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 etymologist 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 behavior, 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.
All photos copyright by Piotr Naskrecki. Used with permission.