The world is full of weird and wonderful creatures, however, there are perhaps none more bone-chillingly wonderful than spiders. These eight-legged prehistoric creatures are found all over the world, they come in many different shapes and sizes, and can be poisonous or harmless. Nevertheless, spiders definitely are not something I, nor you, would want to come in to contact with at any time of day, let alone in a dark alley. There are over 46,000 known species of spider, and each species has adapted over-time to their immediate environment. Ultimately, this adaption has determined whether it is venomous, and what type of living arrangement it has chosen. As scary as spiders are, an expert in the field, Norman Platnick has said without spiders, we would face famine, as their prey is insects that feast on crops that produce our food.
This article will take us to all corners of the globe, as we list 25 destinations where you will find some of the world’s biggest spiders!
25 Amazon Rainforest, South America
The Amazon Rainforest is home to some amazing animals that cannot be found anywhere else. According to Rainforest Cruises, there are over 3,000 species of spider found in the Amazon alone, all of them spectacular in their own right. The Tarantula is one of the most common species found throughout the world, however, Rainforest Cruises says the ‘Amazonian’ species is the largest. Some other large spiders found here are the Brazilian Wandering Spider and the Goliath Bird-Eating Tarantula. Yep, this spider can be compared to a small puppy dog, and birds are part of their diet! Don’t worry though, they cannot tragically harm humans.
The Huntsman Spider is one of the world’s most feared species. To make matters worse, discovered in a cave in Laos 17 years ago, was Heteropoda Maxima, or the Giant Huntsman. This spider grows to an average of a one-foot leg span, is known to be one of the fastest spiders creeping around, and can easily maneuver any smooth surface, like a wall or ceiling. Smithsonian Magazine reassures us though, that this species of Huntsman has only been seen on a rare occasion, and only in Laos.
Australia is a land of many different landscapes and climates, meaning there are many species found throughout the country. The most well-known spider in Australia is the Huntsman Spider, and it is highly venomous. Independent UK reports that an Australian couple was trapped in their home because of a giant and poisonous Huntsman spider that was stuck to their front door. This truly is a nightmare in reality. Australia is also home to countless other species of spider, perhaps not as large as the Huntsman, but extremely venomous, such as the Sydney Funnel-web, Redback and White-tailed spiders.
22 New South Wales, Australia
Home to the Sydney Opera House, Harbor Bridge, Bondi Beach…and the funnel-web spider? That’s right, the Sydney Funnel-web spider is a native of New South Wales, Australia. Kenwick Rotary says this spider is widely considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world and can be found crawling around urban areas as well as more rural forestland. The spider itself is not the biggest in the world, but it has two fangs that are bigger than that of some snakes, and as you can imagine, can pack a punch if it decides to attack.
21 Sonoran Desert, USA
The Sonoran Desert covers many, many miles, and contains many different species of many different animals and insects. Arizona Naturalists many different species of spider that roam the desert sands, all creepy in their own way, but perhaps none creepier than the Desert Tarantula. Hidden from the daylight in summer, the hairy Desert Tarantula lives in little burrows under the ground, and emerge only to feed. Be careful if trekking through the desert, these sly beasts will be using the walkways with you!
20 Sri Lanka
A recently discovered species, the Poecilotheria Rajaei Spider was first found in 2009, in Sri Lanka. BBC claims it has an eight-inch leg span and is actually a member of the Tarantula family. Unfortunately, due to recent developments throughout the country, this spider has had to relocate, as its natural habitat is being destroyed at a very fast rate. As a result, they are now being commonly found in homes, inside fallen trees, and under rocks. The word of advice if traveling to Sri Lanka is don’t be put off by this new discovery, but do take caution when walking in densely forested areas.
19 Brazil, South America
Thanks to the Amazon, Brazil is the breeding ground for some pretty notorious spiders. Conservation Institute has named two of many species found throughout Brazil, including the Brazilian Giant Tawny Red Tarantula and Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-eater. The Giant Tawny Tarantula is also found in other parts of South America; Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina, and it is one of the biggest spiders in the world. This species, in particular, is also commonly found as a household pet. The latter species does not eat birds but does eat insects, frogs, and lizards. It has a thin layer of hair which it uses to squirt venom at its prey.
