The Wild Side – Tarantula

This may go without saying, but here at Stuffed Safari we love animals.  Not just the stuffed ones either.  Everyone who works here has at least one pet, and most of us have more than one.  When we’re not busy selling stuffed animals, we love to learn about the real-life counterparts to the plush toys we sell.  We thought you, our readers, might find it interesting to explore some educational facts about some of our favorite animals too.  That’s why we decided to start The Wild Side.  It’s a blog series that gives captivating information about some of our favorite animals

Tarantula Information

This week we will learn about the tarantula.  This post is packed full of tarantula information.

Tarantulas are perhaps one of the most popular species of spiders.  Since they pose no threat to humans, they have become popular in the exotic pet trade.  These spiders belong to a family called Theraphosidae.  They vary in size, ranging from the size of a fingernail to the size of a dinner plate when their legs are stretched out.  The largest known tarantula is the goliath birdeater (Theraphosa blondi).

Appearance

Here is some interesting tarantula information concerning their appearance and anatomy.  Tarantulas rely on an exoskeleton for muscular support.  Most species native to the North American continent are brown in color.  Variety in coloration exists in various places around the world.  Some tarantulas exhibit color ranging anywhere from black and white stripes, to cobalt blue, to bright orange and yellow.

Their bodies are covered in two kinds of hair.  One kind are sensory organs called setae.  These help them perceive their surroundings by aiding in the detection of vibrations given off by the movement of prey.  The second kind are referred to as urticating hairs.  Super-fine and barbed, these tiny hairs grow in a patch on the tarantula’s abdomen and are used against prey or predators.  While they cause only minor irritation to humans, they can be lethal to something small like a rodent.  Despite being predators themselves, tarantulas are not without dangers.  Oftentimes, they are hunted by wasps.

Tarantulas possess eight eyes positioned on the top and front of their head, just below their mandibles.  While they can see, they rely mostly upon their sense of touch to function.  They have eight legs, each separated into seven parts listed here.

  • Coxa
  • Trochanter
  • Femur
  • Patella
  • Tibia
  • Tarsus and pretarsus
  • Claw

Tarantula Information

Here’s some tarantula information you might find interesting.  At the end of each spider leg, two, and sometimes three, hook-shaped claws retract and extend to help the spider to grip in climbing.

Diet and Habitat

Tarantulas can live in several different habitats including grasslands, savanna, desert, scrubland, or mountains.  They live in burrows dug underground where they wait for prey to come along.  Then, they strike, injecting venom from its two hollow fangs known as chelicerae.  Attached to appendages known as pedipalps, these fangs stay retracted until a tarantula decides to bite and eat.  Most of a tarantula’s diet consists of insects such as centipedes or millipedes.  Larger ones can subdue large prey such as lizards, mice, birds, bats, and even small snakes.  It is not unheard of for a tarantula to eat another spider.

Tarantulas, and spiders in general, are an object of fear for a lot of people.  Whether this is from popular films featuring spiders in an antagonistic way, or some innate instinct warning us to steer clear of them, it’s fair to say most people are not fond of spiders.  While most insects and arachnids are small, tarantulas can grow large enough in size to pronounce their features.  Iconic in Halloween décor, spider representation is everywhere during the month of October.

Despite the stigma surrounding spiders, we find tarantulas to be fascinating creatures.  Here at Stuffed Safari, you can get your hands on a stuffed tarantula year around.  Check out our selection and bring home a tarantula plush companion of your very own.

I hope you enjoyed this step into The Wild Side with tarantula information.  Subscribe to our blog to learn about more animals in the future.  Feel free to leave any comments or questions in the comment section below.  And, as always, thank you for reading.

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