A scientist got an apparently hoorible surprise when he reportedly stumbled upon a giant Goliath spider the size of a small puppy. Piotr Naskrecki was out for a nightime walk in a Guyana rainforest when he thought he had heard a rustling sound coming from a small animal running nearby.
“When I turned on the light, I couldn’t quite understand what I was seeing,” the entomologist and photographer from Harvard University told Live Science. It was a moment later that he realized he was looking not at a brown, furry mammal, but an enormous, puppy-size spider.
Known as the South American Goliath birdeater (Theraphosa blondi), the colossal arachnid is the world’s largest spider, according to Guinness World Records. Its leg span can reach up to a foot, or about the size of “a child’s forearm,” with a body the size of “a large fist,” Naskrecki told Live Science. And the spider can weigh more than 6 oz. about as much as a young puppy, the scientist wrote on his blog.
Its bite is venomous, but not deadly. But you should still beware.
When Naskrecki approached the creature, it began rubbing its hind legs against its abdomen. The action sent out a cloud of hairs with microscopic barbs on them that can be “extremely painful” if they get in your eyes or nose, he said.
In effect this hair of his works almost like the quills on a porcupine, resulting in whatever is hit with the tiny hair to itch for a week!
The spider was given the “birdeater” name after being discovered while eating a hummingbird, “they rarely have a chance to [kill birds] while scouring the forest floor at night,” Naskrecki writes on his blog. “Rather, they seem to be feeding on what is available in this moist and warm habitat, and what is available is earthworms — lots of them.”
For further examinations, Naskrecki took him to his lab and found that the creature was a female. According to him, this is so uncommon to encounter with, that in spite of working for more than a decade in these rain forests, he could come across them for thrice only.