Information On Tarantulas

Learn more information on tarantulas; big, hairy, frightening spiders.

Tarantulas are, in a nutshell, very big spiders. While many people are afraid of them due to portrayals in horror films and Halloween shops, they are actually interesting, mild creatures. Some are even kept as pets!

Tarantulas belong to the Phylum Arthropeda, the sub-phylum Chelicerata, and the class Arachnida, or "arachnoids," as spider are often referred to. They are found worldwide, but by nature they tend towards dry, sunny areas. For this reason, they are often found in Arizona, California, and many parts of South America frequently. Tarantulas can be as small as 1 1/2 inches, or as large as 5 inches across. Their coloring is usually black, but it can occasionally include hints of blue, green and red. There are more than 8oo species of this insect. Tarantulas are usually differentiated from other spiders by their diet and living habits. They do not spin webs, like other spiders do. Instead, they often catch their prey by running on their giant legs.

Tarantulas are covered with hair, and can sometimes make a rasping or hissing noise by rubbing their legs together. They actually, on occasion, use their hair as a weapon. There is a characteristic bald spot on the abdomen of many tarantula, brought on by rubbing hair into an enemy's eyes to blind them. As in many horror movies, they have fangs on their abdomen that lead to a set of lungs. These are used to stun and poison enemies. Tarantulas also have eight eyes: two in the middle of the face and three on each side of their head! In this respect, they are pretty scary for the unprepared viewer.

Many tarantulas prefer to live in the ground, instead of in a web or in a tree. Often, they will find a cool, dry hole to live in. They do not live together. Each tarantula is fiercely individual, having its own hole and eating and sleeping patterns. Often, food is dragged into the home to eat. This can range from a small bug to a baby bird.

Tarantulas often shed their hair repeatedly during their lives. They are know to live from ten to fifteen years, sometimes even thirty. They mate at about ten years of age, after which the female raises her eggs, and the male usually dies. Sometimes, the male is killed during the mating process itself, because the female takes his sperm inside her, then releases it herself into her burrow. She may, at times, eat the male for extra energy during the birthing process.

Tarantulas can be found at most pet stores. They are mild, well-mannered pets, and often need only a cage and a light. While they do occasionally bite, their venom is not meant for humans, and therefore causes little damage. In fact, often the bite can be simply bandaged for a few days. It is advised that a pet owner not breed tarantulas in his home. Because the female is a fierce protector of her eggs, she may bite often in defense of her brood. Also, the number of baby tarantulas expected during the birthing process is almost always large.

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