To many people, tarantulas are disgustingly revolting since they are hairy, stocky, and fearsome-looking. . .But to other individuals, they are TERRIFIC! Despite their reputations, most tarantulas are harmless to humans and are popular in exotic pet trade. There are no true tarantulas that are known to have a bite that is deadly to humans.
Some people even eat them. . .Yup, that’s what I said! In some countries, tarantulas are considered a delicacy, and taste somewhat like shrimp…
Tarantulas range in colours from brown, black and grey (very drab) to excitingly colorful varieties of metallic blue, white and black, bright orange, and cobalt blue.
Tarantulas are very often hairy and rather large. They don’t spin webs, unless they live in a tunnel, because they hunt their prey on the ground. If they live in a tunnel, they are known to lineup that tunnel with web to catch wandering prey. They use their speed and ambush capabilities to capture different spiders and insects. Larger varieties are even know to capture lizards, mice and birds.
Tarantulas have adopted a number of different names around the world, such as baboon spiders, barking spiders, whistling spiders, earth tigers, or bird spiders, just to mention a few.
My Story: When I lived in Australia back in 1994-95, I was on the phone with my mum in Canada as I had been wandering around the house. All of a sudden, I let out a massive scream and dropped the phone. I came back to pick up the phone to describe to her that I just walked to the restroom. In the bottom of the bathtub was a big, hairy spider about the size of a saucer (like it’s legs), and it was making a sound and leaping about 1 1/2 ft into the air.
I was so petrified, I didn’t know what to do. My mom was scared on the opposite end of the telephone as I got a clear plastic container and hauled some holes into the base of it, and covered it up in the tub until my roommates came home, who were native Aussies…
They believed it was so funny I was so scared, but I had never seen one before, being from Canada! They safely let it outside for me. Not my cup of tea, but many people loves these little guys! I wish I’d have considered taking a photograph of it!
Tarantulas live all over the world including the USA, Central & South America, Africa, Australia, and Asia.
Tarantulas rely upon their thick exoskeleton for protection and support. The body length of tarantulas vary from 2.5 – 10 cm (1-4 inches), with 8-30 cm (3 to 12 inch) leg spans (their size when including their legs).
Conservation Status: For the most part, tarantulas do well. However, the Mexican red-knee tarantula is on the Critically Endangered list based on WWF. This is because urbanization, increasing tourism, and manipulation of wildlife are high-intensity risks to the area, as are road building, perennial plantations, and ranching.