To lots of people, tarantulas are disgustingly revolting because they’re hairy, stocky, and fearsome-looking. . .But to other people, they’re TERRIFIC! Despite their reputations, most tarantulas are harmless to humans and are popular in exotic pet trade. There are no true tarantulas which are known to have a bite that’s deadly to humans.
Some people even eat them. . .Yup, that’s what I said!
Tarantulas range in colors from brown, black and grey (very drab) to excitingly colorful kinds of metallic blue, white and black, bright orange, and cobalt blue.
Tarantulas are very often hairy and quite large. They don’t spin webs, unless they reside in a tunnel, because they hunt their prey on the floor. If they live in a tube, they’re known to line that tube with internet to catch drifting prey. They use their speed and ambush capabilities to catch different spiders and insects. Larger varieties are even know to capture lizards, birds and rodents.
My Story: When I lived in Australia back in 1994-95, I was on the phone with my mother in Canada as I had been wandering around the house. All of a sudden, I let out a huge scream and dropped the phone. I came back to pick up the telephone to describe to her that I just walked into the restroom. At the bottom of the tub was a huge, hairy spider about the size of a saucer (like it’s legs), and it was making a noise 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 other end of the phone 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 thought it was so funny I was so scared, but I had never seen one before, being from Canada! They safely let it out for me. Not my cup of tea, but a lot of people loves these little guys! I wish I would have considered taking a photo of it!
Tarantulas rely upon their thick exoskeleton for support and protection. 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 according to WWF. This is because urbanization, increasing tourism, and exploitation of wildlife are high-intensity threats to the area, as are road building, perennial plantations, and ranching.