Goliath bird-eater spider

Goliath bird-eater spider Introduction

The Goliath birdeater is the king of spiders. Weighing up to six ounces and with a leg span of nearly a foot, this tarantula is the largest arachnid on the planet. Goliath’s don’t usually eat birds, but they are big enough to be able to—and occasionally they do. “Birdeater” came from an 18th-century engraving that showed another kind of tarantula eating a hummingbird, which gave the entire Theraphosa genus the name birdeater. These spiders can have a leg span up to 30 cm (12 in), a body length of up to 11.9 cm (4.7 in) and can weigh up to 175 g (6.2 oz). Bird Eaters are one of the few tarantula species that lack tibial spurs, located on the first pair of legs of most adult males. They are mostly tan to light brown and golden-hued. Unlike other species of spider/tarantula, females do not eat the males during mating. Females mature in 3-6 years and have an average lifespan of 15 to 25 years. Males die soon after maturity and have a lifespan of 3-6 years. Colors range from dark to light brown with faint markings on the legs. Bird Eaters have hair on their bodies, abdomens, and legs. The female lays 100 to 200 eggs, which hatch into spiderlings within 6-8 weeks. Insects make up most of the Goliath diet, but frogs and rodents are on the menu too. Goliath prowl the Amazon in northern South America.


Keywords to learn

Assailant: a thing who physically attacks another

Engraving: the process or art of engraving a design on a hard surface, especially to make a print

About Me

Hey Kids, my name is Gael the Goliath bird-eater spider and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @ www.kids.nationalgeographic.com




Key Data

  • Order:
  • Lifespan:
    Females, 20 years; males, 3 to 6 years.
  • Class:
  • Scientific Name:
    Theraphosa blondi.
  • Mass:
    Up to 6 ounces.
  • Length:
    Leg span up to 12 inches.
  • Region found:
    Northern South America, including Venezuela, northern Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname.
  • Population Status:
    Not evaluated.
  • Current population trend:
  • Diet:
  • Sexual maturity:
    3-6 years.


These big but beautiful spiders are one of the largest in the world, and while scary looking and aggressive are not dangerous. They may bite if provoked though so be careful.


Now that you know more about this spider by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.



Download questions about the Goliath bird-eater spider here:  (answers are on this page)


Teachers. For more in depth work sheets on spiders . Click on Kidskonnect Worksheets



Goliath bird-eater spider Facts for Kids

  • # 1. The Sydney funnel-web spider is one of the most venomous (to humans) spiders in Australia, and second most venomous in the world. Unlike many other spiders where the most toxic venom lies within the female, the male holds venom up to six times more toxic.
  • # 2. Within the venom lies neurotoxin atracotoxin that attacks the nervous system and affects the body’s organs; this is most notable in primates (both humans and monkeys) who are bitten, alongside guinea pigs and mice.
  • # 3. Despite the toxicity of the venom for humans, it has been found that some animals such as rats, cats and rabbits are usually unaffected when bitten by a female, whilst there are slight effects seen in cats and dogs when bitten by a male funnel-web spider.
  • # 4. The funnel-web’s fangs are very sharp and strong and are much bigger than the fangs of a brown snake with the ability to pierce through a fingernail and shoe leather.
  • # 5. With the web ranging anywhere from 20 centimeters to 60 centimeters in depth, they tend to hide in humid and sheltered places, usually between rocks, under houses or in holes in the trees.

Q&A Corner

# 1. How many minutes can a Sydney funnel-web spider kill a human in?


# 2. What order does the funnel-web spider belong to?


# 3. What is the sexual maturity of the funnel-web spider?


# 4. Which gender of funnel-web spider has the more toxic venom?


# 5. What species of snake does the funnel-web spider have longer fangs than.


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