Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula
There’s a Harvard entomologist (Piotr Naskrecki) who recently explained
he was in Guyana on an expedition one night and heard an animal moving nearby, crumbling leaves under its feet. When he pointed his flashlight towards the disturbance, he expected to see a possum or rat. And that’s what he thought he was looking at initially.
But, he then realized it was actually a tarantula that apparently weighed nearly as much as a puppy. Goliath tarantulas can reach 170 grams in weight, which is well over one-third of a pound. This story helps illustrate just how massive these tarantulas can become.
Nearly twelve inches, from tip of leg to tip of leg. Imagine that for a second. This species got its name because some early explorers saw one consuming a hummingbird. The discovery was unique, however, because they actually don’t spin webs in the traditional sense—they are ambush predators that hunt on the ground.
In captivity, they will gladly consume live adult mice. It’s a bit gruesome, and I don’t personally feed my Goliaths live mice, but I’ve seen it happen number of times. I’ve even seen them consume small snakes.
Oh, did I mention this species can “hiss?” It’s not air, per se, but they use specially-designed hairs to emit a hissing sound. As if they weren’t intimidating enough, right?