18 Colombia, South America
The Colombian Giant Red-leg Tarantula can be found in the rainforests throughout Brazil and Colombia. Tarantulas of the world describe them as average size, growing to about an eight-inch leg span, some exceed this and grow much longer. As far as looks go spider-wise, this is one of the more ‘attractive’ species and is harmless to humans, however, it is very intimidating if you encounter one of these bad boys. Never mind its looks, this spider is scary and is the stuff of nightmares!
17 Florida, USA
America’s ‘tropical’ state, Florida’s climate is optimal for spiders to live a good life, and grow huge! There are no spiders native to Florida, however, there are some common species that are found throughout the state. Owlcation lists the Huntsman, Wolf, and Banana spiders, and perhaps the most dangerous and intimidating of all, the Widow Spider. The humidity of Florida is perfect for spiders to grow and operate at a fast pace, meaning it is more than likely you will encounter one in some way, shape or form (hopefully no more) on your daily commute.
Millions upon millions of wildlife species call Africa home, and it is no different with spiders. Comprising of different climates and landscapes, just like Australia (except 3x larger), Africa sees some of the world’s most venomous spiders. The King Baboon Tarantula is one of Africa’s largest and can grow up to eight-inches in leg span, sometimes more. Older brother, the Hercules Baboon Spider, are native to Nigeria, and are a much larger and heavier species, but have not been sighted for over 100 years, per BBC Earth!
15 Asian Tropics
One of the most forgotten regions in the world, the Asian Tropics comprises of dense rainforests and some simply breathtaking scenery. There are also many species of wildlife which can be seen, but perhaps none more beautiful than the Golden Silk Orb-Weaver. Dino Animals reports that there was a 165 million-year-old Golden Weaver in China…so it isn’t just the people that live to a ripe old age! The spider has a leg span of just under 6 inches and, as per Dino Animals, is the largest fossil spiders known to man.
14 Queensland, Australia
Tropical North Queensland is notorious for deadly wildlife, including spiders. The further north you go, the more jungle and rainforest you will encounter, meaning this is the perfect climate for spiders to be operating frequently. According to Kenwick Rotary, there are many species of spider that live from Queensland down to the most southern states, and some that can grow in excess of 5 inches! Don’t be scared though, spiders aside, Queensland is an amazing part of the world, and worth discovering…you just have to be careful.
13 Texas, USA
According to Spider ID, The Tailed Daddy Long-legs has quickly adapted to the heat of the Great Southern Land, and can mostly be found in tight corners or in dark spaces indoors. It is a smart creature. Quite a common house spider, the Tailed Daddy Long-legs can grow up to 7 inches but don’t fear, it is completely harmless. It is, however, quite nimble and quick, it also blends in with its surroundings very well, so sometimes it is hard to spot unless you look very closely.
12 Iraq, Middle East
Iraq is a land of desert, and with that comes animals which have adapted unbreakable and immortal characteristics. The Camel Spider is also known as the Scorpion Spider because it is part of both animal kingdom families, says National Geographic. The Camel Spider is no exception to immortal characteristics, as its loooong and hairy body has an alarming hunting and feasting method; turning the flesh of their prey to liquid. They are not deadly to humans, but their bite is apparently quite painful.
A destination that definitely doesn’t come first to our minds when we think of deadly wildlife. The Cerbalus Aravensis is a black and white spider found in the Israeli sand dunes. Like the Poecilotheria Rajaei Spider, Aravensis was first discovered in 2009 and according to Conservation Institute, burrows under the sand, waiting for its prey to turn up. It may be one of the smallest spiders on this list, however, it makes up for the lack of size by the way it catches its prey. So, if by chance you are hiking through the Israeli sand dunes, don’t just prepare yourself for the extremely hot sun and severe dehydration, consider this sneaky little creeper as well.
10 Kalahari Desert, Africa
Some amazing animals live in the Kalahari Desert, making one of the best places to visit year round. One animal that is not as noticeable as say an elephant or zebra is the six-eyed sand spider. Tripsavvy says this creature belongs to the ‘Sicarius’ family, which translates to ‘murderer’ from Latin…scary, right? It is said that this spider has venom so strong it can kill a rabbit in 12 hours, but luckily there have been no cases of any humans bitten. The six-eyed sand spider camouflages into the Kalahari, and can even go one year without eating!
