This large tarantula scared our guests at Anamaya until I picked it up and showed that they’re friendly. Soon most of our yoga retreat guests had taken turns holding it and getting photos. Mandy Lawson was the bravest of all… she let us put it on her face for a photo!
STOP! WARNING! If you’re even the slightest bit afraid of spiders, do NOT read the following or look at these photos. What you read here may deter you from ever visiting Costa Rica, and if you live here you might just move away immediately! For arachnophobes, some things are better left unknown.
When I first wrote about spiders in Costa Rica, I wrote the following: “The good news is that none of Costa Rica’s thousands of spider species are dangerous – unlike the U.S. which has three dangerous species – black widow, brown recluse, and the dreaded hobo spider. However, some still can and will bite if disturbed.”
I was given this information by my guide at the Monteverde insect museum, and it turned out to be completely false. Not only does Costa Rica have black widows (in one small region of the northeast, and over a dozen species of recluse spiders, but it has the world’s most aggressive and dangerous spider, the Brazilian Wandering Spider. To see a video of this terrifying spider I shot in Malpais, go to the bottom of this page.
One type of spider apparently has acid urine and if you’re unlucky you may wake up one morning with burn spots from this liquid dropped onto you. I’ve had it happen twice. The ‘acid’ is actually a poison which slowly kills the skin and so the burn develops over a few days and doesn’t really hurt. After a while, it just heals. I haven’t been able to get any reliable information about what type of spider does this, or whether it’s a spider at all. The same insect museum that gave me the false information about spiders told me that these types of burns are made by a type of beetle, not a spider.
By the way, spiders are not technically insects. They’re arachnids, as are scorpions.
A classic battle between a tarantula and a tarantula hawk on the street in Delicias. The tarantula hawk usually wins. It’s the second most painful insect on earth to be stung by, after the bullet ant.
This amazing ‘glass’ spider was so transparent that we could easily see the blood pumping through its insides. It was also missing two legs, which apparently didn’t bother it much.
There are many types of large colorful web spiders in Costa Rica, known in Florida as ‘banana spiders’ Supposedly they have a painful bite, but I’ve bumped into them many times and never been bitten.
This green spider was almost invisible, waiting for prey on our basil plant.
I apologize for this blurry photo. This was an ordinary giant tarantula that we see occasionally in Costa Rica. There are other varieties around with more color, especially red. Apparently you can pick them up and they don’t bite unless they feel threatened. So far, I’ve only let them walk across my hand.
This was a large jumping wolf spider found on beach logs. It was around 1/2″ long.
This water spider is 3-4″ in diameter and can walk on top of water.
This is the front side of the alien spider, which has an almost pearlized sheen to part of its skin. You can also see the lightning bolt in its
web, no doubt recently shot from his energy cannon.
Closup of the back of the alien. Wow, this looks like an alien in two different ways if you look carefully, both of them are pretty scary. This is definite proof that “they” are here.
Photo by Amanda. This spider is very similar to the “alien spider” but with slightly different coloration. Like the other, its body had a metallic/pearl sheen. This was in Santa Teresa.
Photo by Karen McCabe. This was a very unusual site – a group of baby spiders forming a line and walking across the yard near our house like ants.
On a typical night coming home from somewhere, we saw this hand-sized beast on the side of our house, no doubt looking for a way in so he could feed on our blood. Once again, I chickened out and failed to pick him up. One of these days I’ll do it…
SmallTarantula found in our house.
Nest of Daddy Longlegs
A yellow Crab Spider. Bright colors on spiders often warn predators of a poisonous bite, and locals say this one has a painful one.
White Crab Spider
Brightly-colored spider with two large spikes.
This was a very distinctively colored spider. It has a white stripe all along its back, and bright orange on the belly. It was fairly large, and had a beautiful flat, classically-designed web.
An odd-looking crabby spider that I found in Cabuya, climbing a plant.
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