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A photo guide to my favorite spiders

From the time I was about 5, I would spend my summer vacations walking along the hedgerows in southern England looking for spiders. These days, I take expeditions looking for rare spiders in the most remote jungles on Earth.

In truth, I get the same buzz of excitement now as I did way back then. That’s why I do it!

And I do it for these guys, my favorite spiders:


Pink Toe TarantulaAvicularia Avicularia

Lives: Amazon rain forest, South America

Legspan: Up to 6 inches

Body length: Up to 2 1/2 inches

Dangerous to humans? No

A tree-living tarantula that makes silk tubes in leaves. It eats anything of suitable size, including large insects, frogs, even small bats and birds. When disturbed, pink toes throw themselves into the air and “parachute” to the ground on their long hairy legs. Then they simply climb up another tree and start over. If they land on water, they float and just paddle themselves to dry land. Pink toes are probably the most successful tarantula family on earth. They are docile, gentle spiders that I love to handle and watch.


Jumping SpiderSalticidae sp.

Lives: Worldwide

Legspan: 1 inch or smaller

Body length: 3/8 inch or smaller

Dangerous to humans? No

Fascinating little hunters that have the best eyesight (for their size) of any animal on Earth. Brightly colored with complex mating displays, jumping spiders hunt during the day and catch their prey by jumping on it from as far as 12 times their own body length away. Beautiful, intelligent little arachnids (spiders) that even arachnophobes (people afraid of said spiders) don’t freak-out too much at.


Chicken SpiderPamphobeteus sp.

Lives: Amazon River headwaters, Southeastern Peru

Legspan: 10 inches

Body length: 4 inches

Dangerous to humans? Bites likely to be painful but not fatal

One of the largest and heaviest in the world. Very unusual in that it lives in large groups of a mother and her young or “spiderlings.” (Most spiders live alone.) The chicken spider has also been known to share its burrow with a small frog. We think the frog eats parasites such as ticks and mites or insects such as ants that could bother the spider. In return, the frog gets protection from a spider with one-inch-long fangs! A spectacular species, from a spectacular forest.


Net-Casting SpiderPamphobeteus sp.

Lives: Tropics worldwide

Legspan: 4 inches

Body length: 2 inches

Dangerous to humans: No

Here is a spider that has given up just sitting on a web. This species builds one and uses it like a fishing net. It holds the web in its long legs and hangs upside-down over a branch or log waiting for an insect to walk past. It then throws its net over the insect, gathers it up and eats at its leisure. This extraordinary way of catching prey is unique to the net-caster and has to be seen to be believed!


Kutai Earth TigerLampropelma sp.

Lives: Kalimantan, Indonesia

Legspan: 7 inches

Body length: 3 inches

Dangerous to humans? Unknown

This spider will always hold a special place for me, as it is a new species, unknown to science when I found it in the dense jungle of Eastern Borneo. It is a large, black tarantula-type spider with a pattern of orange hairs on the carapace (back). It lives in deep burrows lined with silk. At night, it stands at the mouth of its burrow waiting for an insect or small lizard to come close. I still remember the rush of seeing this beast for the first time, at night, in the beam of my flashlight.


Goliath BirdeaterTheraphosa blondi

Lives: Northeastern South America

Legspan: 12 inches

Body length: 4 inches

Dangerous to humans? Bites very painful but not fatal

It is impossible to make a list of favorite spiders without mentioning the “daddy” of them all, goliath, the largest arachnid on the planet. It is plain, chestnut-brown in color and has a real nasty attitude — it hisses, it kicks irritating hairs at you and will bite if you provoke it. But when you see this monster up close there is only one word to describe it — awesome!


Bolas SpiderOrdgarius magnificus

Lives: Australia

Legspan: 10 inches

Body length: 4 inches

Dangerous to humans? No

Another spider that gave up just sitting on webs to go fishing. But this one is a hook-and-line sort of guy, not a net-man. The spider spins a line of silk and puts a drop of sticky glue on the end. Then, the clever part: It produces a chemical that male moths find irresistible.

It waits for them to fly close and swings its fishing line in circles. Eventually the line catches a moth with the sticky end, and the spider just reels in its catch. Truly, one of the wonders of the natural world.

68 Comments on A photo guide to my favorite spiders

  1. help meeeeee!!!!
    i want a spider but i don’t know what type!!!

  2. you said you found a spider but there is no info,is it a flower spider?

  3. 😜😜

  4. I decided to keep one i found in my house as a pet since i usually just find them dead. It’s name is Ozzi, not sure what kind it is but it is small and fast.

  5. Lepidoptera helicopters // June 16, 2019 at 2:00 pm // Reply

    I keep a cat spider named moonfry. She’s a good girl about an inch in length and a legspan of just over an inch. Black and white and she does bite, but not me. She won’t eat caterpillars but she loves beetles and builds massive webs

  6. I have 2 pet spiders one is called Bliss he’s a water spider. The other is Leonard a daddy long legs!

  7. harry potter // July 2, 2018 at 9:07 am // Reply

    I’m hoping to get one

    • Me too but I did not give them names yet and it is 2 daddy Long Legs they areally doing well together in one place

  8. I have a really small one called Speedy. He jumps really high.🕷 He also makes really big webs.🕸

  9. blackish widow // June 13, 2017 at 9:42 am // Reply

    I have a spider that lives on the stairs it is sweet it is small but it can eat a wolf spider I saw it myself!!!!!!

