Giant Orb Weaver Spiders Exist, And They’re Terrifying
As if the world wasn't terrifying enough, here comes another disturbing spider to add to the phobia list. Giant orb-weaver spiders can be found all over the planet, so there’s no use trying to hide. They’re going to find you eventually, so you might as well brush up on your orb-weaver knowledge so you're at least prepared.
One species in particular have a terrifying reputation of ensnaring prey that is exponentially larger than they are. These are the unquestionably scary golden orb-weaver spiders, also known as banana spiders. The golden silk orb-weaver is part of a small club of arachnids that can capture and consume birds. That’s right, there’s more than one species of bird-eating spider, and they’re all terrifying.
So how do the golden silk orb-weavers manage to take down such gigantic prey? The answer might surprise you. What won’t surprise you is how horrifying these images of spiders eating birds are.
Their Durable Webs Can Catch Birds And BatsPhoto: Martin Nyffeler, Mirjam Knörnschild / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
The most terrifying thing about golden silk orb-weavers isn't their bite, but their webs. They spin massive webs that can measure three feet across, and they're remarkably strong – they have to be, since orb-weavers tend to make their webs a permanent home.
Sometimes, those strong webs can catch shockingly large prey, like bats and small birds. Once the spider snags some prey, they wrap it tight in silk and save it for later.
They're An Easy Match For BirdsVideo: YouTube
Golden Silk Orb-Weavers Look Terrifying
Just looking at a golden silk orb-weaver is enough to make your skin crawl. Their sharpened legs sport colorful bands that scream to potential predators, "I will kill you if you touch me." Plus, they're huge.
But while they may look dangerous, orb-weavers are actually quite docile around humans. Even if they bite you, they have a relatively mild venom. Symptoms like numbness or swelling may occur, but they should correct themselves without antivenin in just a few days.
Some Orb-Weavers Measure Five Inches Across
In the United States, most orb-weavers measure about an inch in length. That's pretty large for a spider, but that's nothing compared to a newly discovered species from Africa. Nephila komaci measures an astonishing five inches across.
Unfortunately, the newly discovered species might already be on the endangered species list. It's only known habitats are in Madagascar and Maputaland.
Female Orb-Weavers Usually Eat The Males After SexPhoto: Judy Gallagher / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
It's tough out there for a male orb-weaver, especially when it's time to find a mate. Males are much smaller than females, and the ladies tend to be particularly ferocious. A male be very cautious when approaching a potential mate, lest she become agitated and devour him. Even if things go well and he gets his chance, the odds are not in his favor.
An estimated 60% of all orb-weaver males are eaten by their partners. Some are even consumed midway through intercourse, especially if the female deems his performance inadequate. But on the bright side, at least his body provides nutrients to help the development of his future brood.
Nowhere Is Safe From ThemPhoto: Roy Montgomery / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Even though most orb-weaver spiders are harmless to humans, few people would want to share an apartment with one. That's a shame, because there's a very good chance there's one near you at this very moment. Different species of orb-weavers can be found on every continent besides Europe and Antarctica.
The golden silk orb-weaver can be found all over North America, where it spins its webs in swamps and wooded areas.