They are Considered a Delicacy
Tarantulas belong to the Theraphosidae family. These hairy spiders come in about 1,000 different species that have been identified to date. The “hair” is actually setae and not true hairs. The “hair” can irritate the skin. In extreme cases, the hair can cause damage to the eyes. If you like, some people keep tarantulas as a “pet.” They are considered an exotic creature.
Can A Tarantula Kill You?
Most people have a great fear when they see a tarantula. Many parents taught us that the spider could kill us. The truth is no tarantula has ever been known to kill anybody. They will probably bite you if provoked. However, even the sting is not deadly. Instead, it feels more like a bee sting, and it does not cause any lasting injury.
The Body Of The Tarantula
Since the tarantula is an invertebrate, it relies on its exoskeleton for muscular support. The body has two main parts, the prosoma, and the opisthosoma. The pedicel connects these two parts. Their bodies can be as small as a BB Pellet and as large as a dinner plate when they have their legs extended. Their leg span can range from three to 12 inches. Some of the largest spiders can weigh three ounces. The Goliath Birdeater, from Brazil and Venezuela, is known to weigh as much as six ounces.
Tarantulas Eating Habits
Some tarantulas hunt while in trees. Others hunt near the ground. They mostly eat large insects such as centipedes, millipedes, and other spiders. They generally use an ambush method to capture their prey. Due to their powerful fangs, they are capable of killing and consuming tiny vertebrates, including small snakes, birds, bats, mice, and lizards. Tarantulas perceive their surroundings through sensory organs. It has eight eyes. The eyes are basically set in two rows of four. However, they are not capable of seeing much more than light, darkness, and motion. Touch is its keenest sense. It mainly depends on vibrations given off by the movements of its prey.
Tarantulas have two sets of breathing organs referred to as the book lungs. The first pair is located inside the lower front part of the abdomen. The second pair is slightly farther back on the abdomen. The spider’s heart is a long, slender tube.
They Are Prey
Even though the tarantula is big and “mean” looking in appearance, they are prey for other animals. The most specialized predator is the wasp family. They are called “tarantula hawks.” They track, attack, and kill large tarantulas. The wasp delivers a sting that paralyzes the sider. The tarantula is also prey for lizards, frogs, birds, and mammals. They are also enjoyed by larger animals such as the opossum. Some humans also enjoy a tarantula dinner. They are considered a delicacy in such places as Venezuela and Cambodia.
The spider can live for years. Some tarantulas may take up to 10 years to reach full maturity. After reaching adulthood, a male typically has one to one and a half years to live. They immediately search for a female with which to mate. Females have been known to live 30 to 40 years of age.
Killers of humans, or not, I prefer to keep my distance from the powerful tarantula.