Have you ever wondered what the world’s biggest spider looked like? Let’s face it, most people have some level of fear (irrational or otherwise) of spiders. Whether you are an actual arachnophobe, just don’t like the 8-legged creatures, or maybe, on the other hand, are just plain fascinated by them, the notion of the largest spider in the world is bound to grab your attention.
It’s probably safe to say that the majority of us have been scared at the sight of the tiniest spider, so imagine coming into contact with the world’s largest spider! The biggest spiders in the world come in all shapes and forms, so let’s take a look at the 10 largest spiders and see what we are really dealing with.
It’s always better to ease ourselves into scary, hair-raising situations, so let’s start with the 10th largest and work our way up to the spider that holds the title of the biggest in the world.
10. Tegenaria parietin
Coming in at 5.5 inches, this spider is pretty rare nowadays. Native to Europe, it can be found in Northern Africa, Central Asia, Uruguay and Argentina. England dubbed this creepy, brown spider the ‘cardinal spider’ because Cardinal Woolsey was reportedly frightened by the species. An interesting fact about these spiders is that their legs are roughly three times longer than their 3 inch bodies, making them even creepier than they sound.
9. Nephila edulis – Golden Silk Orb-weaver
This spider is related to the N. jurassica, the largest known fossilized spider and a species that lived over 165 million years ago! Female golden silk orb-weaver’s, known for their impressive web-weaving skills, typically reach 6 inches, including their legs. Their coloring ranges from reddish to greenish-yellow and their head and thorax are distinctly white. Residing in some of the warmest regions in the world, these spiders can be found in Australia, Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. Named for the golden web they weave, these spiders like to set up shop near homes and are an excellent natural pest controller.
8. Cerbalus aravensis
One of the newest species of spiders discovered, these ‘little’ guys can reach up to 7.8 inches, if we include their legs. Discovered in 2010, this spider is found in Israel and Jordan and resides in sand dunes and in the edges of salt marshes. Nocturnal and typically active during the hottest summer months, most of its habitat and behavior is a mystery. This spider’s large body is a silverish gray and the legs are stripped black and silver, definitely a personal encounter we can do without!
7. Phoneutria – Brazilian Wandering Spider
With a leg span nearly 6 inches and a body length of 2 inches, these spiders are scary to begin with. Add in the fact they are one of the most venomous species in the world and we’ve got one deadly combination. Found in the tropics of South America and Central America, they were labeled ‘wanderers’ because of their habit of wandering the jungle floor in search of prey. While some members of this species are more dangerous than others, they are all highly poisonous and should be avoided at any cost.
6. Hysterocrates Spider – Giant Baboon Spider
A member of the tarantula family, this big guy can reach up to 12 inches, including 8 inches of leg. Often kept as pets, these spiders are not a threat to humans, even though they may be one of the scariest looking spiders out there. Found in tropical and sub-tropical environments, these spiders are nocturnal hunters and are often preyed on by mammals, birds, reptiles, wasps, and amphibians.
5. Xenesthis immanis – Purple Bloom Bird-Eater Spider
Known for eating birds, the body of this spider is just over 9 inches long and it is not to be messed with. Native to Columbia, this spider thrives in the highly humid rainforest. While the image of a spider eating a bird is scary in itself, it should be noted that this spider is not a threat to humans.
4. Camel Spider
Camel spiders are also referred to as sunspiders or sun scorpions and are in the class Arachnida, which includes more than 1,000 species ranging in size. They get their name from their humped head, not because of an affinity for camels! Their diet includes insects, lizards, rodents, and small birds, and the species can grow up to 12 inches, including legs.
3. Goliath Birdeater Spider
A member of the tarantula family, this spider is one of the world’s biggest spiders, which a leg span of up to 12 inches. Found in the rainforests of South America, these spiders can weight up to 6 ounces and the females have an average lifespan of 15 to 25 years, whereas males typically only live 3 to 6 years. While they do have fangs that can break the skin of humans, the venom in these spiders is fairly harmless and they are only known to lash out when threatened.
2. Lasiodora parahybana – Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-eating Tarantula
Discovered in Brazil in 1917, these tarantulas are often kept as pets and are one of the largest tarantulas in the world. With a leg span of nearly 12 inches, these spiders are known to prey on small snakes. While they are a popular pet choice among spider-lovers, their fast and quickly-aggravated demeanor makes them a poor choice for beginners.
1. Huntsman Spider
The largest spider in the world is the huntsman spider, also known as giant crab spiders. Their leg span can reach up to 12 inches long and they are perhaps the most unique looking spiders out there. Their legs are twisted in a crablike manner (hence the nickname) and they are incredibly agile when on the hunt. They are typically not a threat to humans, but their ugly, huge appearance is enough to make even the most affable spider-lover shudder.