Nov 8, 2022

The World’s Biggest Spider Uses Its Leg Hair As A Weapon

As if people needed one more reason to fear spiders, it appears that there’s good reason to avoid more than their bite.

The Goliath birdeater is the world’s biggest spider but surprisingly does not hail from Australia. It lives in the Amazon and feasts on insects, rodents, and even birds, stunning prey with its one-inch fangs before dragging it into its burrow.

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Image Credit: iStock

The arachnid is nearly a foot across (leg span) and weighs nearly 6 ounces.

Even though they’re big enough to drag home a possum for dinner, the Goliath birdeater is not without predators. That said, when a snake, another tarantula, or a small mammal decides to go after a Goliath spider, they’re definitely going to get a fight – possibly in the form of being harpooned by a leg hair straight to the eye.

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Image Credit: iStock

These specialized hairs, called urticating hairs, are aimed and set loose by the tarantula rubbing their legs together. They also line the females’ egg sacs to deter predators from ending baby spider lives before they really begin.

The spiders get said egg sacs by building what’s known as a “sperm web,” a tent-like structure that the male spider laces with sperm for the female to come and pick up.

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Image Credit: Wellington Zoo

Wellington Zoo in New Zealand was the first zoo in over 20 years to successfully hatch a clutch back in 2020, so check out the video if you’re not afraid of spiders.

The spiders are not endangered even though they are enjoyed roasted and wrapped in banana leaves by the locals.

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