Anywhere from 3 to 6 per cent of humans suffer from arachnophobia — a fear of spiders. Those that do should stop reading here.
While most of the spiders that we come into contact with on a routine basis are small, there are many that are huge.
And while you may not suffer from arachnophobia, chances are running into one of them is not something you have any desire to do.
Let’s look at ten of the largest spiders in the world — including the largest by weight and the largest by legspan — so you know what you’re facing if you ever stumble across one in a rainforest or desert in the near future.
10 Cerbalus Aravaensis
Leg Span: 5.5 inches
Discovered in late 2009 wandering around in the ridiculously hot Sands of Samar dunes in Israel’s Arava region, this is the largest spider in the Middle East.
Due to the dunes’ close proximity to Jordan, they can also be found there too.
However, the Sands of Samar are rapidly disappearing due to the area’s extensive development, so it remains to be seen how the species will fare over time.
Due to the barren habitat, the Cerbalus Aravaensis — a type of huntsman spider (see entry number two below) — primarily eat small lizards, beetles, gerbils, and beetles.
There has been some disagreement as to whether or not they are venomous, but most scientists believe they are not.
That being said, it’s unlikely anyone will be volunteering to see if they are any time soon.
9 Brazilian Wandering Spider
Leg Span: 5.9 inches
Named by The Guinness Book of World Records in 2010 as the world’s most venomous spider, the Brazilian Wandering Spider actively hunts its prey and is considered one of the most aggressive spiders in the world.
It can be found wandering the jungles of Central and South America in search of pinkie mice, small lizards, crickets, and other large insects.
Not one to stay in one place for long, Brazilian Wandering Spiders do not build webs. Interestingly enough, as well as death the neurotoxins in their venom can cause four-hour erections in men.
It has been studied to see if it can be effective in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
8 Camel Spider
Leg Span: 6 inches
One of the most terrifying-looking spiders in the world. Camel Spiders, whose real name is Solifugae, are also referred to as Sun spiders or Scorpion Spiders because of their relation to both spiders and scorpions.
Preferring a dry, sandy environment, they are usually found in Northern Africa as well as in the Middle East, particularly the deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq.
There has long been a rumor that they enjoy eating the stomachs of camels and soldiers until they are dead. Thankfully, this is not true.
Camel Spiders actually prefer grasshoppers, crickets, and small rodents. They are rather athletic and can run at speeds up to 30 mph and can jump up to 3 feet high.
While large and ugly, they are almost never dangerous to humans as they are not venomous — just scary to look at.
7 Hercules Baboon Spider
Leg Span: 8 inches
The Hercules Baboon Spider is thought to be the rarest spider in the world — so rare that nobody has actually seen one since 1900.
In fact, that particular one is the only recorded Hercules Baboon Spider seen by humans.
The Hercules Baboon Spider lives in the grasslands of Eastern Africa and primarily eats insects and other spiders. They got their name because their legs look identical to the fingers on a baboon.
There has never been documented bite from a Hercules Baboon Spider, so we can assume that the only one ever seen was a good boy and kept its fangs to itself.
The only known specimen is at the Natural History Museum in London, England. You can watch a video of it being compared to the Goliath Bird-Eating Spider, below.
There are a lot of questions hovering over this spider, but until another is found they will remain unanswered.
6 Poecilotheria Rajaei
Leg Span: 8 inches
Named after a police officer who assisted researchers in navigating the jungles of Sri Lanka to find one, Poecilotheria Rajaei is a type of tarantula.
The scientists went looking for one in 2013 after a villager found a dead specimen in an old building.
Poecilotheria Rajaei is often referred to as the “face-sized tarantula” when mentioned in the news — which is far more exciting than its actual unpronounceable name.
Due to the massive amounts of destruction taking place in their natural habitats, the species have begun to migrate to abandoned buildings for shelter.
Their preferred meals include small birds, lizards, rodents, and snakes. Poecilotheria Rajaei’s venom is not lethal to humans, so they will likely become a hot commodity among collectors.
5 Colombian Giant Tarantula
Leg Span: Up to 8 inches
The Colombian Giant Tarantula is a very popular species for collectors. However, to find one you would need to go digging around in the burrows of Brazilian and Colombian rainforests.
You could also always buy one online, but that really seems like taking the easy way out.
Colombian Giant Tarantulas prefer to dine on mice, small lizards, crickets, and large insects.
They do not mind being picked up and held by humans, which is one reason they are so popular among collectors.
4 Grammostola Anthracina
Leg Span: Up to 10.2 inches
Grammostola Anthracina are primarily found in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
However, you may also find one living next door because they are another species that are popular among collectors.
They are very docile unless provoked and are considered gentle giants.
Grammostola Anthracina will remain quite content as long as it is fed mice, insects, and crickets and remains in a dry, humid environment.
3 Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater
Leg Span: 10 inches
Yet another member of the tarantula family, and the fastest grower of the bunch These spiders are happiest crawling among the undergrowth of the Brazilian rainforest.
However, they are considered a “must have” for any collector and are the most common spider kept as a pet.
Although their name implies that they eats birds, they only does this on occasion and actually prefer mice and crickets. That being said, they will also not turn down a frog or small mammal.
Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeaters are not prone to biting humans, and even in the event that they do, their venom isn’t especially harmful to humans.
2 Giant Huntsman
Leg Span: Up to 12 inches
The Huntsman is so-called because of its speed, its ability to run forward and sideways, and its love of hunting.
There are over 1,000 species around the world, mostly in the southern hemisphere.
They prefer warm tropical environments and making their homes everywhere from tree trunks to underneath rocks and along the side of houses.
Even though their bite can be pretty painful, their venom does not affect humans. They eat a variety of small lizards, insects, arthropods, and frogs.
After laying eggs, moms-to-be guard them until they hatch approximately three weeks later. They go without eating this entire time, so once that job’s done they are ready for a feast.
The Giant Huntsman — heteropoda maxima — has the largest leg-span of any spider in the world.
1 Goliath Birdeater
Leg Span: 12 inches
Although the Goliath and Huntsman have the same leg span, the Goliath — a type of tarantula — is considered the largest because of its heavier body mass and one-inch fangs.
Preferring to live deeply burrowed under logs in wet swamps or marshy areas deep within rainforests, they reside primarily in Colombia, Brazil, and Chile in South America.
While they do indulge in the occasional bird, the Goliath Bird-Eater usually feasts on insects, small snakes, lizards, and rodents.
Although they have eight eyes, they have very poor vision and stalk their prey by sensing their vibrations on the ground.
Typically, the Goliath Bird-Eater’s venom is not deadly to humans, though stumbling upon one may induce heart palpitations.
Have you ever seen one of these spiders in real life? Do you own one as a pet? Have we got anything wrong on this list? Let us know in the comments section below.