According to the Guinness World Records, the largest spider on record is a female Goliath birdeater (Theraposa blondi), a spider belonging to the tarantula family, that was found in Rio Cavro, Venezuela, in April 1965 by members of the Pablo San Martin Expedition. This particular spider has a leg-span measured at 11 inches, almost as big as a dinner plate.
Goliath birdeaters, which can weigh up to more than 6 ounces or 170 grams, are nocturnal, terrestrial creatures that make their homes deep inside burrows in the swampy areas of the rain forests of Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana, Surinam and the French Guinea.
Despite the name, Goliath birdeaters do not normally eat birds, preferring to prey instead on insects for their regular diet. Like other species of tarantulas, Goliath birdeaters carry venom in their 1-inch long fangs. Fortunately, their venom is not lethal, unless of course there is an allergic reaction or unless infection sets in. When threatened, they can however shoot tiny hairs off their bodies that can severely irritate the skin and mucous membranes of the target. By rubbing the bristles on their legs together, they can also make a frightening hissing sound that can be heard up to 15 feet away.