Harvard University’s Mueseum of Comparative Zoology photographer and entomologist Piotr Naskrecki stumbled across something rustling under the leaves while on a night walk in a rainforest in Guyana. Anticipating the animal to be some sort of small mammal like a rat or a possum, he was shocked to find a puppy-sized spider instead, according to Live Science.
The giant spider is known as the South American Goliath Birdeater and is one of the largest spiders in the world. The Birdeater’s leg span can reach up to a foot, it has a body the size of a large fist and it can weigh more than six ounces. Birdeaters are not very common, according to Naskrecki. He has been working in the tropics of South America for over a decade and has only seen three such spiders.
The spiders feet have hard tips and claws that produce a clicking sound close to the sound of horse’s hooves hitting the ground. As Naskrecki approached the creature, it rubbed its hind legs against its stomach. At first it appeared to be “cute” — then it began sending out a cloud of hairs that can be extremely “painful and itchy” when in contact with the eyes or any mucous membranes.
Ultimately, the spider was taken for research purposes. Should it escape, may God have mercy on our souls.