WHAT IS THE WORLD'S LARGEST SPIDER?
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Let's face it, spiders are not the most popular of creatures, in fact - for most people - spiders are creepy and they are scary. Like disembodied hands they sculk along the floor just waiting to jump up and bite you. Why, because they are evil! Be that as it may, some people love them and the bigger the spider, the better it is.
So just for them , what is the world's biggest spider?
Well, if you are going by body weight, it is the Goliath Birdeating spider, otherwise known as Theraphosa leblondi. Despite its name, the Goliath Birdeater predominately eats invertebrates - such as crickets and mealworms, and small vertebrates - such as mice and lizards. Unsurprisingly, the Goliath Birdeating spider has been known to catch young birds, although this is very rare behaviour. Even so, this spider recieved its name after a Victorian explorer who witnessed one eating a hummingbird.
Not only are they horribly large (if you haven't already guessed, I don't like spiders) they can live and extraodinarily long time too. Female Birdeaters have an average life span of 6 to 14 years, however, males die soon after maturity, and have a lifespan of only 3 to 6 years - good!
The colours of Goliath Birdeating spiders can range from dark to light brown, with faint markings on the legs. They have hair on the body, abdomen, and legs. The female can lay anywhere from 100 to 400 eggs, which will hatch within two months producing 'spiderlings'.
Wild Goliath Birdeaters are a deep burrowing species, found commonly in marshy or swampy areas. They may make a hissing noise when disturbed, and can defend themselves by biting, or by releasing their body hairs. The Goliath Birdeater, like all tarantulas, has fangs large enough to break the skin of a human. Luckily, its venom is relatively non-toxic, but a bite will still cause mild discomfort and swelling for a few hours. WARNING - problems will occur only if the victim is allergic to spiders, or if the wound becomes infected.
The Goliath Birdeating spider, like many tarantulas, can also release its hairs - which are barbed - by flicking at its body wit hits hind legs. These creates a cloud of fine hairs which can cause severe discomfort and irritation when they make contact with bare skin, or when they are inhaled.
Of course, some experts say we should judge the size of a spider by its leg length instead, in which case the largest spider is the Giant Huntsman spider.
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Photo care of http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/04/pictures/110418-20-surprising-species-yoda-bat-walking-shark-science-animals-biggest-spider/