The largest of all tarantulas, the Goliath Birdeater (Theraphosa blondi) from Venezuela and Brazil, has been reported to have a weight of 150 grams (5.3 oz) and a leg-span of up to 30 centimetres (12 in), males being the longer and females greater in girth. The Goliath Bird Eater was named by Explorers of the South American Jungles in the early 1900’s when they witnessed the spider devouring a hummingbird. Despite its name, the Goliath Birdeater does not eat birds; it eats invertebrates such as frogs, small snakes beetles, lizards, and even bats. Occasionally, these spiders will take young birds from the nest giving them their name “bird eater”. The Goliath sneaks up on its prey and pounces on it injecting it with poison from its venomous fangs. The Giant bird eating spider is fairly harmless to humans, though there fangs are large enough to break the skin of a human, there venom has been compared to that of a wasp sting. Also when threatened, they may rub their abdomen with their hind legs in order to release fine hairs that are a sever irritant to the skin and mucus membranes.
A female Goliath Tarantula has a long life span of 25 years whilst the males will die after maturity with a life span of about six years. In spring or early summer the male entices the female out of her burrow and they mate at the entrance. Several days later she lays her eggs in a 30mm diameter sack. She stores the egg sack in her burrow and protects it with a tough layer of silk. If for any reason the female should want to leave the hole, usually to hunt, she will often take the egg sack along with her. After an incubation period of 2 to 3 months the eggs hatch revealing more than 100 spiderlings. After birth the spiderlings only stay in the mother’s burrow for their first few weeks and then they find a burrow of their own.Males live for only one year or less after mating. The spiders continue to molt after reaching maturity and are able to regrow any limbs they might lose. Their bodies are dark and light brown in color. Like most spiders they lack antennae and have four pairs of legs. Their bodies are made up of two external parts; the cephalothorax, or head and neck combined, and the abdomen.
Their eyesight is weak even though they have 8 eyes. They can only see differences in the level of light. They rely instead on sensory hairs that feel the slightest vibrations on the ground and in the air, and allow them to detect movement. Once alerted, the goliath sneaks up on prey and inflicts a deadly bite, then drags its meal to a safe place for eating. The spider injects liquefying juices so it can slurp lunch up like a smoothie. Although it is not threatened in the wild, it does have natural enemies like certain spider wasps, some snakes, and other tarantulas. The spiders are most vulnerable during molting when they are fragile and can’t move very well. Smaller insects can easily kill a tarantula in the process of molting. It takes several days for the exoskeleton to harden again.
Did you know that spiders are filled with protein? In Venezuela, the Piaroha tribe considers them a delicacy and often roasts then for a spur-of-the-moment high protein snack in the jungle.They don’t eat the fangs, but they use them as toothpick.
The most dangerous enemy the Spider has is man and the destruction of its habitat.