Piotr Naskrecki, an entomologist at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, was in the rainforest in Guyana, surveying the animals and plants to be found there, when he came across a creature that would make many of us freak out. It was a giant, giant arachnid—one that belongs to the largest spider species in the world.
The South American Goliath Birdeater, Theraphosa blondi, can grow so big that its legs span nearly a foot in width. It can also “weigh about as much as a young puppy,” Naskrecki wrote on his blog. It is not deadly to humans, but it does have giant fangs. And it’s so big that the tips and claws on the end of its feet make a sound when it walks.
The Goliath Birdeater is actually a very common species and is sometimes kept as a pet. The spiders don’t survive on birds (earthworms make up more of its diet), but it is capable of killing small creatures. Just watch—if you’re not too squeamish:
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