Did you know that spiders have been roaming the Earth for a whopping 350 million years? That’s longer than the existence of dinosaurs!
Researchers think that without spiders, we would have a heck of a time dealing with crop-eating bugs and might even face starvation.
These creepy crawlies may give some people the heebie-jeebies, but they’re also fascinating creatures with some impressive physical characteristics. From leg spans that can reach over a foot long to hefty body weights, the largest spiders on the planet are truly a sight to behold.
In this article, we’ll talk about some interesting facts about the biggest of the eight-legged critters.
So let’s dive into it.
1. Giant Huntsman Spider
The family of spiders known as Sparassidae, which includes the famous huntsman spiders, is made up of a whopping 1,383 different species. But out of all those spiders, the Giant huntsman is the biggest of them all when it comes to leg length – making huntsman spiders the largest spiders in the world!
These spiders are sometimes called wood spiders or crab spiders because of their speed and hunting style.
Although some people might be intimidated by their massive size, huntsman spiders are actually pretty chill and prefer to keep to themselves. They’re typically around 1 inch in length, but with a leg span of as much as 5 inches, they’re anything but small!
And get this – they actually have eight eyes arranged in two rows of four, which face forward to give them a wide field of vision.
One of the coolest things about huntsman spiders is the way they move – their legs are curved in such a way that they look like little crabs scurrying along the ground. Hence the name “crab spider”!
2. Goliath Bird Eater Tarantula
The Goliath Bird Eater Tarantula is a pretty big and scary-looking spider, with a chestnut brown to dark tone and spines on its third and fourth leg sets.
It has four pairs of legs and some appendages near its mouth called chelicerae and pedipalps. The chelicerae have teeth and toxins, while the pedipalps are used for sensing and grasping.
If threatened, this spider can make a loud hissing sound by rubbing its hairs together or even throwing its hairs at attackers. It also raises its rear legs to show off its big teeth as a defensive tactic.
Male spiders have a special “finger” on the underside of their front legs that they use to hook onto the female’s fangs during mating.
Unfortunately for the males, they usually die within a few months after mating. Females lay their eggs in a web and can produce anywhere from 50 to 200 offspring, which hatch from fertilized eggs as they drop off the female’s body.
3. Hercules Baboon Spider
Many would wonder why it’s called the Hercules Baboon Spider. While the hercules in the name is quite obvious seeing its size, the baboon comes from the striking similarity of the spider’s feet pads with that of a baboon’s fingers.
This venomous tarantula can be found in several African countries, including Nigeria, but it’s a rare sight these days. The last one discovered is now living in the Natural History Museum in London. These monstrous spiders like to hide in tunnels and live in fields, dry scrublands, and savannah forests, where they create deep burrows to escape the scorching sun.
The Hercules spiders are not picky eaters and will go after anything from insects to small bugs.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much information about their appearance since they’re such a rare species. But we do know that they’re larger than camel spiders and Brazilian wandering spiders, and they have hair all over their body. Their long legs look like a primate’s fingers, and their carapace has colorful bands and patterns.
When they’re feeling threatened, they’ll stretch their front legs to reveal their teeth – yikes!
4. Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird Eater
Tarantula (large hairy spiders) fans can’t get enough of the Brazilian Salmon Pink BirdEater.
Lucky for them, these eight-legged cuties are a breeze to care for and grow super-fast, reaching up to six inches in their first year with proper nurturing.
These Pink Birdeater Tarantulas are true low-maintenance pals, preferring to chill out on the forest floor where they’ve adapted to thrive in the hot and humid weather conditions.
Unlike their climber and digger peers, these tarantulas are more inclined to show off in the open. That’s why they’re a top attraction in the pet trade, drawing in potential buyers left and right.
Other tarantula species tend to hide out most of the time, only creeping out when the sun goes down.
5. Grammostola Anthracina
In most countries where Grammostola Anthracina resides, it’s not cool to catch and sell them commercially since they’re not so numerous and capturing them from the wild can mess with their ecosystem.
Most spiders of this genus have brown bodies with orangish-red or pinkish hairs. Male spiders of this genus have notably long legs. Females lay about 500 small, round eggs in a silken sac, and the spiderlings go through multiple molting phases before reaching adulthood.
