Largest spiders in the world

 

Goliath bird eating tarantula

Credit: © Louiseefer – Fotolia.com

 

The biggest tarantula of them all

The word’s largest and heaviest spiders are tarantulas and the biggest of all is the Goliath bird eating tarantula which can be found in the coastal forests of Venezuela and Guya.

Share

 

How big can it get?

The leg span of the goliath bird-eating tarantula can reach nearly a foot across – more than enough to to cover your dinner plate or, worse still, your face! It maybe that the smaller bodied Australian Huntsman spider has an even larger leg span – but either way they’re both enormous.

 

What does it eat?

Although known for stealing small birds from nests (hence its name), birds are not this enormous spider’s main diet for a simple reason: it usually can’t catch them. Regular lunch consists of insects, frogs, small snakes lizards, rodents and even bats.

 

How does it hunt?

It doesn’t weave webs. Instead it sneaks up and pounces on its unsuspecting victim. Once caught, the spider uses its large fangs, which can be 2.5 cm long, to inject a powerful venom that paralyses and liquefies its helpless prey. Once the insides are sufficiently liquefied, the spider sucks its victim dry – leaving nothing but an empty husk.

 

How dangerous?

A bite from a tarantula is not much worse than a sting from a wasp. However if threatened, this tarantula can get nasty by flicking hairs from its abdomen in the direction of its attacker. The tiny hairs have barbs and can be extremely irritating to the skin.  A far more aggressive and deadly eight-legged brute is the Brazilian wandering spider.

 

Share

 

How many are left?

The goliath bird-eating tarantula is a reclusive spider by nature that is found mainly in tropical South America. Unfortunately, due  to human encroachment on its habitat it is now an endangered species.

 

Anything else?

While many people fear these spiders, others such as the Piaroa people of Venezuela consider the Goliath bird-eating tarantula a most delicious delicacy. They serve them roasted with their fangs on the side as toothpicks.

 

Fried tarantula

Fried tarantula

 

More great posts on animal size below!

 

Holy guacamole! I really want to...

Largest snake in captivity – meet Medusa

Posted by on Apr 26, 2012 in Size | 0 comments

 

Medusa  is a huge reticulated python that has recently been recognised as the largest snake living in captivity by the Guinness Book of Records.

 

How big is Medusa?

This huge python is 25 feet long, weighs more than 300Ibs and takes 15 people to hold her.  The previous record holder was Fluffy, a 24 feet long reticulated python who died in October 2011 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio.

 

What does she eat?

Medusa eats a 40lb animal about once a week but could easily eat something weighing double or perhaps even triple that.

 

Is she dangerous?

Medusa’s trainer recognises that in the wild, the snake he fondly owns as a pet is a potential man eater. But Larry thinks fear is simply a lack of understanding and insists Medusa is far less dangerous than going for a drive in a car. Then again, when you go for a drive in your car, you never have to worry that your pet might crush you to death because its feeling peckish…

 

Longest non venomous snake in Australia – Scrub python

Posted by on Apr 24, 2012 in Size | 0 comments

Scrub python

Scrub python


 

Long and beautiful

The longest non-venomous snake in Australia is the scrub python, also known as the Amethystine due to its amethyst-like colour. This goliath reptile is also native to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

 

How big can it get?

In a country of deadly serpents, this venom-free snake dwarves its poisonous counterparts growing in excess of 8 metres (26 feet).

 

What does it eat?

Like many other constrictors, the scrub python isn’t a fussy eater, so long as salad isn’t on the menu. This carnivore will happily chow down on small birds, other reptiles, fruit bats and frogs. It has also been known to enjoy the odd kangaroo.

 

How does it hunt?

Nocturnally and patiently. It is an ambush predator that does most of its hunting at night, silently awaiting an unsuspecting creature to pass within its reach. A quick strike is followed by brutal constriction.

 

How dangerous is it?

That depends on what species you are. To its prey it is deadly but humans are rarely attacked. Still, not aggravating a scrub python is a preferred course of action should you encounter one in the wild.

 

How many are left?

While exact numbers are all but impossible to obtain, the scrub python species is considered stable and not at risk. As with many other species though, continued destruction of mangroves and rainforests could lead to future problems, although the Australian scrubland isn’t going anywhere, and that’s where this python is most at home.

 

Anything else?

For the record, the longest venomous land snake in Australia is the inland taipan which can reach lengths of 3 metres (10 feet) or more. While it might not be as impressive in size as the scrub python, this utterly lethal snake packs a venomous bite that could kill a human in under an hour

Longest snake in North America – Black rat snake

Posted by on Apr 24, 2012 in Size | 0 comments

Black rat snake

Black rat snake photo: cygnus921

Otherwise known as the Western ratsnake

The longest snake in North America is the black rat snake, sometimes referred to as the western ratsnake. This sneaky serpent frequents many states across the U.S.A. and has been spotted as far north as Ontario in Canada.

 

How big can it get?

The longest recorded black rat snake is a shade over two-and-a-half metres (8 feet).

 

What does it eat?

These snakes make excellent pest-control officers. Rats and mice are top of the shopping list, although it will happily munch on squirrels, chipmunks, birds, amphibians and other reptiles.

 

How does it hunt?

This versatile constrictor is as likely to climb trees in search of food as it is to explore the grounds. It’s also an expert at raiding bird boxes and other small enclosures in search of eggs or bird fledglings.

 

How dangerous is it?

Thanks to its length and its black colouring, it is often mistaken for being deadly. Instead, this non-venomous serpent is almost harmless to humans. Folklore though suggests that it will lead prey to venomous rattlesnakes, which it happily co-exists with.

 

How many are left?

Ever heard of a snake with a bodyguard? This species has the police on its side. Despite being considered stable, many states have made it illegal to kill or collect the black rat snake. Anybody found doing so will pay a hefty price.

 

Anything else?

Whilst the black rat snake is the longest indigenous snake in North America, a number of bigger species are beginning to appear in the U.S. Non-native species that have been introduced as pets are now finding their way into the wild by escaping or being disregarded by owners that can no longer take care of them. As such, giants such as the Burmese python and African rock python are now at large in Florida.