Goliath bird-eating spider (Theraphosa blondi)
The Zoo is home to one female bird-eating spider, Charlotte. She was
born in in 2011 and arrived here in 2012. Goliath bird-eaters are the
world's largest species of tarantula. Tarantula is a generic name for
hairy spiders. This hairy spider can grow to a leg span of 12 inches
across (about the size of a dinner plate), and they can weigh up to 2
1/2 ounces. Their bodies are dark and light brown in color. Like most
spiders, they lack antennae and have four pairs of legs.
Status in the wild
Although it is not threatened in the wild, it does have natural enemies
like certain spider wasps, some snakes and other tarantulas. They are
most vulnerable during molting, when they are fragile and can't move
very well. The most dangerous enemy the spider has is man and the
destruction of its habitat.
This giant spider is found in the South American countries of Suriname,
Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela. Its preferred habitat is the wet swamps
and marshy areas deep within the primary rainforest.
The size and power of the Goliath bird-eater makes it possible for them
to eat larger prey. They rarely eat birds, although they may eat
hatchlings. Its usual diet consists of frogs, small snakes,beetles,
insects, lizards and even bats and pinky rats.
- The life expectancy for a female Goliath bird eater is about 25 years!
- The goliath bird-eating spider is a solitary arachnid, and only
associates with other spiders of its species when mating or guarding its
- Goliath bird-eaters, as well as some other tarantula species,
have an ability to make noise. When feeling threatened, the goliath
bird-eater is capable of making a pretty loud hissing noise by rubbing
bristles on its legs together. Called stridulation, it can be loud
enough to be heard up to 15 feet away!