With over 40,000 species, there are spiders of all colors, types, and, of course, sizes. Yet, when it comes to giant spiders, you may only know of tarantulas. But are classic tarantulas the largest arachnids that exist? Keep on reading to find out!
The biggest spider alive is the Goliath Birdeater, with a total length of 12 inches. The Goliath Birdeater is a type of tarantula that lives in South America. Because of their size, these arachnids can even eat medium birds, hence the name.
But what else do we know about Goliath Birdeaters? And what other giant spiders are out there in the world? We have the answer to all your questions down below!
The 9 Biggest Spiders in the World
1. Goliath Birdeater (Theraphosa blondi)
Like we said before, the Goliath Birdeater is the most prominent spider species alive. An adult Goliath Birdeater gets to be around 12 inches (30cm) in total length.
These spiders also have 1-inch long fans, so they’re the stuff of an arachnophobic’s nightmares!
Goliath Birdeaters live in rainforests in South America and are a type of tarantula. Thus, they produce a kind of venom to kill their prey, but it’s not lethal to humans. Yet, Goliath Birdeaters can fling hairs that irritate the skin and eyes.
Another thing that makes Goliath Birdeaters so scary is that they can make a hissing sound. You can hear this song from 15 meters away, and the spiders make it by rubbing their legs together. Yikes!
The Goliath Birdeater is the biggest and heaviest spider species on earth, with a 6.2 oz (175 g) weight.
2. Giant Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda maxima)
The Giant Huntsman Spider is also 12 inches long but not as heavy as the Goliath Birdeater spider. So, you could say these species lost by a hair… or many (sorry about the bad joke!).
That said, Giant Huntsman Spiders appear larger due to their slimmer, longer legs. To give you an idea: The legs of this spider can cover an entire dinner plate!
Something that makes these species stand out is their crab-like walk. These spiders walk sideways or backward and are very, very fast.
Luckily, if you’re arachnophobic, this particular spider only lives in a cave in Laos. But you can see smaller spiders of the Hunstman “family” in other parts of the world.
This spider’s name has to do with how they stalk, hunt, and pounce on their prey.
3. Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater (Lasiodora parahybana)
As you can guess by its name, Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeaters live in Brazil and have 11-inch long legs.
These species use their striking pink hairs to fling them at predators and prey. Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeaters can also deliver an excruciating bite. Still, these spiders are not uncommon as pets around the world since they can be docile.
Like Hunstman Spider’s these species pounce on their prey and kill it to feed. These arachnids eat lizards, mice, smaller spiders, insects, and frogs. But, despite what its name may make you believe, these spiders don’t feed on birds.
4. Grammostola anthracina
The Grammostola anthracina is another type of tarantula that can be 10 inches big. These species live in South America, in countries like Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.
Besides being among the biggest spiders globally, these spiders have the longest lifespan. A Grammostola anthracina can live up to 30 years. The longevity and docile personality of this spider make it a common pet worldwide.
These spiders eat many rodents and insects, which include mice and crickets.
So, although their size may make them intimidating, you’ll be safe around one of these spiders. Most arachnids are more likely to run from you than to attack you. To spiders, humans look like massive predators and threats.
5. Colombian Giant Tarantula (Megaphobema robustum)
Another South American spider to make this list! The Colombian Giant Tarantula gets to be between 6 and 8 inches big. Some people refer to these species as “eye candy” or “red leg” tarantula because of their colorful legs.
But there’s a unique trait about these spiders.
When they sense danger, Colombian Giant Tarantulas dance circles around their enemies.
This defense mechanism is a strategy that hopes to confuse their attackers. There’s even a term for this dance: Cartwheel of death.
As with other names in this list, these spiders eat large insects, rodents, and lizards.
As with other names in this list, these spiders eat large insects, rodents, and lizards. And although these spiders have a reputation for being aggressive, many people get them as pets.
6. Face-Sized Tarantula (Poecilotheria rajaei)
The Face-Sized Tarantula is around eight inches long and lives in Sri Lanka and India. This tarantula’s name has to do with, you guessed it, how it is the same size as an adult human’s face. Points for creativity!
These spider species adapted to live in abandoned buildings in Sri Lanka. This evolutionary factor has to do with the deforestation of the spider’s habitat.
Some people consider these species one of the rarest spiders alive. But the reality is, Face-Sized Tarantulas can camouflage and, thus, are hard to see in the wild. These spiders come in grey and brown shades.
Face-Sized Tarantulas can eat lizards, rodents, birds, and even some types of snakes.
7. Hercules or King Baboon Spider (Pelinobius muticus)
The King Baboon or Hercules Baboon Spider is 7.5 inches big but can also reach eight inches. The name for this spider comes from the similarities between its legs and a baboon’s fingers. Thus, these species come in a reddish-orange shade or a bronze color.
These spiders are common pets around the world, but maybe they shouldn’t. A King Baboon Spider has an aggressive nature and a potent venom that it is not afraid to use.
These types of tarantulas are native to Africa but could be extinct soon. Yet, there are smaller versions of these spiders around the world.
In the world, a King Baboon Spider eats small mice, crickets, and beetles.
8. Camel Spider (Galeodes arabs)
The Camel Spiders are six inches long arachnids that live in deserts around the world. In the past, these spiders went viral with photos taken to make them seen way bigger. How big? The size of a soldier’s calf!
There were even crazier rumors about Camel Spiders eating the insides of camels.
The myths about these species may relate to their scary appearance. A Camel Spider has huge jaws that are about a third of its total body length. These arachnids, which look like both spiders are scorpions, also make creepy sounds.
There is one actual horror movie-friendly fact about these species. Camel Spiders are super fast, running at ten mph (16 km/h). At least these arachnids are not venomous to humans!
Camel Spiders tend to be light yellow or brown in terms of color. The diet of a Camel Spider includes beetles, crickets, and other insects. We’re happy to inform you that these arachnids don’t eat camels or humans.
9. Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria fera)
One of the scariest and deadliest spiders to make this list is the Brazilian Wanderer Spider. This spider is so aggressive that its order Phoneutria means “murderess” in Greek. In 2010, this spider even made the 2010 Guinness World Book of Records as the most venomous.
The venom of a Brazilian Wanderer Spider can kill an adult person in only four hours. There are rumors of the poison causing painful, four-hour erections on men as well.
Brazilian Wanderer Spiders are almost six inches big, and they look like tarantulas. But they’re not tarantulas, which are non-lethal to humans and mind their own business. A Brazilian Wanderer Spider will try to bite you at the slightest sight of you “provoking” them.
These spiders eat mice, lizards, and insects. Oh, and these South American species can also travel around the world inside bananas… with their egg sacs!
So, if you spot a light golden or down brown tarantula-like spider in South America, run! Especially if the spider in question is around 5.9 inches big. But, if you see an arachnid with this description in your local grocery store, also run.