Does the world’s most massive spider really eat birds?

goliath birdeater spider

A male goliath birdeater. (Snakecollector / Wikimedia Commons)

MYSTERY WIRE — The most massive spider in the world is the goliath birdeater, a tarantula found in South America. It is venomous, and its bite is roughly equivalent to a wasp sting.

Yeah, they’re big, but don’t dwell on the name. That’s not their typical diet by any stretch of the imagination.

Despite its name, the Goliath birdeater doesn’t usually eat birds (although it’s definitely capable of doing so.) Instead, it eats whatever it can find on the ground — usually earthworms, frogs, or other small invertebrates, injecting venom into its prey with its lengthy fangs.

Live Science

Birdeaters can reach 4.5 inches in body length, and overall their legs can stretch to 11 inches. They can weigh as much as 6.5 ounces. So, way bigger than a Quarter Pounder with legs. (But if you cook it, it tastes like shrimp, according to ThoughtCo.

By comparison, the Carolina wolf spider is the biggest species in North America, with a typical body length of just under an inch. Also venomous, about the same as the birdeater.

Another spider, the giant huntsman, is known to reach 12 inches, but it doesn’t have the bulk of the goliath birdeater. The huntsman’s venom is actually more dangerous, but it is only found in a cave in the Southeast Asian nation of Laos.

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