Tarantula Facts For Kids | Anatomy, Diet, Habitat, Behavior

The tarantula is a group of hairy arachnids belongs to the family Theraphosidae. Scientists have identified 900 spider species to date. Tarantulas are not thought to be venomous to humans in fact that some species make popular exotic pets.

Tarantula Facts For Kids

Anatomy

  • Tarantulas are varied in sizes—from the largest tarantula nearly the size of a dinner plate to the smallest one almost the size of fingernail.
  • Tarantulas average 2.5 to 10 cm (1 to 4 in) in body length with legspan measuring around 8–30-centimeter (3–12 in).
  • They have four pairs of legs along with two additional legs.
  • There are retractable claws attached to each of the tarantula’s legs. With the help of these claws they can manage to grip surfaces for climbing. The hair at the end of these claws makes the even firm grip.
  • The weight of the large species can be as much as 85 grams. Goliath birdeater is the largest tarantula and it weighs up to 150 grams. It is mostly found in |Brazil and Venezuela. The goliath birdeater is thought to be the heaviest specimen of spider ever recorded.
  • North American Tarantulas show brown body with some species have black and white markings or sometimes yellow markings on their legs.

Distribution

  • Tarantulas occur in the United States occupying southern and western parts of the country. They are also found all across the South America and Central America.
  • They are known to live all throughout the Africa, most parts of Asia, and covering the entire Australia.
  • In Europe, they are likely to live in Turkey, Cyprus, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
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Habitat

  • Tarantulas are thought to make homes in many different habitats such as rainforests, scrubland, savanna, pampas, cloud forests, mountains and deserts.
  • They will also make burrows in the ground.

Behavior

  • Tarantulas are typically terrestrial.
  • Although tarantulas have eyes but they rely on sensory organs to prey. They sense the vibrations in the environment and any movement any at all is sensed by tarantulas.
  • They are extremely sensitive

Feeding Ecology& Diet

  • There are some species that hunt exclusively in trees while others prey on the ground.
  • One thing is for sure that all tarantulas produce silk.
  • They mainly rely on small insects and other arthropods. Tarantulas ambush their prey and the goliath birdeater prey on large animals including lizards, birds, small snakes, and mice.
  • When provoke tarantulas may even inject venom.

Reproductive Biology

  • Female tarantulas are thought to lay 50 – 2,000 eggs in a silken egg sac. She will guard these eggs for about 42 – 56 days.
  • During the time female guards eggs, she becomes little too aggressive.
  • A young tarantula may undergo molting many times before dying.
  • Many tarantulas become mature at 2 – 5 years age while others reach maturity at 10 years age.
  • Male tarantulas only rarely undergo molting after maturity. Females on the other hand continue to molt after maturity.
  • The average lifespan of females is 30 – 40 years. They can live on water alone for up to 730 days.
  • The tarantula hawks or Hemipepsis ustulata is the only potential predator of tarantulas. These wasps are found in Americas and they are able to kill large tarantulas. Giant centipedes are also believed to be the predators of tarantulas.
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