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The 11 Biggest Spiders In The World (And Where They Live)

Colombian giant tarantula on a tree branch

Let’s face it, many of us are scared of spiders – especially the large ones we sometimes come across in day-to-day life. But what is the biggest spider in the world? And how big does it actually get?

First, the largest spider could be determined by its body weight. You might also measure it by the length of the body. Because of this, you could call two different spiders “the biggest spider in the world.”

But most of the time, we refer to the biggest in terms of size and that’s exactly what I’ll be sharing in this article. However, I’ll also mention the biggest spider in terms of weight that used to exist and the one that is still present today.

You’ll also learn where these spiders live and I’ll share more about their size, diet, and whether or not they’re dangerous to humans.

So, read on to learn about the 11 biggest spiders in the world!

11. Cerbalus Aravaensis Spider

Scientific Name: Cerbalus aravaensis

Native Areas: Jordan

Size: Up to 5.5 inches in leg span

Cerbalus aravaensis spider eating a gecko

Cerbalus aravaensis – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Cerbalus aravaensis spider, also known as the Israeli desert huntsman spider, is a fascinating creature that has captured the interest of arachnologists worldwide. This spider is native to the sand dunes of Jordan, where it burrows into the sand to create a habitat for itself.

Despite its intimidating size, with a leg span of up to 5.5 inches, it is not one of the biggest spiders in the world. However, the Cerbalus aravaensis is the largest spider found in the Middle East.

This spider is nocturnal and hunts its prey, which includes insects, rodents, and small lizards, during the night. It’s an important part of the ecosystem, helping to control the population of these creatures.

Despite its fearsome appearance, it is not considered dangerous to humans. Its venom is not potent enough to cause more than mild irritation.

10. Brazilian Wandering Spider

Scientific Name: Phoneutria

Native Areas: South America (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname)

Size: Up to 5.9 inches leg span

Brazilian wandering spider on a green leaf

Brazilian wandering spider – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider, also known as Phoneutria, is one of the biggest spiders in the world. This creature is native to South America, particularly in countries like Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname.

This arachnid is notorious not only for its size, with a leg span reaching up to 5.9 inches, but also for its venom. In fact, it is considered one of the most venomous spiders on the planet. The spider’s venom is potent enough to cause severe irritation, and in some cases, even death.

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is an active hunter, preying on insects, lizards, mice, and sometimes small birds. Unlike other spiders that build webs or burrows, this spider prefers to wander the rainforests and grasslands in search of its prey, hence its name.

Despite their fearsome reputation, these spiders play a crucial role in controlling insect populations in their native habitats. Their presence is a great example of the rich biodiversity of South America’s ecosystems.

9. Camel Spider

Scientific Name: Solifugae

Native Areas: Middle East, Africa

Size: Up to 6 inches in leg span

Camel spider on sand

Camel Spider – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Camel Spider, scientifically known as Solifugae, is a creature of nightmares for many. Despite its name, it is not a true spider but belongs to a separate order of arachnids. This creature is native to the Middle East and Africa, where it thrives in desert habitats.

The Camel Spider is known for its impressive size, with a leg span reaching up to 6 inches. It is a voracious predator, feeding on insects, rodents, and even small birds. It is also known for its speed, capable of reaching up to 10 miles per hour.

While they are not venomous, their bite can cause severe irritation due to their large fangs. Despite their fearsome reputation, they pose little threat to humans and are more likely to run away than confront a threat.

Their size and appearance, however, have made them a subject of many urban legends and horror stories.

8. Colombian Giant Redleg Tarantula

Scientific Name: Megaphobema robustum

Native Areas: Colombia, South America

Size: Up to 7 inches in leg span

Colombian Giant Redleg Tarantula on a branch

Colombian Giant Redleg Tarantula – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Colombian Giant Redleg Tarantula, scientifically known as Megaphobema robustum, is one of the biggest spiders in the world.

Native to the rainforests of Colombia in South America, this arachnid is a sight to behold. With a leg span that can reach up to 7 inches, it’s no wonder they are often referred to as ‘giant’.

These spiders are known for their striking appearance. They have a robust body covered in barbed hairs and their legs are adorned with distinctive red markings, hence their common name. They are burrowers by nature, creating intricate tunnels in the moist soil of their habitat.

The Colombian Giant Redleg Tarantula is a formidable predator. Their diet mainly consists of insects, small lizards, and even small mammals.

Despite their intimidating size and appearance, these spiders are generally not harmful to humans. Their bite, while painful, is not lethal. However, their barbed hairs can cause irritation if they come into contact with human skin.

7. Hercules Baboon Spider

Scientific Name: Hysterocrates hercules

Native Area: Nigeria

Size: Up to 7.9 inches in leg span

Hercules Baboon Spider isolated on white background

Hercules Baboon Spider – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Hercules baboon spider has only been discovered once by biologists, and that was more than a century ago when they collected it in Nigeria. London’s Natural History Museum has it on display.

The rusty-brown body of this East African arthropod resembles that of a baboon, hence its name. It might be the heaviest spider that has been caught.

This Hercules Baboon Spider, one of the more frightening large spider species in the animal world, is actually a venomous tarantula that was mostly found in Africa.

There was a time when this spider was known to make burrows in dry scrub and grasslands. They had a reputation for building sturdy shelters to keep out harsh weather. They were reported to feed on other small spiders, insects, and bugs.

6. Face-Size Tarantula

Scientific Name: Poecilotheria rajaei

Native Areas: Sri Lanka and India

Size: Up to 8 inches in leg span

Face-Size Tarantula (Poecilotheria rajaei) on a tree

Face-Size Tarantula – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Face-Size Tarantula, scientifically known as Poecilotheria rajaei, is a fascinating creature that commands attention. This arachnid is native to Sri Lanka, where it dwells in old buildings and trees.

