Information On Tarantulas

Information on tarantulas. Where tarantuals live, about their bodies, what they eat, what their main predator is, and how long they can live.

There are about 30,000 species of spiders alive today. A few hundred of these spiders are called mygalomorphs. They are hairy, large, and are active hunters. You may know these creatures as tarantulas. You can find tarantuals on all continents except Antarctica. There are 30 different kinds of tarantulas in North America. These tarantulas can be found in the southwestern United States, and in Mexico and Central America. There are two Northern Australian species that are known to have dangerous toxic bites, but most other species don't. The biggest tarantula is called the "bird eating" spider of South America. Some of these tarantulas have a ten-inch leg span!

Tarantulas have eight legs, two body segments called the cephalothorax and the abdomen, and silk-spinning glands and large fangs with venom. They also have eight

eyes, but have surprisingly poor eyesight. They have some power of smell, because during the matting season males will follow a female's trail for miles. Know one knows



for sure if they can hear. Their most important sensory organs are their furry bristles. These furry bristles can detect vibrations from great distances. They can also be used to defend themselves. If a tarantula feels threatened in any way it can kick the hairs off into a prediators face.

Tarantula's are nocturnal ground-hunters. They eat insects, small frogs, lizards, baby mice and birds, and other tarantulas. That's why its a good idea if you plan to have more that one for a pet, to keep them in seperate cages. In the United States their main prediator is the pepsis wasp. A pepsis wasp lives in the desert and will hunt down a live tarantula, then paralyze it with a sting. It will then lay its eggs on the body of the tarantula so its offspring will have a food supply ready to eat.

Captive females can reach 20 years in age. You can identify a male by the hook like protrodences on its front knees. They use these to grasp females during mating. The

male usually dies soon afterwards. All tarantulas will shed their exoskeletons periodically. This shreded skin keeps its shape so well, that sometimes it is mistaken for

another spider.

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