While most of us are scared of coming face to face with a tiny, harmless spider, can you imagine what it would be like to be standing in front of a gigantic one instead? As you would guess, the bigger a spider, the scarier they seem. But contrary to popular belief, not all large sized spiders are actually harmful! In fact, many of them are even kept as pets. For all those people who are intrigued and fascinated by these creepy crawlers, here are the names of the 5 biggest spiders in the world.
Golden Silk Orb-Weaver (Nephila)
This spider is also known as the Banana Spider and belongs to the N Jurassica family that existed more than 165 million years ago. The female Golden Orb Weaver grows up to 2 inches without leg span and can reach 6 inches if its leg span is taken into account. The males, however, are only half that size. While they pose no threat to humans, they can actually help you get rid of unwanted pests by feeding on them while living on their beautiful golden webs near residential areas. Their silk has also proven to have a very high biocompatibility rate and can be used for peripheral nerve growth!
Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria)
Coincidentally enough, this next spider on the list is also referred to as the Banana Spider due to its tendency to inhabit banana plants. The two spiders shouldn’t be confused though, as you’ll also find this guy on our “Most Dangerous Spiders” post while the Golden Silk Orb Weaver (the other banana spider) is generally harmless.
This spider has a leg span of 15 centimeters and has one of the most infamous venoms in South and Central America. They are called ‘wandering’ because unlike other spiders, they go hunting for their prey at night instead of waiting for them in the webs. Some of the spiders from this species have also resulted in human deaths. If the Brazilian Wandering Spider successfully injects a full dose of its venom into its victim, not only would the person suffer serious injury, he could also die.
Goliath Birdeater Spider (Theraphosa blondi)
This one is a tarantula and a humongous one at that. It belongs to the Theraphosidae family and is known to be the largest spider in the world by mass (not leg-span). A specimen is even entered in the Guiness Book of World Records as the largest spider. Some members of this family have been depicted eating on humming birds – which is where they get the name ‘birdeater’ from. They are also known to feed on other small animals in addition to large insects. With a leg span of almost 12 inches, they can weigh more than 6 ounces. They look pretty scary, but you shouldn’t worry to much about a bite from one of these guys. Their bite has been compared to the sting of a wasp or hornet, mildly uncomfortable. [More: Goliath Birdeater]
Brazilian Salmon Pink Tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana)
Another “bird eating” tarantula, this Brazilian menina is almost as large as her cousin as it can grow up to 11.5 inches in leg-span and can weight up to 3.5 ounces. First discovered in 1917, they gained popularity as a pet for their incredible size but docile nature and relatively harmless bite. Their fangs can grow quite large though, up to an inch in length, so while the venom is not very toxic, its bite can cause quite a bit of damage.
Giant Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda maxima)
This creepy crawler belongs to the heteropoda genus and is regarded as the largest spider in the world by leg span. While its body length is not more than 4 inches long, it has a leg span of close to 12 inches. Mostly found in caves, it was first discovered in 2001 in Laos.