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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #95978: Goliath bird-eating spider
    > Other English exercises on the same topic: Animals [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Animals (video) - Animals - Animals & insects - Animals and pictures - Animals - Vocabulary: animal noises/sounds - Wild animals - Birds II (Idioms)
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    Goliath bird-eating spider

    The Goliath bird-eating spider

    The Goliath birdeater (Theraphosa blondi) is an arachnid, or spider, belonging to the tarantula family, Theraphosidae. It is considered to be the second largest spider in the world (by leg-span, it is second to the giant huntsman spider), and it may be the largest by mass. Also called the Goliath bird-eating spider, it gets its name from reports of explorers from the Victorian era, who witnessed one eating a hummingbird.

    Habitat and ecology

    Theraphosa blondi is native to the rain forest regions of northern South America. Wild Goliath birdeaters are a deep-burrowing species, found commonly in marshy or swampy areas, usually living in burrows that they have dug or which have been abandoned by other burrowing creatures.

    Life cycle

    Females always mate, but sometimes may end up eating their mates. Females mature in 3 to 4 years and have an average life span of 15 to 25 years. Males die soon after maturity and have a lifespan of three to six years. Colors range from dark to light brown with faint markings on the legs. Birdeaters have hair on their bodies, abdomens, and legs. The female lays anywhere from 100 to 200 eggs, which hatch into spiderlings within two months.


    These spiders can have a leg span of up to 30 cm (12 in) and can weigh over 170 g (6.0 oz). Birdeaters are one of the few tarantula species that lack tibial spurs, located on the first pair of legs of most adult males, which serve to keep the fangs of the female immobilized during mating, so that the female does not eat the male.


    Like all tarantulas, they have fangs large enough to break the skin of a human (1.9–3.8 cm or 0.75–1.5 in fangs). They carry venom in their fangs and have been known to bite when threatened, but the venom is relatively harmless and its effects are comparable to those of a wasp's sting. Also, when threatened, they rub their abdomen with their hind legs and release hairs that are a severe irritant to the skin and mucous membranes. They have urticating hairs that can even be harmful to humans, and are considered by some to be the most harmful tarantula urticating hair of all. Tarantulas generally bite humans only in self-defense, and these bites do not always result in envenomation (known as a 'dry bite'). The Goliath birdeater has poor eyesight and mainly relies on vibrations in the ground, which it can sense from within its burrow.


    Despite its name, the Goliath birdeater does not normally eat birds. As with other tarantulas, their diet consists primarily of insects and other invertebrates. However, because of its naturally large size, it is not uncommon for this species to kill and consume a variety of vertebrates. In the wild, larger species of tarantula have been seen feeding on rodents, frogs, lizards, bats and even venomous snakes.

    In captivity, the Goliath birdeater's staple diet should consist of cockroaches (generally the Dubia cockroach, Blaptica dubia). Spiderlings and juveniles can be fed crickets or cockroaches that do not exceed the body length of the individual. Feeding of mice is discouraged as such food contains excess amounts of calcium which can be harmful or even fatal to a tarantula.



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    English exercise "Goliath bird-eating spider" created by tizeph with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from tizeph]
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    1. Here it comes. Absolutely dripping sweat here. Look at the size of those !

    2. I've never seen anything this big before and I've been catching tarantulas for well over a . This is the largest tarantula in the world. The Goliath bird-eating spider.

    3. They're remarkably canny and . Getting her out into the open takes infinite patience and care. Every member of the crew holds their breath. Once she's out, the machete provides a safe block to keep her from disappearing into her burrow.

    4. Well done, mate. The burrow can be many metres deep. If she ran now, we'd have to wait hours for another chance. I'm going to be very with her, because this is a very old and very special spider.

    5. This is definitely a female and the females of this particular spider can get to be 25, even 30 years old. So she's . Come on, old girl. There you are. Now we can get a proper sense of the size of you. This spider's venom wouldn't kill me, but you really don't want to get bitten by those gigantic fangs.

    6. She does, however, have another form of defence that I've got to be really careful of. That kicking her leg against her abdomen, sending hairs up into the air, if those get into your eyes or nose, the back of your throat, it can be very irritating and and it's actually the spider's primary method of getting rid of an attacker, despite the fact that it has gigantic fangs.

    7. She's got fangs that are about as long as a cheetah's and a good deal sharper. She could give me a really, really nasty bite, so I just want to be ever so careful. This is the Goliath bird-eating spider. Goliath was a giant in the Bible and this is a giant among spiders. Now, although they certainly are capable of it, birds don't actually form a large part of their diet.

    8. Most of what they'll eat are rats and mice, lizards and crickets, invertebrates. But really they will take almost anything that's unlucky enough to past their burrow.

    9. Look at the size of her! And I can feel those hairs that she kicked up into the air and I can feel in the back of my throat and I want to but it's not really a good time to cough with that on your hands.

    10. As she relaxes, she decides to go for a wander, and though it's still a little nervy, I think I've this spider's trust. They really are very, very impressive. Look at that, as the comes over the top of my finger. It's something that never ceases to amaze me. This is an invertebrate, this animal doesn't have a backbone. It's brain is absolutely tiny, but every single one of these spiders has their own individual personality.

    11. Some of them are incredibly easy to handle. Others of them will bite almost instantly. Some of them will wander over your hand quite happily. Other of them, you really think that, you know, it's quite , and any second, they could sink their fangs into you. This one here is kind of in the middle.

    12. She's been kicking hairs quite frantically and I don't know I think I'm probably quite close to getting a bite, which is why I'm so much. The Goliath bird-eating spider, one of the true giants of the Amazon and an absolute cert for the Deadly 60. The biggest spider in the world. A monster that doesn't only eat crickets and cockroaches but mice, frogs, lizards, and, yes, even birds. The Goliath bird-eating spider. Deadly.

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