Goliath Encounter: Puppy-sized Spider Surprises Scientist in Rainforest

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Piotr Naskrecki was taking a nighttime walk in a rainforest in Guyana, when he heard rustling as if something were creeping underfoot. When he turned on his flashlight, he expected to see a small animal that you would typically find in the rainforest. However, we found something that would cause a heart attack in most people.

“When I turned on the light, I couldn’t quite understand what I was seeing,” said Naskrecki, an entomologist and photographer at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Surely enough, he realized he was looking not at a brown, furry, enormous, puppy-size spider. Totally normal, right?

The spider is known as South American Goliath bird eater. According to Guinness World Records, it’s the largest spider in the world. Considering it’s the size of a puppy that seems like a definite possibility.

Its leg span can reach up to a foot (30 centimeters), or about the size of “a child’s forearm,” with a body the size of “a large fist,” Naskrecki told Live Science. And the spider can weigh more than 6 oz.

“Its feet have hardened tips and claws that produce a very distinct, clicking sound, not unlike that of a horse’s hooves hitting the ground,” he wrote, but “not as loud.”

When Naskrecki approached the spider 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.

Let’s all join hands are pray that this thing stays in the rainforest and comes nowhere near us. Ever.

[via Discovery]

Monica Adams | News Cult