The sight of a tarantula gives most people the shivers and few of us really know what remarkable creature they really are. They are hairy, they are venomous and some of them grow to a large size Maybe these are the main reasons why these poor fellows are not too popular.
Goliath bird eater tarantula eats a mouse. © Chris Hartmann (watch the video on YouTube).
What these creatures eat in order to survive?
Tarantulas are carnivores. Their diet varies from larvae to small insects and they can even attack a mouse or frog if their size is big enough. They can’t eat their prey in one piece, so they inject their venom into the preys body. The venom contains digestive enzymes and this transforms the inside of the prey into liquid. This way, the spider is allowed to sip the liquid content as if drinking a cocktail. When hunting, they stay, wait and then jump on the prey and paralyze it with its venom. They don’t use a web to catch their prey like other spiders. They are born predators, hunt at night and they catch their victims by simply attacking them. After a good meal, a tarantulas may not have to eat for weeks.
A tarantula captures and drags a variable sandsnake. © Wdubel (watch it on YouTube).
Tarantulas are considered harmless to humans
Their venom is weaker than a bee’s sting and is not deadly. Due to this fact, some people keep them as pets, some even try recreating their natural habitats so they can offer their spider a cozier place to live in. Tarantulas are silent creatures, require very little space and are easy to take care of. In captivity, they should be fed with crickets or other insects and usually the meal should be half the size of the tarantula. Even though tarantulas get their water from their prey, they should have some water at their disposal at all times. Handling and feeding should be avoided when they are molting, which should not take longer than a few weeks.
More on tarantulas
One interesting thing about tarantulas, especially females, is that they eat their partners after mating. She lays around 2000 eggs, these will hatch in around 2 months. Most of the spiderlings are consumed by other predators, only few of them survive. They may be silent but one can’t be too careful when handling a spider of this kind. They are delicate creatures, can get injured easily if treated carelessly and a fall from a few meters can easily kill it. However, you want a unique pet, tarantula is a fair choice.
Continue reading: Spider’s diet.
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