These spiders do not typically make webs but instead use silk to protect their burrows. However, male spiders create sperm webs for reproduction.
Due to their extremely submissive nature, these spiders are popular as pets. Plus, they’re not easy to come by in captivity because breeding them is a tricky task. Even if you manage to breed them, when the little ones hatch, they can easily slip through small terrarium openings.
Keeping them in a domesticated terrarium won’t be the best for their growth and health. It’s better to leave them in their natural habitat. Also, their hairs can sting, so beware!
6. Chaco Golden-knee
This cool spider, the Chaco Golden-knee, can grow up to 7-8 inches and female specimens can live for up to 25 years, which is a long time!
They’re not the slowest growers, but if you start with a little baby spider, it could take years before you see its full grown-up colors.
Luckily, they’re not dangerous to humans because their venom isn’t a big deal, but they do have hairs that can irritate your skin. These spiders are known for being friendly and not kicking their hairs, but sometimes they can be moody.
This big fella needs a spacious tank, at least 15 gallons, to feel comfy.
A large piece of bark or a plastic hut and about 6 inches of a soft substrate like coconut fiber or natural compost would be good. Keep a shallow water dish in the tank, and make sure it’s in a warm room away from direct sunlight.
They’re happy with a simple diet of small, harmless bugs like crickets, roaches, and grasshoppers.
If your spider hasn’t eaten within a few hours, take away the food and try again the next day (unless they’re in the middle of shedding, in which case, give them some space).
7. Colombian Giant Tarantula
This daring spider is not to be messed with. When threatened, it won’t hesitate to try and make a break for it or use its defense mechanism of throwing its stinging hairs at its attacker.
But something sets this spider apart from other tarantulas:
Another trick a Colombian Giant Tarantula uses is, instead of the usual aggressive posture of raising its front legs, the Colombian giant tarantula will use its pointed fourth set of legs to deliver some swift and powerful kicks to any potential predators.
It’ll even confuse its attacker by spinning around in circles, which is aided by the unique coloring of its legs.
8. Camel Spider
Even though Camel Spiders are not harmful to humans, they’re not to be taken lightly. They’re fierce predators that can cause death to insects, rodents, reptiles, and small birds.
These tough creatures are equipped with massive, strong jaws that can be up to one-third of their body length. They use these jaws to grab and crush their prey with a chopping or slicing motion.
While not venomous, they do use digestive fluids to dissolve their victim’s tissue, making it easy to suck the remains into their stomachs.
Camel Spiders have a tan and dark brown coloration, with small hairs on their body. These fine hairs help to insulate them from the desert heat, and their color helps them blend into the dry, hot environment around them, making it easier to avoid predators.
Although they have eight legs, some people mistakenly think they have ten, as Camel Spiders have two long pedipalps near their mouths.
9. Brazilian Wandering Spider
These spindly-looking creatures can grow up to 4-5 inches long, with long prickly legs and big, intimidating red jaws.
They’re fast and agile hunters with eight eyes, two of which are massive, and they’re definitely not tarantulas – not even close! While tarantulas are harmless and tend to wait for prey to come, Brazilian Wandering Spiders are active trackers.
But here’s something both spiders have in common – they definitely don’t have a taste for bananas! There are nine different types of nocturnal wandering spiders in Brazil, and they can also be found in other parts of South and Central America, ranging from Argentina to Costa Rica.
These spiders may not be harmful to humans, but their venom is no joke. It can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms, from pain and swelling to muscle paralysis and even death.
So if you happen to come across a Brazilian Wandering Spider, it’s probably best to give it some space and let it go on its way.
10. Cerbalus Aravaensis
The Cerbalus Aravaensis, also known as the Arava huntsman spider, is a fascinating and incredibly rare species of spider that can only be found in the Arava Valley, which spans across Israel and Jordan.
These nocturnal creatures have adapted to life in the desert, particularly in sandy regions and salt bogs.
One unique feature of Cerbalus Aravaensis is its burrowing ability. They create their homes by digging deep holes in the sand and constructing a hinged door made of sand and silk to protect themselves from predators. This elaborate door serves as camouflage, making it difficult for predators to locate their dwelling.
Unfortunately, the future of this incredible species is uncertain due to its severely limited habitat.