Top Five Tarantula Facts
Often hiding in our Upland Tropical Rain Forest exhibit, this tarantula is elusive but fascinating!
Published June 09, 2017
Tarantulas are sometimes misunderstood and feared. Here are some tarantula facts that prove they’re more terrific than terrifying!
- There are hundreds of tarantula species! They are found in most of the world’s tropical, subtropical and arid regions.
- Tarantulas live in a variety of environments. Depending on their environment and the specific species, they live in trees or in holes in the ground.
- The size of tarantulas varies. Their leg spans range from 1 inch to nearly 1 foot.
- One species of tarantula—called New World tarantulas—use their hair as a defense mechanism. This tarantula, which is found in the Americas, uses its legs to fling barbed and irritating hairs from their abdomen— called "urticating" hairs—at potential danger.
- Tarantulas have one key predator—a wasp called a "tarantula hawk.”. These wasps will paralyze a tarantula with a sting, then lay their eggs on the spider's body. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will begin to eat the tarantula, which is often still alive.
When it comes to tarantulas, have no fear! They are a fascinating creature and an amazing member of the ecosystems where they live.