THE WORLD'S BIGGEST SPIDER




Up until recently, the title holder for the World's Largest Spider was well and truly established. It was held by the Goliath birdeater, a massive spider from the upland rainforest regions of northern South America and a member of the tarantula family. While it is still considered to be the world's biggest spider according to its mass, there is a new kid on the block which easily trumps it in sheer size - the Giant Huntsman spider!

The Giant Huntsman Spider recent discovery was in 2001 in a Cave in Laos. It is the largest member of the Sparassidae family, boasting an impressive 1.8 inches body-length and an incredible 12 inch leg-span which makes it about the size of a dinner plate!

These Giant Huntsman spiders are often mistaken for tarantulas because of their size, however you can easily tell them apart because of their unique crab-like legs which allow them to move side to side with incredible speed and agility.

Although they can produce silk these spiders don't usually build webs. As their name suggests, the Giant Huntsman tends to stalk and hunt down their prey. When they attack they inject venom into their prey, but because spiders are unable to 'eat' their victims as they have a narrow gut that can only cope with liquid food. They pump digestive enzymes from the midgut into the prey and then suck the liquefied tissues of the prey into the gut, eventually leaving behind the empty husk of the prey.

The Giant Huntsman mainly feeds on insects and small lizard, but sometimes bigger predators such as birds or geckos can themselves become prey.

Luckily, their venom is not fatal to humans though their bite is very painful. Symptoms can include some swelling of the skin, nausea, vomiting and headaches.

These spiders only live about 2 years and amazingly they're able to regenerate lost limbs.

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