Tarantula is a hairy, long-legged, long-lived spider found mostly in warm
regions. Also sometimes known as Bird Spiders or Monkey Spiders, true
Tarantulas make up the family Theraphosidae; related forms, including
Funnel-web Spiders and Trap door Spiders, are also sometimes grouped as
Tarantulas. Many species are about 2.5 to 7.5 cm (1 to 3 in) long, with a
13-cm (5-in) leg span, but some South American species are larger.
Tarantulas inject a paralysing venom into prey with their large fangs. The
bite is severely painful and often requires hospitalisation and pain
killers. Ornamental Tarantulas (Poecilotheria) like the Fringed
Ornamental from Sri Lanka, are very fast and their bites are fairly
The term "Tarantula" refers to about 300 species of spiders some of
which can weigh 2 to 3ounces and have a 10-inch leg span. Most Tarantulas
are sluggish, and will not bite unless provoked. However, the bites of
Tarantulas can be quite painful since the fangs are large and can pierce the
skin of the victim.
Many Tarantulas have a dense covering of stinging hairs on the
abdomen to protect them from enemies. These hairs can cause skin irritation
Tarantulas usually live in burrows in the ground. These burrows may be dug
by the spider or abandoned by rodents. The tunnels are lined with silk and
form a webbed rim at the entrance that conceals it. The females deposit 500
to 1000 eggs in a silken egg sac and guard it for 6 to 7 weeks. The young
spiders remain in the burrow for some time after hatching and then disperse
by crawling in all directions. Tarantulas do not occur in colonies because
they do eat each other.
Tarantulas may live for many years. Most species require 10 years
to mature to adults. Females kept in captivity have been known to live more
than 25 years and have survived on water alone for 2 1/2 years. Females
continue to moult after reaching maturity and, therefore, are able to
regenerate lost legs. Males live for only one year or less after maturity. A
tarantula can be kept as a house pet. A terrarium (an empty aquarium) with a
sandy bottom provides an ideal habitat. Tarantulas can be fed live crickets
or other insects.
adequately provoked, Tarantulas will bite and their formidable fangs can
produce painful puncture wounds. There is another route of envenomation by
the tarantula - urticating hairs located on the abdomen serve as a deterrent
to predators. These are hairs that cause itching and burning.
Symptoms of Envenomation: Bites are unlikely to cause problems other than
pain at the site. Skin exposure to the urticating hairs will cause itching
and a rash.
First Aid: Clean the bite site with soap and water and protect
against infection. Skin exposures to the urticating hairs are managed by
removing the hairs with tape.
Tarantula of All - Introduction:
Goliath bird-eaters (Theraphosa blondi) are the world's largest
species of tarantula. Tarantula is a generic name for hairy spiders.
This spider is, as its name suggests, large enough to eat a bird. It is
found in the northern South American countries of Suriname, Brazil,
Guyana and Venezuela. It lives in the wet swamps and marshy areas deep
within the primary rainforest. The local natives of the rain forests
where these live, worship and occasionally eat these spiders.
Goliath bird-eating spider was named by explorers from the Victorian era
who first reported them to the western world, and witnessed one eating a
humming bird. This hairy spider has a leg span of 30.5 cm (12 inches)
across, about the size of a dinner plate or small pizza, and they can
weigh up to 70 g (2.5 ozs). Their bodies are dark and light brown in
colour. They have four pairs of legs and their bodies are made up of two
external parts; the cephalothorax, or head and neck combined, and the
abdomen. They have 8 eyes like many spiders but their eyesight is weak
and they can only see differences in the level of light. Instead they
detect movement through sensory hairs that feel the slightest vibrations
on the ground and in the air. The life expectancy for a female Goliath
bird eater is about 25 years. Most require about 10 years to mature to
adults. Males live for only one year or less after mating. The spiders
continue to moult after reaching maturity and are able to regrow any
limbs they might lose.
Habitat: Goliath-bird eater
live in burrows in the ground dug by themselves or abandoned by rodents.
The female spends most of her life in her burrow which is lined with
silk. They are nocturnal spiders and rest in their burrows during the
day. They do not travel more than a few feet from home, relying on food
to come to them. They flick clouds of urticating hairs at any perceived
Breeding: The Goliath bird-eating
spider is a solitary arachnid which only associates with other spiders
of its own species when mating or guarding its young. Males can be
identified by the mating hooks on the first set of legs. The male will
come to the entrance of the female's burrow and try to entice her out.
He will use his mating hooks when she comes out to restrain her fangs
while he tries to mate with her. Afterwards he has to make a fast
getaway or be injured or killed by the female. About 50% of the males
are killed or maimed while trying to mate.
The female deposits about 50 eggs in a silken egg sack about 1
inch (3 cm) in diameter, and stores it in her burrow. She guards it for
6 to 7 weeks, even taking the sack with her when she leaves the burrow.
After the young spiders hatch they stay in the nest until their first
molt, and then go out on their own.
Venom: The Goliath bird-eating
spiders are considered to be very aggressive and do not make good pets.
Unlike other spiders, who are noiseless, the Goliath bird-eating spider
can make a hissing noise to frighten off threats by rubbing bristles on
its legs together. They will also rear up on their hind legs in a threat
position. Their two fangs have poison glands at their base. Although
they are not very toxic to humans, they can cause severe pain, nausea
and sweating. The venom works on the nervous system and paralyses its
smaller victims. A more painful way of defending itself is to flick off
the hairs on its abdomen with its legs. These microscopically barbed
hairs can be irritating to the skin and lungs. They will cause swelling
for a few hours like a nettle rash. It is most serious when the hairs
get into your eyes or mouth.
Prey: The size and power of the
Goliath bird-eater makes it possible for them to eat larger prey. They
rarely eat birds, although they may eat hatchlings. Its usual diet
consists of frogs, small snakes, beetles, insects, lizards and even bats
and pinky rats. They don't have any special hunting technique, like
building webs or leaping on their prey. They will sneak up on their prey
and pounce on their victim, injecting them with venom which paralyses
them. They will often carry their prey back to their burrow or a safe
location to eat it at leisure. They don't have teeth to tear or chew
their food, but regurgitate digestive juices onto their victim. The
juices break down the soft tissue making it possible for the spider to
suck up the liquid and eat its meal.
Although it is not threatened in the wild, it does have natural
enemies like certain spider wasps, some snakes, and other tarantulas.
The spiders are most vulnerable during moulting when they are fragile
and can't move very well. Smaller insects can easily kill a tarantula in
the process of moulting. It takes several days for the exoskeleton to
harden again. The most dangerous enemy the spider has is man and the
destruction of its habitat.
a Low-Maintenance Pet? Try a Tarantula!
this page for photos of different species of tarantulas.
and pictures were taken from children's projects and where credited to that
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