The tarantula has always been a scary spider for many.. It didn’t help that the furry spider was featured in many horror flicks way back when. As you can see from the photo though, is there really much to fear? Yes and no…
The name “Tarantula” originally came from unrelated wolf spider species in Italy. In this recent article, the nearly 850 species of tarantula spiders are docile unless they get a little scared and decide they need to defend themselves. Moreover, the article states that not only are the bites not life threatening to humans – unless you have an allergic reaction to the protein the spider injects while biting – but they are very treatable.
Undoubtedly, the big beaks on the spider is to blame for its reputation. The big, beady black eyes and the enormous size of up to 3-10 inches in diameter don’t help either. The female tarantula can live up to 40 years and the male spider counterpart only last for about 11 years after having mated with the female spider. I’m sure many jokes are possible here. I’ll refrain.
The arboreal tarantula species (in the trees) and ground tarantula species (not the trees) mainly inhabit the American tropics, grasslands are a possible habitat as well as deserts and forests. So, just about anywhere in the southern USA it would seem.
Ultimately, animals that should fear the larger tarantulas includes smaller birds, reptiles and snakes – no humans. Another heartening fact is the female species of the spider can go for years without ever eating, so no worries about taking a chunk out of a finger tip! Didn’t bother this youngster, though. And, with scary spiders all over the world, maybe we should just relax and deal with it.
Here’s a great video from National Geographic: