Australia’s Bird Eating Spider

by BobinOz on January 4, 2013

in Australia's Bad Things

Just before Christmas and at a time when I should have been spreading the festive goodwill, I presented you with a post called The Funnel Web Spider of Australia and Death.

It included two videos and a picture of Australia’s deadliest spider.

Since then many of us will have enjoyed eating our Christmas turkey, but we are not the only ones who enjoy eating the occasional bird. My apologies for the lame intro, I’m still recovering from New Year’s Eve, today’s post is about…

Australia’s Bird Eating Spider

Its proper name is the Eastern tarantula and has the scientific name of Phlogius crassipes. It is Australia’s largest spider and can grow bigger than a man’s hand. It can make hissing and whistling sounds so it has also picked up the nicknames “barking spider” and “whistling spider”.

Its bite is venomous but it won’t kill a human, it would make you feel ill for a while though. This spider could kill a cat or dog and will often kill and eat rodents, frogs, and as the name suggests, the occasional bird. Like most spiders though, it’s much more likely to eat insects.

Fortunately for me and many other Australians, this spider is only found in North Queensland.

My thanks to Wikipedia for making me look clever.

Enough waffle, let’s take a look at a few bird eating spiders.

It’s not often you hear a guy say about a Sheila “Has she got a pair of fangs on her or what?” Today you will though, assuming you watch the video below. The sound quality is not great, but it’s still one of the best videos on YouTube about the Australian bird eating spider and features the much missed Steve Irwin.

There are hundreds of different species of tarantula and they are certainly not limited to Australia. I watched a few videos on YouTube about these giant spiders, including a very interesting one featuring Steve Backshall pulling a wild Goliath Bird Eating Spider out of a burrow in the Amazon.

Guess what? The spider appeared irritated at first and then seemed to calm down before eventually exploring the guys hands and arms. Nobody got bitten.

That made me wonder, are spiders as bad as all that? Maybe they just want to be friends? Let’s face it, it’s not their fault they look so ugly, perhaps we shouldn’t give them such a hard time?

I have to make it clear here, I am in no way scared of spiders, but I still wouldn’t want to handle one. Not sure why, I’ve seen a friend of mine pick up a Huntsman spider and gently take it outside. Me, I have to scoop it into a container.

Now I know many people are really scared of spiders and that is a big concern for them as they consider a possible move to Australia. What would my advice be?

  • Don’t let the thought of spiders spoil a potential move to Australia.
  • Depending where you live, and let’s assume you live close to a city or in the city, away from the bush and in a relatively modern home, then you will probably see very few spiders.
  • Those that do get into your home will be dead within 24 hours or less if you have pest control.
  • More importantly, pest control deters spiders (and all insects) from entering your house.
  • If you do see a spider, just like me, DO NOT TOUCH IT!

Like these people…

I know these videos aren’t from Australia or related to Australia in any way, but they are about spiders. I’m putting this one up simply because it is an amazing video. Here is that guy I mentioned who went into the Amazon…

Yes, amazing! Now, imagine having one of those things crawling all over your face! And that brings me to my final video. Surely if this girl can do this, then the rest of us can put up with seeing a much smaller spider at a distance every now and then?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one } January 20, 2013 at 11:28 am

We stayed Down Under for a year beginning in September 2011 and I was determined to see a Huntsman. Looked everywhere. For 4 months I could not find one of Australia’s Huntsman spiders or any other arachnid for that matter. Finally we visited the Blue Mountains for Christmas break. My 11 year old daughter came out of the bathroom of the cottage we rented and said Dad, you know that spider you’ve been looking for? I think it is on the ceiling in there. I swore she was pulling my leg. But sure enough, I go into the bathroom, look up, and there is a 4 inch Huntsman staring back at me. SWEET!

I saw only one other spider the entire year. They are no worries. Cheers!


BobinOz January 25, 2013 at 1:12 pm

You are right, they are no worries, and I’m glad you got to see one in the end. I think some people who have a fear of spiders think they will be stepping over them all the time, your story emphasises that this just isn’t the case.

I think I see less spiders here in Australia than I did in England.



Jordan Costigan June 12, 2013 at 11:14 am

The Phlogius crassipes or whistling spider is not Australia’s biggest spider anymore. In 2008 the Phlogius sp Goliath was re-discovered and is being rehabilitated and bred in captivity. I own one of these spiders. They can grow to a leg span of 25 cm. The Phlogius strenuus is also larger than the Phlogius crassipes and can grow to a leg span of 20+ cm.


BobinOz June 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Well, that told me, didn’t it? :-)

You clearly know your spiders Jordan, 25 cm is one pretty big spider. Can’t see that one fitting in my glass so I can slide a postcard underneath it.

Can we have a photograph?




Jordan Costigan June 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Well you were correct =). Most people think that the whistling spider is Australia’s larger spider because for decades it was! In the last 4 years there’s been several discoveries and classifications of tarantulas that live in the northern QLD forests. I actually cant find a picture of a Phlogius sp thats bigger than 20cm because they are so rare, it was believed that the Goliath was extinct for about 104 years and was rediscovered in 2008. There is one in a museum in QLD. My Goliath is about 13cm in diameter and is about 5 years old, They can live for up to 20 years.


BobinOz June 13, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Ah, yours is just a baby…… at the moment :-) What a great pet to have though, a spider as rare as that, I hope he has a long and happy life.

Thanks for the updated information Jordan, much appreciated.


beau June 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm

can anyone tell me where i can buy a goliath in sydney or in south west sydney


DrakWingedAngel November 9, 2013 at 4:12 am

Yeah. Why is that girl playing around and kissing and making that spider mad(she possible thinks she cool or something, let the pros do it)? Is she NUTS! The other to clips were okay, cause they didn’t put it on their face.
AHHHHHHH! That’s insane!


Lidia Belyakova January 5, 2014 at 6:35 pm

I have a very, very mild case of arachnophobia-I’m ‘not very fond’ of BIG spiders, but my biggest fear is… Ugh, ugh, centipedes!


BobinOz January 6, 2014 at 8:07 pm

I’m not sure, but I think our big spiders have eaten all the centipedes :-)


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