9 Central America
Mental Floss outlines a sobering reality in Central America. With a leg span of 6 inches or more, the Phoneutria Nigriventer is a highly venomous spider that lives inside of banana and other orchard plantations. Sometimes, the spider can be shipped along with the fruit orchard it is living in and is an unwelcome surprise for anyone on the receiving end of the shipment. If bitten by one of these beasts, it could have fatal consequences, and as a result, it is officially the most venomous spider on earth.
8 Astrakhan Region, Russia
Counted among the top 10 most dangerous spiders on earth, the Karakurt resides in Russia’s Astrakhan Region. According to Russia Beyond, this spider can be seen migrating to the Moscow Region during the summer months, and are most frequently spotted in ravines. Its bite can cause an intense burning pain throughout the body but has not been known to kill any human. Cold winters and hot summers mean this spider has had to adapt to some very harsh conditions over the years.
7 Southern Europe
Famous for some of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in the world, Southern Europe is on every bucket list. Year-round warm sun, crystal clear waters, and white sand, the region is not well-known for creepy crawlers. Dino Animals spoils the fun by telling of a spider which can grow in excess of 7 inches and is commonly referred to as the Wall Angle, or House Spider. This species can be found throughout most parts of Southern Europe but is not harmful to humans.
6 California, USA
Ah yes, California, The Sunshine State. The State where dreams come true, movies come to life and giant spiders creep around without us humans knowing a thing. Admiral Pest says that some of America’s largest creepers live in California, including a member of the tarantula family that grows to the size of a medium banana! Imagine doing your weekly backyard pool clean on a tiring Sunday morning, and seeing one of these just ‘chillin’ inside your filter…it is sure to wake you up!
5 Chile & Bolivia, South America
Famous for their landscapes and vibrant cultural scene, the South American countries of Chile and Bolivia are also home to the Grammostola spider. This hairy beast can be found in the desert regions of the two countries and is more commonly referred to as the Chilean Rose Tarantula. Their diet consists mostly of small insects, and is even a household pet! Earth 'n' World describes them as mildly venomous, and with pink/orange hairs. All in all, there is no need to be scared of this little guy…or girl, despite its very daunting looks.
A tropical paradise and a haven for explorers, Hawaii has some of the world’s best jungle and forestland, Mother Nature has really worked these islands into a fantasy land. In this fantasy land…Narnia if you will, lives the Eyeless Kauai Cave Wolf Spider. I know we have talked about the wolf spider before, but not this particular species…it has no eyes! The Week says this spider resides in caves, and lives its whole life in complete darkness, and uses it’s heightened other senses to hunt and live out its day to day life. Pretty wacky if you ask me!
Central America, like Florida, has a climate that is perfect for spiders to live at an optimal level. According to Britannica, the Yellow Sac Spider may only grow to just an inch, but it has enough venom to kill a human. The fact that it lives mostly indoors is also alarming, but they only bite, as most animals do, when they feel threatened. If you see one, simply do not touch it, as stressed out as you will be (don’t even deny it), stay calm and no one has to get hurt.
2 General North America Region
Spread across the great region of North America is the Carolina Wolf Spider. Insect Identification says that this spider is a very skilled hunter, attacking its prey and not holding back one ounce of aggression. Nocturnal by nature, they can be found pretty much anywhere, as they have adapted to many different landscapes and climates, but do be careful if indoors too, as they are usually spotted crawling indoors looking for food. It is interesting to note that the Carolina Wolf Spider is widely considered to be among the largest in North America, across both USA and Canada.
1 Madeira, Portugal
If you are surprised to see this exotic destination on the list if I’m honest, so am I! The Desertas Wolf Spider lives quite a nice life if you ask me, but unfortunately, it is the most critically endangered spider species worldwide. Desertas has a black coating, with gray dots, and can grow up to, and in excess of 5 inches, per Grunge. Grunge also reveals that there are thought to be approximately 4,000 left in the wild, with British scientists working over-time in an attempt to save the species from extinction.