Harvard scientist Piotr Naskrecki stumbled upon what is without a doubt one of the most terrifying creatures in existence while taking a walk through a rainforest in Guyana.
He shined his flashlight on what he thought was a mammal and discovered a spider the size of a small dog.
The entomologist and photographer at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology had encountered the South American Goliath birdeater, CBS News reports, the largest spider in the world.
The spider’s legs are up to a foot long, its body is the size of a larger-than-average human hand and it can weigh more than 170 grams, which is almost a half-pound.
This thing is so huge, Naskrecki said, you can actually hear it walk.
The creature began rubbing its hind legs against its abdomen when it saw Naskrecki, who was wise enough to realize that this was a defense mechanism.
It was preparing to fire off a ball of hairs that, should they enter the eyes, could cause severe pain lasting for days.
And had Naskrecki gotten any closer, he would have been vulnerable to the spider’s 2-inch fangs.
The bite isn’t poisonous, but Naskrecki said the pain would be “like driving a nail through your hand.”
Still, he said, humans shouldn’t exactly fear for their lives in the spider’s presence.
A chicken can probably do more damage.
The spider’s name is deceiving as well, as it doesn’t typically prey on birds. Instead, it eats nocturnal animals like frogs, insects and earthworms.
The arachnids are also a very rare find.
I’ve been working in the tropics in South America for many, many years, and in the last 10 to 15 years, I only ran across the spider three times.
Naskrecki caught the female spider, and it is now in the possession of an unspecified museum.