To many people, tarantulas are disgustingly revolting because they’re hairy, stocky, and fearsome-looking. . .But to other individuals, they are TERRIFIC! Despite their reputations, most tarantulas are harmless to people and are popular in exotic pet trade. There are no true tarantulas that are known to have a bite that is deadly to humans.
. .Yup, that is what I said!
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 do not spin webs, unless they live in a tube, because they hunt their prey on the ground. If they live in a tunnel, they are known to line that tunnel with web to catch wandering prey. They use their speed and ambush capabilities to catch different spiders and insects. Larger varieties are even know to catch lizards, birds and rodents.
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 return to pick up the phone to explain to her that I just walked into 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 did not know what to do. My mom was scared on the opposite end of the phone as I got a clear plastic container and hauled some holes into the bottom of it, and covered it up in the bathtub until my roommates came home, who were native Aussies…
They believed it was so funny that 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 rely on 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 adding their legs).
Conservation Status: For the most part, tarantulas are doing well. However, the Mexican red-knee tarantula is on the Critically Endangered list according to WWF. This is because urbanization, increasing tourism, and exploitation of wildlife are high-intensity threats to the region, as are road construction, perennial plantations, and ranching.