The Biggest Spider on the Planet
The Goliath birdeater is the king of spiders. Weighing up to six ounces and with a leg span of nearly a foot, this tarantula is the largest arachnid on the planet.
Goliaths don’t usually eat birds, but they are big enough to be able to—and occasionally they do. “Birdeater” came from an 18th-century engraving that showed another kind of tarantula eating a hummingbird, which gave the entire Theraphosa genus the name birdeater.
Insects make up most of the Goliath diet, but frogs and rodents are on the menu too. Goliaths prowl the Amazon in northern South America. When a Goliath pounces on a mouse, for example, its inch-long fangs act like hypodermic needles, pumping neurotoxins into the hapless prey. The spider