Spider as big as a DOG found in South American rainforest

By Kirstin Buick
22 October 2014

Arachnophobic? Look away now. Really.

Thankfully, scientist Piotr Naskrecki, who found the enormous spider in the Guyana rainforest, doesn't seem to be.  Although, it might be more correct to say The South American Goliath Birdeater -- the largest known spider in the world --  found him. http://naskrecki.smugmug.com/Goliath-birdeater/i-ZLLbHF8/0/L/Guyana_5949_5833-L.jpg The scientist was taking a night stroll in the forest (as you do) when he heard a rustling in the forest undergrowth. He turned his torch in the direction of the noise, expecting to see a rat.

'I could clearly hear dry leaves crumbling under its weight'

"I could clearly hear its hard feet hitting the ground and dry leaves crumbling under its weight," Piotr, an entomologist and photographer at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology said.

"When I turned on the light, I couldn't quite understand what I was seeing," Piotr, told Livescience.

Piotr approached the monstrous creature,  it started rubbing its hind legs against its abdomen.

http://naskrecki.smugmug.com/Goliath-birdeater/i-jz7Ws7v/0/L/Suriname_4577_459-L.jpg

“'Oh, how cute!', I thought when I first saw this adorable behaviour" Piotr wrote on his blog, "until a cloud of urticating hair hit my eyeballs, and made me itch and cry for several days."

http://naskrecki.smugmug.com/Goliath-birdeater/i-qM2RKVp/0/L/Suriname_2012_4168-L.jpg

The friendly chap then reared up on its hindlegs, open its enormous fangs, ("capable of puncturing a mouse’s skull," Piotr says) and tried to bite him, while emitting a loud hissing sound.

http://naskrecki.smugmug.com/Goliath-birdeater/i-T7znTHw/0/L/Guyana_5931_5815-L.jpg

These massive spiders can reach the leg span of 30 cm and weigh up to 170 g – about as much as a young puppy, the scientist says.

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