The Legs On This Puppy-Sized Spider Are 30cm Long

The Legs On This Puppy-Sized Spider Are 30cm Long
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, features and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Gizmodo Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a news fix.

Have you had any nightmares, lately? Would you like some? Then you’ll love the South American Goliath birdeater. This furry spider is the size of a puppy, and thanks to hard claws on the tips of its foot-long legs, it makes a horrifying clicking sound when it scampers through the forest.

Harvard entomologist Piotr Naskrecki recently spotted a Goliath birdeater in Guyana. He was actually hunting for katydids but instead he enjoyed the pleasure of meeting a puppy-sized spider.

At first, Naskrecki thought it was a possum. Then, like any good scientiest would do when spotting a rare species, he lunged at it. This was a mistake:

Every time I got too close to the birdeater it would do three things. First, the spider would start rubbing its hind legs against the hairy abdomen. “Oh, how cute!”, I thought when I first saw this adorable behaviour, until a cloud of urticating hair hit my eyeballs, and made me itch and cry for several days.

But wait, there’s more:

If that wasn’t enough, the arachnid would rear its front legs and open its enormous fangs, capable of puncturing a mouse’s skull, and tried to jab me with the pointy implements.

Let’s review. Curious scientist strolls through Amazonian rainforest encounters puppy-sized spider with claw-shaped hooves, repeatedly approaches beast only to be sprayed in the eyeballs with “a cloud of urticating hair” and then the fangs came out.

Enjoy the nightmares — and never go wandering through the rainforest at night.

Pictures: Piotr Naskrecki