Did you know two different spider species tie for the honor of being the world's largest spider? They are the Goliath birdeater and the giant huntsman spider.
Why do I say these two spiders tie for first place? Let's look at the details. The Goliath birdeater, found in South America, can have a leg span of 12 inches (30 cm), and so can the giant huntsman.
But... the giant huntsman, found in Laos, reaches this size more often. Therefore, on average, the giant huntsman is bigger. The giant huntsman is the clear winner, right? Not really. You have to also consider weight. The giant huntsman weighs up to 167 grams, but the Goliath birdeater weighs up to 175 grams.
So, I proclaim (unofficially) that both of these spiders are the winners. Because... well, I do not want any spider that is a foot long to be upset with me.
Let's consider each species.
The Goliath birdeater (first photo below) is a type of tarantula. Does this spider really eat birds? They can, but they rarely do because birds are more difficult to catch than other prey. The name birdeater originated in the 1700s, from a copper engraving done by a German naturalist and illustrator who depicted one of these spiders feasting on a hummingbird. In reality, hummingbirds are really fast and hard to catch. But Goliath birdeaters are certainly big enough to eat small birds, rodents, frogs, lizards, and invertebrates.
The giant huntsman spider is in the huntsman family instead of the tarantula family, with a relatively smaller body size but longer legs. The giant huntsman wasn't discovered until 2001, when a German naturalist found one in a cave in Laos (I guess there are a lot of German spider experts...?). These huge spiders can move really fast, about one meter per second. This helps them run down their prey, which they kill by envenomation. See the second photo below.
There you have it... two world champion spiders.
Everyone needs a creative outlet. That's why I write.