Amazing Goliath Bird-Eating Tarantula (Theraphosa blondi) Facts

  • The World’s largest spider by mass, and one of the largest in leg span
  • It can grow up to 12cm, with a leg span of 28cm and weight of 175g
  • Injects venom into its prey through its 2cm long fangs which paralyses it
  • It’s fangs are strong enough to pierce a mouse’s skull
  • They will generally only bite humans in self defense and often the bite won’t be venomous (known as a dry bite)
  • To humans its bite is not very toxic but can cause pain, nausea and sweating for a few hours (pain similar to that of a wasp sting)
  • As a warning they can produce a loud hissing noise by rubbing the bristles on their legs together that can be heard up to 5 meters away
  • They can also flick barbed body hairs from their abdomen with their legs which are so severely irritating it would kill a small mammal such as a mouse
  • To humans these hairs can cause swelling for a few hours and are especially irritating to the eyes and mouth
  • These hairs are the most harmful hairs of the tarantula species
  • Goliaths when threatened will rise up on their hind legs exposing their fangs ready to bite
  • Even with 8 eyes they have weak vision and can only see differences in the level of light
  • Their body is covered in a thick layer of hairs that are very sensitive to movement and vibrations that enable ground and air vibrations to be felt to detect movement
  • Despite being called a bird-eater they rarely eat birds, except young birds
  • They usually feed on invertebrates such as earthworms, insects such as crickets and beetles, and small reptiles such as frogs, lizards and snakes
  • Females live on average 15-25 years, males only 3-6 years
  • Like other tarantulas they shed their skin and so can regenerate limbs
  • They live in rainforests of South America
  • Goliaths are nocturnal and hunt by sneaking up on their prey, pouncing and biting with their fangs, then dragging it back to their dens to eat
  • They don’t have teeth so they eat their prey by regurgitating digestive juices onto it until it is a liquid they can suck it up

 

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