Facts about Tarantulas

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1. Tarantulas are the Largest Spiders

Tarantulas are the largest spiders in the world. Through these spiders give people creeps due to their big hairy legs and bodies, these spiders are basically harmless to people. Their bites are however painful and their venom is mild and weaker compared by venom released by a typical bee. Tarantula spiders have actually become famous pets among people who love arachnid.

2. Tarantulas Shed External Skeletons

Tarantulas are known to shed external skeletons periodically through a process known as molting. During molting, they are known to replace their internal organs including their stomach lining and female genitalia. They are also known to develop new appendages to replace lost ones during the molting process.

 3. Tarantula Habitation

Tarantulas are generally burrowers and live in the ground. These spiders occur in numerous species that reach up to 850. These tarantula species are found in most subtropical, tropical and arid regions of the world, with most of them living in South America. Tarantulas occur in varying colors with their behavior varying depending on the specific environments that they inhabit. In the U.S, tarantulas are mostly found in southwestern states.

 4. Nocturnal Predators

Though tarantulas are slow but deliberate movers, they are good nocturnal predators. Their main prey is insects even though they also go for larger prey such as mice, toads and frogs. As the name suggest, the South American bird eating spider also preys on small birds. Tarantulas do not use webs to ensnare their prey though they might spin trip wire to send alert signal when a prey approaches their burrows.

 5. Hunting tactics

Tarantulas use their appendages to grab and inject venom to paralyze their prey. They then dispatch their victims using their fangs. They are also known to generate digestive enzymes that help liquefy the bodies of their victims to enable them use their straw-like mouth openings to such them up. After consuming a large meal, tarantulas can go for up to a month without feeding again.

 6. Tarantulas Enemies

Tarantulas are known to naturally have very few enemies. Its major enemy is the parasitic pepsis wasps. These wasps are a daunting exception because they use their sting to paralyze tarantulas then lay their eggs on their bodies. Once these eggs hatch, the wasp larvae tend to gorge on the tarantula that is still alive.

 7. Reproduction

Tarantulas begin their mating ritual with the male spinning a web and depositing sperm on the web surface. The male then uses his short appendages that are leglike and located close to the mouth to copulate. The females then seal the sperm and eggs together in a cocoon. She protects them for about 6 to 9 weeks after which between 500 and 1000 tarantulas hatch.

 8. Lifespan

The National Wildlife Federation says that male tarantulas have a significantly shorter lifespan than the females. While female tarantulas have a lifespan of up to 30 years, male tarantulas only live for a maximum of 7 years.

 9. Physical Features

The size and color of tarantulas vary broadly based on species and location. However, their average length from the rear left leg to the front right leg ranges between 4.5 to 11 inches. Their weight ranges anywhere between 1 and 3 ounces and they have strong fangs and jaws.

 10. Females try to eat Male Tarantulas after Mating

When they are ready to mate, male tarantulas follow pheromones, the guide that females give, to follow a female to the burrow. Once there, he alerts the female by tapping his foot. A receptive female emerges from the burrow and a courtship ensues. The male raises his abdomen, shakes padipalps, moves back and forth, and lowers his front parts to entice the female. If she is interested, mating happens after which the mate gets away first as females attach and eat males after mating.

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