Could This Gigantic Fanged Spider Kill a White-tailed Fawn?

One of the worst parts of doing summer work in the woods, especially in the Southeast, is the giant spiderwebs hanging across trails.

It’s like these doggone spiders intentionally know you’re going to be coming in to put out some salt, check feeders, clean up stand sites, do trim work or whatever. They’re lying in wait, spinning webs and then lurking … somewhere … waiting for you do do the “Gaaaa!” dance in the woods trying to get everything off your face-hat-neck and wondering whether a spider is about to chew on your ear.

South American Goliath Birdeater spider (Photo: Piotr Naskrecki)

South American Goliath Birdeater spider (Photo: Piotr Naskrecki)

Well, then you certainly wouldn’t want to run across this spider because it’s big enough to maybe kill a baby deer. Hey, I’m not lying. This sucker’s big … body the size of your fist, legs as long as a baby’s arm, barbed hairs it sends out in a cloud and venomous 2-inch fangs.

Yes. TWO! INCH! FANGS! The South American Goliath birdeater spider, which is found in Guyana, has TWO! INCH! FANGS!

The bite wouldn’t kill you, said Pitor Naskrecki, an entomologist and photographer at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, but it would be “like driving a nail through your hand.”

Ah, geez. I’ll pass on that, thanks.

The birdeater spider hunts on the ground and can kill small mammals, although it apparently prefers earthworms. What th’ heck? A critter that big with TWO! INCH! FANGS! that prefers earthworms instead of sucking the blood from baby deer-sized critters?

I’ll bet they have critters the size of white-tailed deer in Guyana. And I’ll bet their offspring are small, like baby deer here. And I’ll bet a pan of hot cornbread and collard greens that a South American Goliath birdeater spider could kill one of those baby deer.

Great. Just great. I’ll be thinking of these next time I’m raccoon hunting or walking to my deer stand in the morning. If you hear anyone screaming, “IS IT ON ME? IS IT ON ME? AAGGGGGHHHH!” then you’ll know it’s me.

Giant spiders the size of small puppies. Egads. No, thank you. I’ll take coyotes or the fright of almost stepping on a flushing woodcock or having turkeys explode above my head.

— Alan Clemons, Managing Editor

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