Meet the Goliath Birdeater, the Largest Tarantula in the World

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The Goliath Bird Eating Spider. It’s a marvel of nature, and frankly, doesn’t receive enough publicity. We all spend so long discussing Trump’s tweets, the possible impending war between the US and Iran, climate change and Brexit, that The Goliath Bird Eating Spider hardly gets its proper discursive dues.

We intend to change that. We’re going to give you a rundown of this natural, albeit creepy, eight-legged phenomena. 

If you’re scared of spiders….

This article probably isn’t for you. But, if you can, attempt to rein it in until the end. Spiders are really interesting creatures. 

Spiders are everywhere.

They populate every continent and there are over 30,000 named species of spiders around the world. So get used to them. 

Many dislike them.

Arachnophobia is rife. And it’s always been so. This is probably left-over evolutionary anxiety from when a spider bite could put your cave-dwelling tribe in danger, but it isn’t really relevant any more. 

It may be thanks to films like this.

Arachnophobia (1990) prompted an international “itchy feeling” down the arms of the movie-going public. 

Or this…

Eight Legged Freaks is a masterpiece. Just watch this scene and tell me it isn’t up there with Tarkovsky and Kubrick. 

Shelob left her mark.

Who could forget this classic character from Lord of the Rings

It even goes as far back to the 1950s.

Earth vs the Spider – movie titles were just better back then. 

Spiderman’s doing his bit.

Who’s afraid of Spidey? He’s so responsible.

But in reality…

Spiders aren’t going to take over the world and they come in amazing shapes and sizes. 

Some are geniuses.

Like this Portia Spider. 

Some are brightly coloured.

Like the aptly-named Peacock spider. 

Some are seriously poisonous.

Like the famous Black Widow Spider. 

Some are hard to spot.

Like the Australian Wrap-Around Spider. 

Some utilize the element of surprise.

Like the Trap-Door Spider, who spooks an adorable David Attenborough. 

Some go out raving.

Like this net-caster, fully kitted out – neon for the forest rave. 

Some somersault.

She’s called The Flik Flak Spider. We’re all fans. 

Some have detachable genitals.

Like Darwin’s Bark Spider, which leaves its successful parts inside the female to prevent subsequent flings. 

Some even fish.

How crazy is that?! He’s gone pescatarian. 

And some, like the hero of our story, are f*cking massive.

  via shutterstock  

Here she is, The Giant Goliath Spider. 

They’re the biggest in the world.

Its body length can reach over 11cm (4.5 inches). To put that into perspective, that’s roughly the width of a toilet bowl. 

They can regenerate.

Okay, not entirely like Dr Who, but they can grow back missing limbs. 

They’ve got projectile hairs.

  via shutterstock  

Goliath Spiders, like many Tarantulas, shoot barbed hairs from their abdomen as a defence mechanism. 

Poor Boys.

The males don’t last long after mating; nature deems them unimportant and they die having fulfilled their purpose. 


  via shutterstock  

The Goliath Bird Eating Spider eats… well… birds.
But also large insects and even small rodents. 

They live in burrows.

And use vibration sensors on their feet to sense the proximity of prey.

They won’t kill you.

But they are capable of biting you, and whilst the venom isn’t lethal, it does really hurt. 

People eat them.

In parts of Guyana, fried tarantula is a delicacy.
So bear that in mind if you’re considering opening your own gentrified Guyana street food stall outside the local gallery. 

They’re going strong.

  via shutterstock  

Most Goliath Spiders live far away from potential predators. And scientists say that conservation is going well, upholding a stable population. 

They hiss.

By rubbing hairs together on their legs and head. I’m afraid we couldn’t find a recording. 

People keep them as pets.

Strange people, yes, but people none the less.