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Goliath bird eater


Scientific Name:  Theraphosa leblondi

This spider is a tarantula, and it is the largest spider in the world. Despite its name, the Goliath Bird eater does not eat birds; it eats invertebrates such as crickets and mealworms, and also small vertebrates such as mice and lizards. Native to South America, these spiders can be as large as 12 inches in leg span, when their legs are stretched out. The Goliath Bird eater is one of the few tarantulas which can catch, kill, and eat a full-grown mouse. 

Female Birdeaters have an average life span of 6 to 14 years. Males die soon after maturity. They have a lifespan of only 3 to 6 years. Colours range from dark to light brown, with faint markings on the legs. They have hair on the body, abdomen, and legs. The female lays from 100 to 400 eggs, which will hatch within two months. Young spiders are called 'spider lings'.

Wild Goliath Bird eaters 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.

Fast Facts:

  • The Goliath Bird eater, like all tarantulas, has fangs large enough to break the skin of a human. But its venom is relatively non-toxic; their bite will cause mild discomfort and swelling for a few hours, but problems will occur only if the victim is allergic to spiders, or if the wound becomes infected.
  • The Goliath Bird eater, like many tarantulas, can also release its hairs, which are barbed. These can cause severe discomfort and irritation when they make contact with bare skin, or when they are inhaled. 

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