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Friday, December 7, 2007


The largest known specie of tarantula is the Goliath Bird-Eating Tarantula. Experts say that it is harmless to humans just as most species of tarantulas although they still carry venom in their fangs and they bite humans when threatened but the venom just causes swelling and mild pain for a few hours just like a wasp sting. Tarantulas may bite usually in self-defense and do not always carry venom. Experts call it "dry bite".

The biggest Goliath Tarantula on record had a leg span measuring approximately one foot long with fangs measuring 1 inch long! That's huge! What is most dangerous about the Goliath Bird-Eater is its ability to flick urticating hair at any creature it perceives as a threat, including humans. Those tiny, almost invisible pieces of hair are extremely irritating to the skin and can cause serious problems if they got into delicate mucous membranes around the eyes and mouth. That is why experts do not advice this particular specie as pets not unless you are a professional tarantula handler.

Previously in my blogs, I have written that tarantulas are quiet apartment pets. Well, I have just discovered a fascinating ability of Goliath Bird-Eaters to make a loud noise. We do not normally associate spiders with noise, as we do with dogs. We see spiders silently, stealthily crawling across walls, ceilings and floors. However, when threatened, the Goliath Bird-Eater is capable of making a loud hissing noise by rubbing bristles on its legs together. Experts call it stridulation. A stridulating Goliath can produce a noise you can hear up to 15 feet away!

Tarantulas do not have a set of teeth for chewing their meals so they inject digestive juices onto their victim. These digestive juices break down the soft tissues so that it can swallow up its meal. When finished, they leave they prey with only bones, skin, fur or feathers.

The Goliath Bird-Eater has a reputation of taking young birds from their nests for its meal thus, the name "bird-eater". Like most tarantulas, It also feeds on frogs, small snakes, beetles, lizards, and even bats.

On National Geographic TV special, they illustrated the methods used by some Amazonian peoples to hunt and cook tarantulas. A tarantula was captured by holding it down with a stick and its legs were then bent upward and bound together. The creature was then roasted alive in a folded leaf. On that show, the American participant tasted the meat and commented that it reminded him of shrimp. The Goliath Bird-Eater tarantula (Theraphosa Blondi) is considered a delicacy by the indigenous Piaroa of Venezuela.

Picture and Information courtesy of

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