Goliath Birdeater Care Guide: Everything You Need to Know

The Goliath birdeater is one of the largest tarantula species in the world, with a leg span reaching up to 12 inches. Native to the rainforests of South America, this arachnid gets its name from its ability to prey on birds, although it primarily feeds on insects, spiders, and small rodents. Despite its intimidating size and name, the Goliath birdeater can actually make a fascinating and unique pet for experienced spider enthusiasts.

Temperature and Humidity: Goliath birdeaters thrive in warm and humid conditions, similar to their natural habitat. The ideal temperature range is between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, while the humidity level should be maintained at around 70-80%. To achieve this, mist the enclosure regularly and place a shallow water dish inside for drinking and moisture.

Goliath Birdeater Species Description

Physical Characteristics

  • The Goliath birdeater can reach a leg span of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) and can weigh up to 6 ounces (170 grams), making it one of the heaviest spiders in the world.
  • It has a dark brown or black body covered in dense, fine hairs called urticating hairs, which it can kick off as a defense mechanism to irritate potential predators.
  • Their legs are thick and muscular, allowing them to move quickly and navigate through their complex habitat.
  • They have eight eyes arranged in two rows, with the front row consisting of four larger eyes used for vision, and the back row consisting of smaller eyes used for detecting prey and predators.
  • Male Goliath birdeaters are generally smaller and have a shorter lifespan compared to females, living for only about 3-6 years, while females can live up to 15-25 years.


Goliath birdeaters are generally docile and timid in nature, although they may show aggression if they feel threatened or provoked. When threatened, they may rear up on their hind legs, exposing their fangs and hissing as a warning. However, their primary defense mechanism is their urticating hairs, which they can release when they feel threatened.

Habitat and Distribution

The Goliath birdeater is commonly found in the rainforests of South America, particularly in the Amazon rainforest. They are burrowing spiders and create elaborate burrows in the ground or in decaying logs or tree trunks. These burrows provide them with protection from predators and a stable environment to live in.

Natural Environment

Goliath birdeaters inhabit the tropical rainforests of South America, where they are part of the diverse and complex ecosystem. They help control the population of insects and other small prey species, and they are also preyed upon by larger predators such as birds, reptiles, and mammals.

Overall, the Goliath birdeater is a fascinating and remarkable species that showcases the incredible diversity of life found in the rainforests of South America. Its large size and unique behaviors make it a captivating subject of study for scientists and a popular attraction for enthusiasts of the natural world.

Goliath Birdeater Facts and Characteristics

Size: The Goliath Birdeater can reach a leg span of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) and can weigh up to 6 ounces (170 grams). It is an impressive and intimidating sight to behold.

Appearance: This enormous spider has a dark and hairy body, which provides it with excellent camouflage in its natural habitat. Its legs are thick and powerful, allowing it to move swiftly and capture its prey with ease.

Behavior: Despite its intimidating size, the Goliath Birdeater is known for its relatively calm temperament. It is not aggressive towards humans and will usually retreat when threatened. However, if cornered, it can deliver a painful bite, although its venom is not considered dangerous to humans.

Habitat: This spider is found mainly in the rainforests of South America, particularly in countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, and Suriname. It prefers areas with moist soil and dense vegetation, where it can create burrows for shelter and hunting.

Reproduction: The Goliath Birdeater has a complex mating ritual, which involves the male performing a courtship dance to attract the female. After mating, the female will create a silk sack to protect her eggs until they hatch. The spiderlings go through several molts before reaching maturity.

Care: Keeping a Goliath Birdeater as a pet requires specialized knowledge and experience. They need a spacious and secure enclosure with proper ventilation and humidity levels. Their diet should consist of live insects, and they should be provided with hiding spots and objects to climb on.

Conclusion: The Goliath Birdeater is a fascinating spider with its impressive size, unique appearance, and interesting behavior. While it may not be suitable for everyone as a pet, it is definitely a creature worth learning about and appreciating in its natural habitat.

Goliath Birdeater Habitat

This species of tarantula prefers to make its home in the deep, dark, and humid rainforests. They can be found in various habitats within the rainforest, including forest floors, burrows, and tree trunks. Goliath Birdeaters are often found hiding in the leaf litter or under fallen logs, where they create their burrows and retreat into for protection.

Conservation efforts are crucial to protecting the Goliath Birdeater’s habitat and ensuring its survival. Preserving the rainforests and educating the public about the importance of these habitats are essential steps in protecting this unique species and the diverse ecosystem it calls home.

The Goliath Birdeater Natural Environment

Adaptations for Survival

The Goliath birdeater has evolved specific adaptations to survive in its natural environment. Its hairy body helps it blend in with the forest floor, making it almost invisible to potential predators. Additionally, its strong and sturdy legs allow it to traverse the dense vegetation and climb trees with ease.

