CLASS: Arachnida (Arachnids)ORDER: AraneaeSUBORDER: MygalomorphaeFAMILY: TheraphosidaeGENERA: At least 123 describedSPECIES: around 900
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They"re big, they"re hairy, but are lock scary? Not once you get to know them! Tarantulas space the greatest spiders in the world. Lock are likewise known as baboon spiders in Africa and hairy spiders in south America. But don"t it is in alarmed! most tarantulas are busy minding their own business. If girlfriend don"t bother them, castle won"t bother you.

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Like every spiders, tarantulas have actually two body segments—a cephalothorax (seff-a-la-THOR-ax) and abdomen—and very strong jaws v venomous fangs. Your legs (all eight the them!) space covered with tiny hairs. Many tarantulas use their foot to flick distinct hairs, referred to as urticating hairs, off their abdomens as soon as disturbed. This hairs space barbed and lodge in the eyes and also mucous membrane of would-be attackers, causing an excellent discomfort and irritation. Tarantulas native Asia and also Africa execute not have actually urticating hairs, so they need to use much more aggressive posturing once threatened.


Tarantulas live in warmth areas about the world—on all continents except Antarctica—but many are uncovered in south America. Their preferred habitats space rainforests, deserts, and scrubland. Like other spiders, tarantulas do a silken web, yet not for snaring prey. The net is offered to do a home, a molting “mat,” or to aid in managing food items. Some tarantulas live in secret burrows in well-drained soil. If the soil is suitable, the spider digs a deep burrow and present it with silk webbing; this helps keep sand and also dirt from trickling in. Some tarantulas live ~ above the soil under rocks, logs, or the shed bark of trees, and also others live in webbed burrows in trees. These big spiders are solitary creatures, so there is just one spider every "house."

Tarantulas are nocturnal hunters, preying on a variety of insects, other spiders, and little lizards, snakes, and also frogs. They count on ambush and pursuit to capture their prey v a bite from their fangs. The fangs relax venom that kills their victim; a chemistry in the gift helps dissolve the victim"s flesh. Tarantulas can likewise crush your prey using their an effective mouthparts. Though people are often afraid that tarantula bites, the fact is that most have venom v potency equivalent to the of a bee. And remember, a tarantula would quite hide native you than bite you.

At the san Diego Zoo, our tarantulas space fed crickets, roaches, pinky mice, and small lizards.


Willing to dice for love: as soon as mature, a male tarantula abandons his burrow to seek a female by complying with the scent she leaves. The pair performs a courtship dance and also then, if the male is reputed suitable, lock mate. Males of plenty of tarantulas have spur on their an initial pair of foot to hold earlier the fangs of your chosen partner while they mate—just in case! lucky males normally die a couple of months after mating, but females might live and also produce eggs because that 25 year or more.

The female makes a silk cocoon in her home for she eggs. Once the eggs room laid (from 75 to 1,000!), she seals up the cocoon v silk and also then stand guard because that 6 come 9 weeks until the young hatch. They go off on your own once they room two to 3 weeks old.

All tarantulas have a hard exoskeleton that they must melted during each growth spurt. As soon as the time comes, the tarantula lays under a silken mat through its spinnerets and flips over onto that is back. The old exoskeleton opens on the back, and the tarantula need to push it off by expanding and also contracting that body. When the process is complete, and also the spider has permitted some time because that the new exoskeleton come harden, the flips earlier over. At first glance, the melted often watch like an additional spider! Young tarantulas molt several times end the first couple of years together they gain bigger.


Many tarantulas have actually been over-collected for the pet trade and are safeguarded by the Convention on international Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The Zoo is a refuge because that a huge group of tarantulas confiscated through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from one illegal smuggling sting.

Although spiders space fearsome predators, others often eat them. Tarantulas have plenty of natural enemies, consisting of lizards, snakes, spider-eating birds, and even wasps. A woman tarantula hawk (a large, solitary wasp) can find a tarantula, sting it, and then traction its stunned human body to a unique burrow the she has prepared. Once inside the burrow, she lays a solitary egg ~ above the human body of the living spider. As soon as the larva hatches, that eats the tarantula!


LIFE SPAN

Females live as much as 25 year in regulated care; males generally live 5 to 7 years

YOUNG

Number of egg laid: 75 to 1,000

Incubation period: 6 come 9 weeks, depending on species

Age the maturity: 3 to 12 years

SIZE

Largest tarantula leg span: 11 inches (28 centimeters), male Goliath bird-eating spider (Theraphosa blondi)

Smaller tarantula leg span: 4.5 customs (11 centimeters), males in genus Avicularia

Weight: .9 ounces (28 grams) for small males in genus Avicularia; more 보다 3.5 ounces (100 grams) for large female bird-eating spider

FUN FACTS

Tarantula venom may have actually medicinal usage in dealing with blood clots.

Spiders can not eat heavy food, therefore they pump cradle fluids right into their prey and suck up the liquids.

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The king baboon spider makes a hissing sound by rubbing together structures on that mouthparts as soon as threatened.