatened.
  • Their venom’s effect on humans causes swelling and some pain for a couple of hours.
  • Goliath birdeater has the abillity to flick urticating hairs from its body at other creatures it sees as a threat. These hairs can embed themselves in to other animal’s skin or eyes. The hairs can result in painful rashes and is said to feel like sharp shards of fiberglass.
  • Goliath birdeater has an unusual abillity for a spider and that is making noise. When thretened, it rubs the hairs on the legs together causing a hissing noise called ”strudulation” which can be heard up to 15 feet (4.5 m) away.
  • Goliath birdeater got its name because it’s known to take young birds from their nests to eat. The also eat snakes, insects, frogs, lizards and bats.
  • A certain Amerinindian tribe sees the goliath birdeater as a delicacy and carefully hunts it.
A mammoth spider (Golden silk orb-weaver) eating a finch

A mammoth spider (Golden silk orb-weaver) eating a finch

  • In October 2008, some shocking photos began circulating the web. A mammoth spider (Golden silk orb-weaver) was caught on camera eating a bird in a backyard in Cairns, Australia.
  • According to Joel Shakespeare, head spider keeper at NSW’s Australian Reptile Park, it’s unusual to see a mammoth sider eating a bird. They normally prey on insects.
  • It’s not unusual for the Golden silk orb-weaver to grow to the size of a human hand, but this one was even larger.
  • The bird which is a Chestnut-breasted Munia or a ”Bully Bird”, is likely to have flown into the spider’s web and got caught. The web acts as a barbed wire, causing the prey to get more tangled up the more it struggles.
  • A Bully bird grows to 10 – 10.5 cm and got its nickname from its tendency to be aggressive and bully other birds.
  • The mammoth spider doesn’t eat the whole bird, but instead it uses its venom to break down the bird, creating a package of food.

Sources and further reading:

Blue Planet Biomes
Extreme Science-article: Biggest spider
Cairns-article: Spider eats bird

Videos:

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