There are two candidates for the world’s biggest spider, the Goliath Birdeater and the Giant huntsman spider. In terms of mass, the Goliath Birdeater is bigger. The Birdeater can weigh over 170 grams / 6 ounces. The leg span can reach 12 inches. The leg span of some huntsman spider species is slightly longer.
The Goliath Birdeater
This spider can be found in the rainforests in the northern parts of Latin America. These spiders tunnel deep into the ground. They reside in burrows and in marshy lands.
The species are so-called because 18th century researchers witnessed one consuming a hummingbird. In spite of the name, the Birdeater’s diet usually consists of invertebrates and insects. But its size allows the species to prey on other creatures.
Some species have been observed feeding on bats, lizards, poisonous snakes and rodents. Captive Goliath Birdeaters are usually fed cockroaches, mice and anoles. They can also be fed crickets as long as it does not exceed their body size.
The females eat the males after mating. The average life span is 15 to 25 years. Females reach maturity at 3 to 4 years of age. Lifespan of males is about three to six years. They usually die after maturity. The colors usually range from light or dark brown.
Many of the spiders have slight markings around the legs. Females usually lay 100 to 200 eggs. It takes two months for the eggs to hatch.
Giant Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda maxima)
This spider belongs to the Heteropoda genus. It has a yellowish brown color. The world’s biggest spider also has dark spots distributed unevenly on its back part.
Before the legs’ first bend are some dark bands. They twist forward in a manner similar to a crab. The legs of the huntsman spider are much longer compared to the rest of its body.
The Giant huntsman spider is native to Laos. Majority of scientists believe that the species live in caves. The long legs, unique hairs and color make it suitable for such dwelling places. However, it may also be found in other places. The species were discovered in Las in 2001.
It should be noted that many of the Giant huntsman spiders have the same length as the Goliath Birdeater (12 inches). Because the Goliath has a larger mass, it is regarded by some as the world’s biggest spider. But others contend it is the huntsman.