Tarantulas

Big, hairy spiders of the Theraphosidae family fall under the category of tarantulas that consist of approximately 1000 species and about 113 genera at present. Their impressive appearance makes them a highly sought-after species in the pet trade, especially among arachnids.

Physical Description & Identification

Adults

Size: Their sizes differ as some of them could be extremely small like a fingernail, while a few could even replicate a dinner plate. Their body length may vary between 2.5 and 10cm (1 and 4 inches), while their leg span will be from 8 to 30 cm (3 to 12 inches).

Color: They may be brown or black, while certain species could display stripes or markings of yellow or blue on their legs.  

Other Characteristics: Their jaw and fangs are strong, with the latter having a size of about 3.8 cm (1.5 inches).

Eggs

Species of this family lay between 50 and 2,000 eggs in a silken sac and protect it for 6 to 8 weeks.

Spiderlings

They remain in their mother’s protection for a while after which they disperse to go on their own.

The Web

Most species of this family are not known to make webs, but rather spin silk for building burrows. They prefer pouncing upon their enemy while on a hunting spree instead of catching them in their mesh.

Do Tarantulas Bite and Are They Poisonous

They are known to have venom in their bites that could be as mild as a bee sting or produce more painful effects. Their urticating hairs could cause pain and irritation to the skin, and even damage the eyes in extreme cases.  However, spiders of the tarantula family are not known to bite unless provoked, and their instances of harming humans are infrequent.

Quick Facts

Lifespan Females: 30 years

Males: 7 years

Distribution Parts of South America, Central America, Mexico, Asia, Australia, and Africa;
Habitat Grasslands, rainforests, mountains, deserts, and scrublands, found on treetops, under logs and rocks, as well as  on barks of trees
Common Predators Snakes, owls, weasels, skunks, and hawks
Diet Beetles, and grasshoppers, arthropods such as centipedes and millipedes as well as other spiders

Did You Know

  • The Goliath Birdeater is said to be the biggest of all tarantulas.
  •   Tarantula derives its name from ‘Taranto,’ a town in southern Italy.
  • Some common tarantula species include the goliath bird tarantula, pink toe tarantula, rose hair tarantula, cobalt blue tarantula, Texas brown tarantula, pumpkin tarantula, and Mexican red knee tarantula.