With a leg span reaching up to 8 inches, it is one of the biggest spiders in the world. Its size is not its only intimidating feature – it also boasts a venomous bite. However, despite its fearsome appearance and capabilities, it primarily preys on insects, birds, small rodents, and even snakes.

An interesting thing about this large spider is that scientists had not discovered it until 2012, and they now believe there to be many more unknown arthropod species that live in the northern area of Sri Lanka.

5. Chaco Golden-Knee (Grammostola pulchripes)

Scientific Name: Grammostola pulchripes

Native Areas: Paraguay, Argentina

Size: Leg span up to 8.5 inches

Chaco Golden Knee Tarantula (Grammostola pulchripes) on its habitat

Chaco Golden-Knee – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Chaco golden-knee, scientifically known as Grammostola pulchripes, is one of the biggest spiders in the world. This fascinating creature is native to the grasslands of Paraguay and Argentina.

Known for its striking golden bands on its legs, this spider is a sight to behold. Despite its intimidating size, it is known for its docile nature and is often kept as a pet by arachnid enthusiasts.

The Chaco golden-knee is a burrowing spider, creating intricate burrows in its native habitat. It feeds on a variety of prey, including insects, small lizards, and even small mammals.

Interestingly, the females of this species are larger and live longer than the males. This is a common trait among many species of spiders. The Chaco golden-knee is indeed a remarkable member of the arachnid family.

4. Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula

Scientific Name: Grammostola anthracina

Native Areas: Brazil, South America

Size: Up to 9 inches in leg span

Close-up view of a Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula on the ground

Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula, scientifically known as Lasiodora parahybana, is one of the largest spiders in the world. This fascinating creature is native to the rainforests of Brazil in South America.

The spider’s leg span can stretch up to 9 inches, making it a formidable presence in its habitat. Despite its size, the Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula is not considered one of the most venomous spiders. Its bite, while painful due to the size of its fangs, is not typically dangerous to humans.

This species of arachnids primarily preys on insects, small rodents, and even small amphibians.

Interestingly, this tarantula is also known for its defensive mechanism of flicking barbed hairs from its abdomen when threatened much like its cousins in the tarantula family.

3. Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater Spider

Scientific Name: Lasiodora parahybana

Native Areas: Brazil, South America

Size: Up to 10 inches in leg span

Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater Spider on sand

Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater Spider – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater Spider, scientifically known as Lasiodora parahybana, is one of the largest spiders in the world. This creature, native to the rainforests of Brazil in South America, is a sight to behold. However, you may also find it in Paraguay and Argentina.

With a leg span reaching up to 10 inches, it’s the third largest spider in the world in terms of size. However, it outweighs the huntsman and goliath birdeater, making it one of the heaviest spiders on the planet.

Despite its intimidating size, the Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater is not as dangerous as its name suggests. It preys primarily on insects, rodents, and small lizards, rather than birds. Its venom is not lethal to humans, but a bite can cause irritation and discomfort.

This spider is known for its unique coloration, with females sporting a beautiful salmon pink hue. It’s truly a fascinating specimen among the world’s biggest spiders.

2. Goliath Bird Eating Spider

Scientific Name: Theraphosa blondi

Native Areas: Rainforests of South America, specifically Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela.

Size: Up to 11 inches in leg span.

Closeup view of a Goliath Bird Eating Spider

Goliath Bird Eating Spider – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Goliath Bird Eating Spider, or Theraphosa blondi, is a creature of nightmares for many. This arachnid is the world’s largest spider by mass and size, with a leg span of up to 11 inches. It’s native to the rainforests of South America, particularly Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela.

Despite its name, the Goliath Bird Eating Spider doesn’t primarily prey on birds. Instead, its diet mainly consists of insects, rodents, and small amphibians.

It’s known to even take down lizards and snakes. Interestingly, they are also known as the Hercules baboon spider or the Goliath birdeater spider due to their size and diet.

This spider is not only known for its size but also its venomous bite. While not deadly to humans, the venom causes severe irritation and discomfort.

The spider also has barbed hairs that it can release when threatened, causing further irritation.  This is one spider you would not want to encounter in the wild!

1. Giant Huntsman Spider

Scientific Name: Heteropoda maxima

Native Areas: Laos

Size: Up to 12 inches leg span

Giant Huntsman Spider on a tree bark

Giant Huntsman Spider – Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Giant Huntsman Spider, scientifically known as Heteropoda maxima, is a fascinating creature that has captured the attention of arachnid enthusiasts worldwide. This spider is native to the caves of Laos, a country located in Southeast Asia.

With a leg span reaching up to 12 inches, it is considered one of the biggest spiders in the world. The Giant Huntsman Spider is not only known for its size but also its speed and agility. Unlike many spiders that rely on webs to catch their prey, this spider hunts and chases down its victims, hence its name.

Despite its intimidating size, the Giant Huntsman Spider is not considered dangerous to humans. Its venom is potent enough to paralyze small insects, its primary diet, but it’s not harmful to humans. However, a bite from this spider can cause irritation and discomfort.

This arachnid prefers to live in warm and humid environments, often found in old buildings and rainforests. Its impressive size and unique hunting techniques make the Giant Huntsman Spider a truly remarkable specimen in the world of spiders.

 

Other Spider Guides from Planet Natural:

Jumping Spider: Everything You Need to Know + 7 Facts!

Hobo Spider: Identification, Habits, and Effective Control Methods

Everything You Need to Know About Yellow Sac Spider

Banana Spider: Creepy, Crawly and Wonderful

How to Get Rid of Spiders: Inside and Outside the House