  10. I caught spider but I dont know what kind oof it

  11. Spider ameteur(caught 25 spiders) // November 8, 2015 at 2:58 pm // Reply

    I had a wolf spider that lived for 25 mated with a funnel web spider
    Unlike most breeds the male is eaten
    In this case the male was the wolf spider but it didnt die by that. I killed it :'(

  12. coolawesomekid // August 19, 2015 at 4:59 pm // Reply

    I caught a jumping spider that was huge, and it lived for more than 3 months in a jar.

  13. How long do grass spiders live?

  14. wat do spiders eat

  15. cool im exeited to take care of this daddy long legs i found !

  16. Awesome

  17. are wolf spiders in so.calif

  18. what do wolf spiders eat and how much

  19. I live in Maine and there are lots of spiders😁 including black widows, wolf spiders and lots more

  20. I have a rain spider I need to know how to look after it bbm to help me please 266D575C

  21. I have a real Grass spider at my home and it is the size of a quarter. The Spiders color is dark brown and light brown and gray. He is fun to look at.

  22. I’ve got 1 net-casting spider 2 jumping spider and 2 bolas spider i gave them alot of food it became really big!(My biggest sister went screaming when i let 2 jumping spider)

  23. i think i have the Net-Casting Spider

  24. I used to hate spiders because I was scared of them, but now I love them because I got to have a pet spider named Melvin.

  25. the best123 // July 14, 2014 at 12:51 pm // Reply

    I luv spiders I just need to know more bout em so I can catch more I already cot 3 jumping spider but I want a different 1

    • Arachnophobia!! // October 6, 2020 at 11:12 pm // Reply

      That was me too until like a day ago but they’re not so bad and I’m keeping one for now at least that I found just chilling in a wall corner

  26. But i stil want to know about them

  27. I hate all spiders and i’m afraid of them

  28. Nick The Jumping Spider // September 11, 2013 at 6:11 pm // Reply

    i have a jumping spider and she is so awesome!!!

  29. I like my 2 pet crab spiders they are a breeding pair

  30. i found 4 or 5 black widows at my old house (3 of wich were dead already). one was eating another spider!
    i love spiders they are so cool!!!!

  31. I hate spiders

  32. If pigs could fly // February 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm // Reply

    BOB I’ve seen a black widow, well I put a bug on its web not knowing it was a black widow, and it came out and snached up the bug!!! It didn’t even wrap it up befor it ate the bug! It just, right off the bat injected the poision, and ate the little bug!
    I my self was a little shocked to see a black widow in my back yard, trust me you don’t want to see one.

  33. I definitely do not want to go near a black widow

  34. spider freak // October 15, 2009 at 9:05 am // Reply

    i luv spiders

    • goth chick // July 12, 2010 at 6:41 pm // Reply

      i love spiders and i know pretty much about them but, i saw this one spider that was about three or 2 in a half inces long,all brown,and a black spot in the middle.

      • i caught a wolf spider in my yard,im trying to make him as a pet with a nice little terrain,i put crickets in it and he wont eat its been 3days and still nothing

  35. Archeopteryx // June 26, 2009 at 6:34 am // Reply

    Jumping spiders are awesome
    I’ve actually seen them in real life when I lived in Oregon

  36. ousum i would love to have one of my one. even no thay might be poysenes

  37. i want to know more about this unknown spider

  38. I like the jumping spider

  39. are you crazy!!!!!i do not want to see a black wido.

    • Anonymous // May 5, 2014 at 12:24 am // Reply

      Hey do you know anything about the white widow spider I caught two one male and female that’s radical

  40. The bolas spider is by far the best. It is an interesting species and being a science geek I love all things strange. I used to have a pet scorpion and it was the most aggressive species in Australia (where I live). Still the Bolas spider is the best.

  41. The bolas spider has a ten inch leg span???????????? and a four inch body ?????

    surely not i think you have made a typo



  43. I have a T that i can’t ID. I’ve tried arachno boards and i’ve tried writing to Botar from and no one knows the common name for it. I came across the picture of the Chicken Spider and it looks to be identical. Can i send you some pics for comparison?

  44. future eagle scout // June 7, 2007 at 12:31 am // Reply

    I like the chicken spider could you show the biggest spider in the world or some that or dangerous to humans and bites are fatal

    • dualaretydoesminecraft // May 31, 2013 at 6:04 pm // Reply

      the biggest spider in the world is the goliath spider

    • coolawesomekid // August 19, 2015 at 5:02 pm // Reply

      the biggest spider in the world is the giant huntsman spider. Known to be found in caves their as big as a dinner plate, and they are dangerous. I saw this on a tv show, lol. 🙂

  45. hmmmmmmmmmmmm // June 4, 2007 at 1:42 pm // Reply

    Trap spider were the best

  46. Eagle Eye // May 30, 2007 at 5:19 am // Reply

    I have found a spider that there seems to be no info. or picture of anywhere. It has a whitish abdomen shaped like a smaller perfectly round stone, or oyster cracker if you will. The thorax is on top of abdomen but, cantileverd and brown. The spider is the size of a quarter and found just up from a lake in southern california. Little trap webs covering the cracked slate. Hides in the many crevices of dried river bed that is the slate. Could not see eye configuration. Spotted him running for cover and dug it out. ???????????? Please help. I will get pictures next time I am there. It is in the middle of no where.

  47. Black widow, please!

  48. i think the Pink Toe is the best. i only like turantulas.

  49. i really want to see a black witto!!!!!!!

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