Some types of spiders can get pretty big. Have you ever wondered where these gigantic arachnids live in the world, what they look like, or maybe even what they eat? In this article we’re going to take a look at some pictures of the biggest spiders in the world, learn a little about each species, and come away knowing where these spiders can be found in the world.
Let’s get into it!
12 of the largest spider species in the world
1. Goliath bird-eater spider
- Scientific name: Theraphosa blondi
- Leg-span: 11-12 inches
- Weight: 6.2 oz
Found in Northern South America is one of, if not the largest spiders in the world. The goliath bird-eater is the heaviest spider in the world and is a runner up for the spider with longest leg span. Despite this species’ name, they actually do not prey on birds as their main diet. The name “bird-eater” comes from an 18th century engraving of this spider preying on a hummingbird.
This species is known for being highly aggressive and throwing off barbed hairs from their abdomens when threatened.
2. Giant huntsman spider
- Scientific name: Heteropoda maxima
- Leg-span: 12 inches
- Weight: 6 oz
There are over 1200 species of huntsman spiders found all over the world. The giant huntsman is a cave-dwelling spider discovered in Laos, in 2001. They are considered by some to be the biggest spiders in the world, but there is almost no question that they have the longest leg span of any spider.
Huntsman spiders are large enough to feed on small mammals and rodents as well as insects and other spiders. Like most other spiders, huntsman have enough venom to help subdue their prey, but not pose a threat to humans and larger animals. Despite their intimidating size, they actually aren’t known for being aggressive, unlike the bird-eater.
3. Goliath Pinkfoot Tarantula
- Scientific name: Theraphosa apophysis
- Leg-span: 9-11 inches
The giant pinkfoot tarantula closely resembles the bird-eater in many ways, with some key differences. At the end of each leg apophysis have pinkish shading, which is where they get their name. Aside from the pink feet, both sexes of this species are mostly a coffee-brown.
Pinkfoot tarantulas are often kept as pets, though they can be aggressive and are considered high-maintenance because of their requirements. So these are not good pet spiders for beginners.
4. Brazilian salmon pink birdeater spider
- Scientific name: Lasiodora parahybana
- Leg-span: 10-11 inches
- Weight: 3.5 ounces
Found in the tropical rainforest of Eastern Brazil is the Brazilian salmon pink birdeater spider. This species is actually endemic to Paraíba, a small Brazilian state in the eastern most part of South America. While the females do get heavier and bulkier, the males tend to have longer legs reaching spans of up to 11 inches in some cases.
They live on the forest floor where they hunt insects and small vertebrates like reptiles, amphibians, and small rodents. They are not known for being especially aggressive, but pink birdeaters will raise their front legs when threatened and even deliver a painful bite.
5. Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula
- Scientific name: Grammostola anthracina
- Leg-span: 10 inches
The Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula is found in the countries of Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina in South America. With a leg span of up to 10 inches, these spiders are among the biggest spiders in the world.
Like many of the other giant spiders on this list, Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantulas are often kept as pets.
6. Haitian Giant Tarantula
- Scientific name: Phormictopus cancerides
- Leg-span: 8-9 inches
The Haitian giant tarantula is also commonly called the Haitian brown tarantula, Hispaniolan giant tarantula, or the crab spider. This species is endemic to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other parts of the Caribbean.
They feed on insects, birds, lizards, and other small vertebrates. This tarantula is a ground spider like others in this Family, and is often found hiding under rocks, logs, and debris. They can have up to a 9 inch leg span as adults.
7. Colombian giant tarantula
- Scientific name: Megaphobema robustum
- Leg-span: 6-8 inches
The Columbian giant tarantula, also known as the Columbian redleg tarantula or the Colombian red-legged bird spider, can have a leg-span of up to 8 inches. They feed on a variety of insects and small vertebrates where they live in the rainforests of Columbia and Brazil where they live.
This species of tarantula is known for being very defensive and aggressive, so they aren’t the best choice for pets. As you may have guessed, they get their name frog the red coloring of their legs.
8. Face-sized tarantula
- Scientific name: Poecilotheria rajaei
- Leg-span: 8 inches
This rare spider was first discovered in a Sri Lankan village in 2009. Because this species was newly discovered and is very rare, scientists are still studying it and learning about it. It may not be the largest, but it’s certainly one of the top 10 biggest spiders in the world from what can be determined right now.
9. King baboon spider
- Scientific name: Pelinobius muticus
- Leg-span: 8 inches
The king baboon spider lives in the grasslands and shrublands of East Africa. They can range from orange to a rusty brown in color and have a leg-span of up to 8 inches. King baboons are fairly heavy bodied spiders and are quite popular in the pet trade. They are fairly aggressive however and are not suitable for beginners.
King baboons have a very strong venom for tarantulas. While the venom is not lethal to humans, a bite from this spider would be extremely painful.
10. Camel spider
- Scientific order: Solifugae
- Leg-span: 6 inches
The first thing to know about camel spiders is that they aren’t technically spiders. Camel spiders are sometimes called wind scorpions or sun spiders, but they are neither spiders nor scorpions. They are members of the arachnid family, but they aren’t in the Order Araneae (spiders). Instead they are in the are in the order Solifugae.
There are over 1000 different species of camel spiders ranging in size from small to large, but the large ones can have leg-spans of up to 6 inches. They feed on amphibians, reptiles, other small vertebrates, as well as insects and other arachnids. Camel spiders have short lifespans and are difficult to care for, making them not ideal pets.
11. Brazilian wandering spider
- Scientific name: Phoneutria fera
- Leg-span: 5.9 inches
Speaking of venomous spiders, the Brazilian wandering spider is known for having a highly toxic venom. A bite from one of these can cause severe burning, fast or a slow heartbeat, hypothermia, vertigo, convulsions, to name a few possible symptoms. Bites are rare, and not fatal to humans, but you should seek medical attention immediately if you are bitten by one.
Brazilian wandering spiders are mostly brown in color and can have leg-spans of up to 9 inches. They get their name from the fact that they do not build webs like other spiders, they constantly wander the forest floor hunting for prey.
12. Cerbalus Aravaensis
- Scientific name: Cerbalus aravaensis
- Leg-span: 5.5 inches
This spider is a type of huntsman spider that was officially discovered in 2010 and is considered to be the largest spider in the huntsman family in the middle east. These nocturnal spiders are active in the summer months and live on sand dunes in mostly arid habitats, but can also be found at the edge of salt marshes.
The sand dunes Cerbalus aravaensis lives in are disappearing due to various mining projects and habitat erosion due to humans. Because of this the future of this new species is uncertain.