This tarantula species also possesses a set of specialized appendages called urticating hairs, which serve as a defense mechanism. When threatened, the Goliath birdeater can kick these irritating hairs off its abdomen, causing them to become embedded in the skin or eyes of its attackers. This tactic effectively deters predators and gives the spider a chance to escape.

Interactions with the Ecosystem

The Goliath birdeater plays an important role in its natural ecosystem. As a predator, it helps control populations of insects and small vertebrates, contributing to the overall balance of the rainforest. Additionally, the burrows created by the Goliath birdeater provide shelter for other organisms, including amphibians and reptiles.

Conservation Concerns

While the Goliath birdeater is not currently classified as an endangered species, it is still important to consider its conservation. Deforestation, habitat degradation, and the pet trade pose potential threats to the population of this fascinating tarantula. It is crucial to protect its natural habitat and educate the public about the importance of preserving biodiversity.

Goliath Birdeater Natural Environment
Native Region Tropical rainforests of South America
Preferred Habitat Dense vegetation, trees, leaf litter, burrows
Climate Warm and humid
Adaptations Hairy body, strong legs, urticating hairs
Role in Ecosystem Predator, maintains population balance, provides shelter
Conservation Concerns Deforestation, habitat degradation, pet trade

Caring for a Goliath Birdeater: Essential Tips for Pet Owners

Creating the Ideal Habitat

Creating the Ideal Habitat

The substrate is another crucial element in creating the ideal habitat for your Goliath birdeater. A combination of coconut fiber, peat moss, and soil can be used to create a soft and moist substrate. This will mimic the spider’s natural environment and promote burrowing behavior. Make sure to maintain the substrate’s moisture levels by misting it regularly with water.

Temperature and Humidity

Maintaining the correct temperature and humidity levels is vital for the well-being of your Goliath birdeater. These spiders thrive in a warm and humid environment, similar to their native habitat in the rainforests of South America. The temperature should be kept between 75°F and 85°F (24°C and 29°C), while the humidity should be around 70% to 80%. A temperature and humidity gauge should be placed inside the enclosure to monitor these levels accurately.

Feeding Your Goliath Birdeater

Goliath Birdeater Feeding Habits and Preferences

One of the most interesting aspects of the Goliath birdeater’s feeding habits is its ability to catch and kill its prey. Despite its massive size, the spider is surprisingly agile and quick. It uses its strong legs and sharp fangs to capture and immobilize its prey. Once the prey is caught, the Goliath birdeater injects venom into it, which paralyzes the victim and starts the digestion process.

Interestingly, the Goliath birdeater does not rely solely on its diet for hydration. It can also absorb moisture from its food, and in some cases, from the environment. This adaptation allows the spider to survive in dry conditions where water sources may be scarce.

Feeding Frequency and Behavior

Goliath birdeaters are nocturnal creatures, meaning they are most active at night. They use their exceptional sense of touch and strong jaws to locate and capture their prey in the dark. While they are mainly carnivorous, they have been known to eat plant material such as fruits and nectar on occasion.

The frequency of feeding for Goliath birdeaters can vary depending on factors such as prey availability and environmental conditions. In optimal conditions, they may feed once or twice a week. However, during periods of scarcity, they can survive for several months without a meal.

After catching their prey, Goliath birdeaters retreat to their burrows to consume their meal. They typically crush the prey’s exoskeleton with their strong jaws before consuming the internal organs. The remains of the prey are then discarded outside the burrow.

Feeding in Captivity

Feeding time may vary depending on the individual spider’s appetite and metabolism. It is generally recommended to offer food once a week and remove any uneaten prey after 24 hours to avoid spoilage. Fresh water should also be provided in a shallow dish.

Goliath Birdeater Lifespan and Reproduction

On average, the Goliath birdeater can live up to 14 years in captivity. However, in the wild, its lifespan is slightly shorter, ranging from 10 to 12 years. The longevity of this giant spider is attributed to its ability to adapt to various environments and its resilient nature.

The female Goliath birdeater can produce a large egg sac that contains hundreds of eggs. She carefully guards the sac and ensures proper conditions for the development of the eggs. During this time, the female becomes more defensive and may display aggressive behavior towards any perceived threats. After several weeks or months, the eggs hatch, and tiny spiderlings emerge.

The spiderlings stay with their mother for a period of time and undergo several molting stages before venturing out on their own. It is worth mentioning that the Goliath birdeater exhibits a unique maternal care behavior where the female provides protection and nourishment to her spiderlings, which is rare among arachnids.