A scientist got the surprise of his life when he stumbled across a puppy-sized spider.
Piotr Naskrecki, an entomologist, said the sound of the Goliath birdeater walking resembled the clip-clopping of horse hooves.
He spotted the beast on a trek in the Amazonian rainforest.
‘I could clearly hear its hard feet hitting the ground and dry leaves crumbling under its weight,’ Mr Naskrecki writes in his blog.
‘I pressed the switch and pointed the light at the source of the sound, expecting to see a small mammal, a possum, a rat maybe.’
The South American spider has a leg span of 30cm – nearly a foot – and weigh up to 170g – as much as a young puppy.
The scientist continued: ‘The Goliath birdeater is probably the only spider in the world that makes noise as it walks.
‘Its feet have hardened tips and claws that produce a very distinct, clicking sound, not unlike that of a horse’s hooves hitting the ground.’