After catching the latest fantasy movie epic, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which features a spine-tingling scene featuring a forest-full of computer generated pockmocked giant spiders, I began to wonder, “What are the world’s largest web slingers?” Humankind’s constant obsession with larger-than-life spiders is clearly evidenced with Hollywood flicks like The Hobbit, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and even 2013’s Big Ass Spider (whose main character is a Western Exterminator pest control technician). I must admit even harmless Daddy long leg spiders give me the creeps in my basement on a regular basis.
In reality, there are some mammoth eight-legged anthropods that really tip the scales (well, at least for an insect). One important fact to note is that size does not always mean that a spider is more dangerous than another. For example, the Guinness World Records, lists the Brazilian wandering spider as the most venomous spider in the world which is half the size of some of the world’s largest spiders. Spider bites rarely result in death and are for the most part harmless. Regardless, spiders of unusual size never fail to fascinate and terrify humans (usually both at the same time). Enjoy learning about these giant-sized spiders!
The present record holder for longest spider leg span (12 inches), the giant huntsman spider is found in the Southeast nation of Laos. To give yourself a clear mental picture, this spider is about the size of a dinner plate. Eek! Found typically in caves, the extremely long-legged spider is not very venomous and bites are often pain-free after only a few days. Huntsman spiders are known for their quickness and can live for over 2 years. The giant huntsman is quite larger than the average huntsman spider whose leg span averages 5 inches. These bad boys feed on insects and lizards and have often been called “crab-like’ for their ability to move quickly side-to-side.
Giant Baboon Spider
If you ever find yourself in the African Rainforest, the giant baboon spider is one animal you probably don’t want to cross paths with. These large spiders can grow up to 12 inches and are members of the tarantula family. Naturally reclusive, the giant baboon spider typically spends most of its time tucked away in the elaborate burrows it digs and waits for prey to wander by. While they typically feed on insects, this spider has been known to eat small snakes. As evidenced by the video above, this spider is also a popular with insect collectors even though it is a quite shy species.
Home to the remote rainforests of South America, the Goliath birdeater is the world’s heaviest spider. With inch-long fangs, the monster spider gets its name from undocumented stories of the insect eating actual birds. It weighs as much as 6 ounces and has a leg span of 11 inches. To humans, the eight-eyed creature’s bite is likened to a bee sting and there has never been a documented case of the Goliath killing a human. The spiders trap prey with webbed burrows feeding mainly on lizards, insects and mice.
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Which of these eight-leggers frightens you the most? Share below in the comments!
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"Sean is an Online Content and Social Media Specialist at Rentokil North America. He oversees the company's Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn company pages and is the editor of the deBugged blog and Greener on the Inside blog. Follow Sean on Google+