Despite its name, this enormous spider is a gentle giant of sorts. The Goliath birdeater spider (Theraphosa blondi) can have a leg span of 11 inches. Only the giant huntsman spider has a longer leg span.
But T. blondi beats out every other spider for mass, weighing up to 6 ounces. Imagine holding this eight-legged, dinner plate-sized creature in your hand! The Goliath birdeater, as it’s commonly called, lives in parts of the Amazon, primarily Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname and Venezuela.
While they don’t typically eat birds, they are large enough to do so. Instead they usually feast on mice, frogs, small rodents and invertebrates. The species has poor eyesight and relies on the hairs on its legs and abdomen to sense what’s going on around it.
Those hairs are useful for other things, too. Should this spider find itself under attack, it can launch a maelstrom of sharp arrow-like hairs by rubbing its back legs against its abdomen. Small but sharp, these hairs can be incredibly painful if they hit the predator in the eyes or nose.
Their impressively lethal one-inch long fangs are used to pump their victims full of venom.
While the females can live up to a quarter of a century, the males only live three to six years on average.
As intimidating as the Theraphosa blondi may seem, they’re not lethal or even harmful to humans. As the saying goes, these spiders are probably more afraid of you than you are of them.
Indeed, they have plenty to fear from us. Goliath birdeaters are considered a delicacy in some areas, and in some cultures they are cooked on a spit.