Spiders. Nothing makes you run to the corner of your room crying more than the sight of an 8-legged friend on your ceiling. But you may rethink shrieking about your friendly neighbourhood arachnid when you see these 5 bad boys out in the wild. And just to make it easier we've ranked them based on 'scariness' so you know exactly which one to nightmare about tonight.
Scary Factor: 5/10. Mildly adorable.
The Jumping spider (Salticidae) looks the most adorable of the bunch but you still wouldn't want one as a pet. Imagine waking up to those big eyes staring into your soul. It's part of the largest family of spiders, over 5,000 species, making up 13% of all spiders worldwide. It's calling a Jumping spider because it's very agile, jumping to hunt and run from prey.
Scary Factor: 7/10. Pointy but harmless.
The Spiny Orb-weaver (Gasteracantha) is one of 70 species of spiders known for having a visible spine. While not as large as the Birdeater it can reach up to 3cm in diameter. It looks like the spider's back is smiling at us and for good reason -- it's completely harmless.
Scary Factor: 8/10. Freaky lookin'.
Peacock spiders (genus Maratus) may look like a peacock but are at mere 0.3 inches wide -- 100x smaller than its namesake. That doesn't mean that they aren't terrifying -- the blur of colours makes it hard to pin down. While they are venomous their jaw is so small that it can't puncture human skin. It's part of the Jumping spider family described above, so rather than building webs they pounce and sink their teeth into their prey.
Scary Factor: 9/10. Full on creepy-crawly.
The Giant Huntsman Spider (Heteroponda maxima) is the largest spider by leg-span, stretching up to 12 inches long. It's so large that it's legs can't fit under it's body and instead are splayed out to the side instead. The legs have twisted joints so they can move side-to-side like a crab. Imagine a crab the size of your Mac running toward you at full speed - run away!
Scary Factor: 10/10. Lifelong nightmares.
The South American Goliath birdeater (Theraphosa blondi) is the world's largest spider by mass. Its legs can reach up to 30 cm and it can weigh up to 170 grams, as much as a puppy. The name is slightly misleading - it mostly eats insects and frogs, though it's been known to gobble a lizard or bat from time to time. Yuck!
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