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Ecuador Spiders: Tarantulas and Red Fanged Wolf Spiders in Cuenca

Do you like spiders? Now we have some new photos – and a video – of the largest spider we’ve ever seen. This spider had a 4-inch footprint and its body was shaped like a crab shell. It didn’t have the typically extended abdomen like every other spider we’ve seen.


Update: After closer examination of the photo, we noticed that this spider does, in fact, have an extended abdomen. It seems that the weird-shaped head distracted us – at least that’s my argument…

When we poked its burrow with a stick, it came after it with two red fangs.  (You can see it in the video.) I should mention that after we filmed this short clip, we just left the spider alone.

We tried to find it online, but we didn’t see anything that came close. Do you know what kind of tarantula this is?

Update: This has been identified as a Wolf Spider by the experts at Large individuals may bite but they aren’t considered dangerous.

Our Very Own Red Fanged Spider

Closeup of the Wolf Spider (and his 8 eyes)


Spider with his Burrow in the Back

The burrow was about 4″ in diameter.

There are more than 2,800 species of wolf spiders around the world. Here’s how wolf spiders compare to brown recluse spiders.

What is the largest spider you’ve ever seen? What’s your scariest (funniest) spider story?

Tarantulas in Cuenca Ecuador

When exploring options for moving abroad scary animals are often on the list of concerns. Some places have weird parasites that can enter your skin while swimming. Other places have poisonous snakes and other weird reptiles.

But what does Cuenca have?

So while Cuenca doesn’t have poisonous snakes or dangerous mammals it does have tarantulas. And you probably won’t see them unless you really look.


Sometimes in the early morning, you can see some dead ones on the road – ones squished unknowingly from the night before.

We had been here a full year before we saw our first live one – poor guy, he didn’t really have a chance. Dena saw him in the entrance and before he knew what hit him, his insides were outside…

Are Tarantulas Dangerous?

In Cuenca, not really. I did a little research and it seems that while some types of spiders can pack a punch, tarantulas are not deadly anywhere.

Here in Cuenca, they will bite and (I’m told) it is similar to a bee sting, although I’ve get to experience it. In fact, I haven’t talked to anyone who has been bitten. I think you would have to either stick your hand inside of their hole or be a small insect to be bothered by them.

The pictures were taken on the lawn of a friends place where he was getting married. After parking we noticed the hole in the ground and looked closer to see this guy still at home.

How Big Are The Tarantulas?

The photos are pretty deceiving. The actual size is about 2 inches in diameter. They look much less scary at this size.

Brown Recluse vs Wolf Spider: 12 Key Differences Compared 🪰 The Buginator

Friday 7th of January 2022

[…] Years ago, we found a wolf spider burrow in Ecuador’s Andes mountains. Here’s a glimpse of this large wolf spider. The tunnel had a 4-inch diameter. Here’s more about our experience with spiders in Ecuador. […]

Beverly McCarter

Sunday 25th of May 2014

You can now officially count me out retiring there! LOL!

Justin M

Sunday 18th of May 2014

Hey hey. Long time, no see. Upon closer inspection, and some quick research, it would appear that this spider actually has 8 eyes, not 4, as mentioned in the article. Just thought I would throw that out there.

Bryan Haines

Monday 19th of May 2014

Thanks Justin!

Max Sand

Saturday 3rd of May 2014

Yikes! Maybe staying in a cooler climate like........Canada! isn't such a bad idea after all.

Joanne Bushman

Saturday 31st of December 2022

@Max Sand, We have to have a sweater or jacket handy even in the summer.

Eric Lutz

Saturday 3rd of May 2014

Brian old pal I really don't care for spiders. I won't kill them as long as they are in their own environment . In fact I have taken bigger spiders and put them in my garden. If I happen to find a big spider in our bedroom... ahh.. look out Mr. spider, you have seen better days. Your friend Eric.

Bryan Haines

Saturday 3rd of May 2014

Thanks Eric.