Tarantulas comprise a group of large and often hairy arachnids belonging to the Theraphosidae family of spiders, of which about 900 species have been identified. This article only describes members of the Theraphosidae, although some other members of the same infraorder (Mygalomorphae) are commonly referred to as “tarantulas”. Some species have become popular in the exotic pet trade. New World species kept as pets have urticating hairs that can cause irritation to the skin and, in extreme cases, damage to eyes.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Infraorder: Mygalomorphae
- Family: Theraphosidae
Tarantulas give people the creeps because they have large, hairy bodies and legs. While these large spiders can take a painful bite out of a human, a tarantula’s venom is weaker than from a typical bee sting.
Tarantulas move slowly on their eight hairy legs, but they are accomplished nocturnal predators. Insects are their main prey, but they also target bigger game, including frogs, toads, and mice. Tarantulas are burrowers and typically live in the ground.
- Largest tarantula leg span: 11 inches (28 cm), male Goliath bird-eating spider
- Smaller tarantula leg span: 4.5 inches (11 cm), males in genus Avicularia
- Weight: .9 ounces (28 grams) for small males in genus Avicularia; more than 3.5 ounces (100 grams) for large female bird-eating spider
Terrontula is nocturnal hunters, preying on various insects, other spiders, and small lizards, snakes and frogs. They rely on ambush and pursuit to catch their prey to sting their fangs. Fangs releases poison that shoots their prey; Disrupting a chemical victim’s meat in poison, Tarrantula can cut her prey using her powerful mouthpieces.
However, people are often afraid of the hailstorm, but the reality is that most people are poisoned compared to bees. And remember, the hilly will hide from you as you pig.
Some genera of tarantulas hunt prey primarily in trees; others hunt on or near the ground. All tarantulas can produce silk – while arboreal species typically reside in a silken “tube tent”, terrestrial species line their burrows with silk to stabilize the burrow wall and facilitate climbing up and down.
Tarantulas mainly eat large insects and other arthropods such as centipedes, millipedes, and other spiders, using ambush as their primary method of prey capture. Armed with their massive, powerful chelicerae tipped with long chitinous fangs, tarantulas are well-adapted to killing other large arthropods. The biggest tarantulas sometimes kill and consume small vertebrates such as lizards, mice, bats, birds, and small snakes.
- Some species have adhesive ‘hair-brushes’ on the tip of their legs which allows them to climb vertically up even the smoothest leaves.
- Tree-dwelling species locate a mate by their scent, and then follow the silken trail that the female leaves as she moves.
- While mating takes place at various times of the year, rainstorms in the desert areas of south-western Mexico causes vast number of male spiders to wander around in search of a potential mate. In some species, the male performs a jerky courtship dance to encourage the female to become receptive.
- After mating, the female carries her eggs in a silken cocoon attached to her body. The growth of a newly hatched spider into a mature spider is a long process and can take up to ten years.