by Rachel Alexander | October 19, 2014 3:07 pm
While walking through a rain forest one evening in Guyana, Piotr Naskrecki, an entomologist and photographer at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, came across the biggest spider in the world, the South American Goliath birdeater. He thought it was a small mammal at first, and was shocked when his flashlight revealed a spider the size of a small puppy, which made a clacking sound when it walked due to its hardened tips and claws. 
According to Yahoo News,
When Naskrecki approached the imposing creature in the rainforest, it would rub its hind legs against its abdomen. At first, the scientist thought the behavior was “cute,” he said, but then he realized the spider was sending out a cloud of hairs with microscopic barbs on them. When these hairs get in the eyes or other mucous membranes, they are “extremely painful and itchy,” and can stay there for days, he said. [Creepy-Crawly Gallery: See Spooky Photos of Spiders]
But its prickly hairs aren’t the birdeater’s only line of defense; it also sports a pair of 2-inch-long (5 centimeters) fangs. Although the spider’s bite is venomous, it’s not deadly to humans. But it would still be extremely painful, “like driving a nail through your hand,” Naskrecki said.
And the eight-legged beast has a third defense mechanism up its hairy sleeve. The hairs on the front of the spider’s body have tiny hooks and barbs that make a hissing sound when they rub against each other, “sort of like pulling Velcro apart,” Naskrecki said.
Yet despite all that, the spider doesn’t pose a threat to humans. Even if it bites you, “a chicken can probably do more damage,” Naskrecki said.
Whew! That’s good news, because the thing sure is terrifying. Although it can eat birds, as its name suggests, its prey of choice is earthworms. Check out Google Images for more scary shots of this big hairy guy.
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