National Aquarium – Tarantula

Tarantula

Theraphosidae

DID YOU KNOW?

Tarantulas can fling irritating hairs from their abdomen at predators.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Baltimore - Upland Tropical Rain Forest; Amazon River Forest

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Tarantula

Often large and hairy, some tarantula species live in the trees, while others live in holes in the ground.

Tarantulas grow by periodically molting their exoskeletons.

It may take many years for a tarantula to reach sexual maturity, and while males rarely live more than a year beyond this date, females may continue living for 20 years or more.


Tarantula Facts

Diet

The diet is usually comprised of insects and other arthropods. Larger species may kill and eat small reptiles and rodents.

Size

Tarantula leg spans may range from 1 inch to nearly 1 foot.

Range

Tarantulas are found in temperate, desert, and tropical habitats worldwide.

Population Status

Most tarantulas, including the species we exhibit, are not threatened.

Predators

The primary predator of adult tarantulas is a wasp called a “tarantula hawk.”

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Ken Howell
Curator of Rainforest Exhibits

pressroom striped fish

As the Curator of Rainforest Exhibits, Ken starts his day early with an exhibit walkthrough to make sure everything is running smoothly. Learn More

A Note From the Caretaker

New World tarantulas (those found in the Americas) possess 'urticating' hairs on their abdomen. As a defense mechanism, the tarantula uses its legs to fling these barbed and irritating hairs at potential danger. When accessing the enclosures that house tarantulas in the Aquarium, we must be careful not to get urticating hairs in our eyes.

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