Wellington Zoo has become the first zoo in 20 years to successfully breed Goliath bird-eating tarantulas.

It is also the first time the "beautiful" spiders have ever been bred in Australasia, said the zoo's team leader of reptiles and invertebrates, Dave Laux.

If spiders aren't your thing, Wellington Zoo also has baby nyala to look at. Photo / Wellington Zoo
If spiders aren't your thing, Wellington Zoo also has baby nyala to look at. Photo / Wellington Zoo

The massive spiders, which can have a leg span up to 30cm - about the size of a dinner plate - are the largest species of arachnid in the world.

"When we drop to level 2 our doors will be reopening, we will have some new babies for our visitors," he said.

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Along with baby nyala antelopes, the baby tarantulas will hopefully be able to be viewed.

There are 13 baby tarantulas - though some egg sacs can hold as many as 150 babies. Photo / Wellington Zoo
There are 13 baby tarantulas - though some egg sacs can hold as many as 150 babies. Photo / Wellington Zoo

"We're excited to announce that we have successfully bred Goliath bird-eating tarantulas.

"They are an absolutely fantastic species that we're really proud to be working with."

Laux said the spiders were "really, really big" and a "beautiful mahogany brown" colour.

"The babies are currently about the size of a 10 cent coin."

Some of the spiders can reach a leg span of 30cm - about the size of a dinner plate. Photo / Supplied
Some of the spiders can reach a leg span of 30cm - about the size of a dinner plate. Photo / Supplied

The zoo has had a particularly small "clutch" of tarantula babies, with 13 born, but the species has been known to lay as many as 150 babies in a single egg sac.

"We're extremely excited. This is for certain the first time the species have ever been bred in Australasia."

According to the Zoo Information Management System, a global network of zoo records, no other zoo has recorded breeding the spiders in the past two decades, he said.

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"We're pretty proud. We've been working on this project for a couple of years. It's extremely rewarding to finally see the fruits of our labour."

The baby tarantulas are about the size of a 10 cent coin at the moment. Photo / Wellington Zoo
The baby tarantulas are about the size of a 10 cent coin at the moment. Photo / Wellington Zoo