A jungle terror is creeping its way through the rain forest in South America: A hiker spotted a spider the size of the dog scurrying across the forest floor.
Hiker Piotr Naskrecki was doing some nighttime hiking in the Guyana rain forest when he heard a flurry of movement near his legs, according to Discovery News. When he looked down, expecting to see a small mammal running around, he saw the mammoth spider. The spider was the size of a puppy. Naskrecki, an entomologist and photographer for the Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, immediately realized the size of his discovery.
Naskrecki believes the spider is the South American Goliath birdeater, the largest spider in the world. The spider’s legs can grow to be a foot long and can weigh almost a third of a pound. When Naskrecki approached the spider, the spider became defensive and sprayed microscopic hairs, which irritate the eyes on contact, Naskrecki told Discovery.
The hairs are not the only form of defense that the spider has. It also has two-inch fangs, about the size of a small eraser, in order to bite anyone who dares goes near it. The spider uses the fangs to crush and devour its prey, typically birds and small mammals. If bitten by a Goliath birdeater, the pain feels like you have a nail being hammered in to you, the entomologist told Discovery. It won’t kill you, but it’s going to hurt.