TARANTULAS

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TARANTULAS

Western U.S.
Tarantulas, with their long legs (their leg span can reach up to 5 7/8 inches) and large hairy bodies, are ferocious in appearance and feared by many, no doubt due to the way they are depicted in motion picture horror films. In reality, their venom is weak and they are unable to inflict more than temporary injury and pain. The bite has been described as "painful as a couple of pin stabs." Tarantulas are not usually aggressive and are often seen in our desert after heavy rains. Tarantulas have fine hair on the abdomen that, when loosened by scraping with their hind legs, is very irritating when it comes in contact with the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose of mammals. This diversion often gives the tarantula time to escape its predator. Tarantulas are actually helpful to man in that they destroy many harmful insects.tarantulas spider

The large brown and black California Tarantula occurs in our area inhabiting the dry slopes of the hills. It is only mildly venomous and has a docile disposition, as do most of these large spiders.

Tarantula's in the Midwest (Missouri)

This hairy species is Missouri's largest spider. Female tarantulas average approximately 50mm in length, the males 40mm. Body and legs are uniformly dark chocolate-brown, with reddish hairs on the carapace.

The tarantula's large size and shaggy appearance is frightening to many people, leading them to believe it has a ferocious nature. It actually is a shy creature, quick to evade humans. Taranthulas are typically at home in areas seldom frequented by people. They appear to prefer dry, rocky glades, where they spend their days in silk-lined burrows in abandoned rodent or reptile tunnels or in other natural cavities. Like many hunting spiders, tarantulas are active at night, when they hunt for insects such as crickets. In late summer and fall, south Missourians often see these large arachnids crossing roads. This wandering phenomenon has been documented in male tarantulas in southern california, but it has not been studied in Missouri.

Spruce Fir Moss Spider (Type of Small Tarantula)

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