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Giant Spiders – Monstrous Myth or Terrifying Truth?

Posted by: Karl Shuker on August 1st, 2014

Monstrous spiders of gargantuan size are perennially popular subjects in science fiction ‘B’ movies as well as in classic fantasy novels such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, but could such beasts exist in reality? The current record-holder for the title of world’s largest spider is Rosi – a 12-year-old captive female specimen of South America’s goliath bird-eating spider Theraphosa blondi. Rosi boasted a leg-span of 11.25 in (big enough to cover a dinner plate), a body weighing 6.17 oz (which is as heavy as six house sparrows Passer domesticus) and as big as a tennis ball, plus a total body length of 4.75 in.

Dr Karl Shuker with model of giant spider

(c) Dr Karl Shuker

Although these are impressive statistics, they are far from monstrous. In contrast, there are some remarkable yet currently-unresolved modern-day reports on file hinting that certain truly astonishing arachnids whose size very dramatically surpasses this latter species’ stature lurk in shadowy zoological anonymity within various regions of our world…

Further details can be found here on my ShukerNature blog.

Karl Shuker About Karl Shuker
My name is Dr Karl P.N. Shuker. I am a zoologist (BSc & PhD), media consultant, and the author of 20 books and hundreds of articles, specialising in cryptozoology and animal mythology. I have a BSc (Honours) degree in pure zoology from the University of Leeds (U.K.), and a PhD in zoology and comparative physiology from the University of Birmingham (U.K.). I have acted jointly as consultant and major contributor to three multi-author volumes on cryptozoology and other mysterious phenomena. I am the Life Sciences Consultant to The Guinness Book of Records/Guinness World Records (Guinness: London, 1997-present day), and was consultant to Monsters (Lorenz Books: London, 2001), as well as a contributor to Mysteries of the Deep (Llewellyn: St Paul, 1998), Guinness Amazing Future (Guinness: London, 1999), The Earth (Channel 4 Books: London, 2000), and Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained (Chambers: London, 2007). I appear regularly on television & radio, was a consultant for the Discovery TV series Into the Unknown, and a question setter for the BBC's quiz show Mastermind. I am a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a Member of the Society of Authors, and the Cryptozoology Consultant for the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ). I have written articles for numerous publications, including Fortean Times, The X Factor, Paranormal Magazine, FATE, Strange Magazine, Prediction, Beyond, Uri Geller's Encounters, Phenomena, Alien Encounters, Wild About Animals, All About Cats, All About Dogs, Cat World, etc. In 2005, I was honoured by the naming of a new species of loriciferan invertebrate after me - Pliciloricus shukeri.


3 Responses to “Giant Spiders – Monstrous Myth or Terrifying Truth?”

  1. Goodfoot responds:

    Karl, any information on who picked up the honking huge spider to weigh it? I’d like to know, because if I’m ever in a position to shake hands with that crazy person, I’m going to pass. Because there might be a large spider in his or her hand….

  2. Dr Kaco responds:

    I’m pretty sure there are larger spiders out there especially in the South American region where there is a higher amount of oxygen created by so much tree/plant growth such as in the Amazon jungle areas.

    Creepy!! ;p

  3. Karl Shuker responds:

    Hi Goodfoot, Yes, it was George Beccaloni of the Natural History Museum in London, but he used forceps, lol. You can watch the historic weigh-in of the two giant spider contenders on a video here.



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