Tarantulas may be big, hairy spiders, but they have some physiological features that truly set them apart from other arachnids. Unlike most spiders, tarantulas are fairly non-aggressive towards humans, although they are natural born killers when it comes to other insects, mice, birds, and frogs. Below we’ll discuss five interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about tarantula’s physiological makeup.
Tarantulas Can Grow Up to 10 Inches
Tarantulas are some of the world’s largest, with some species growing up to 10 inches at full leg span, or approximately the size of a dinner plate. It’s no wonder movie directors display these fuzzy arachnids in horror flicks – can you imagine a spider the size of a dinner plate heading toward you?
Tarantulas Throw Needle-like Barbed Hairs in Self-Defense
Tarantulas rarely bite people, but if they feel threatened they will use their back legs to scrape barbed hairs from their abdomens and fling them and the so-called threat. Sound strange? It gets stranger – you’ll definitely know if you’ve been hit, as these barbed hairs tend to cause rashes. Some people suffer severe allergic reactions. Not that the tarantula gets off scott free – it ends up with a nice bald spot on its belly.
A Fall Can Kill a Tarantula
Tarantulas actually have thin skins, especially around the abdomen. A fall from even a short height can cause a fatal rupture in the spider’s exoskeleton. This is the number one reason why it’s recommended that you never handle a tarantula – it’s easy to get spooked when this large, hairy spider species is crawling on your hand, and the knee-jerk reaction is to drop it, which can result in the spider’s death.
Tarantulas Have Retractable Claws on Each Leg
Evolution didn’t leave tarantulas totally defenseless against the risk of falling – in order to provide them with a good grip, they have a retractable claw at the end of each leg to help them climb. Most tarantulas stay on the ground, but some climb up into trees or on other objects, which is when the retractable claws come in handy. In this aspect tarantulas are rather cat-like – by extending their claws, they can get a better grip on the surface they are climbing.
Tarantulas Can Regenerate Lost Legs
Tarantulas molt throughout their lives, giving them the ability to repair injured parts of their bodies. If a tarantula happens to lose a leg, a new one will grow in its place by the next time it molts. Depending on its age and how much time passes by before the tarantula’s next molt, the leg may be a bit smaller than the rest, but over time it should catch up with the rest of the spider’s body. Sometimes tarantulas eat their own severed legs in order to recycle protein.
Tarantulas have very interesting and unique physiological qualities which set them apart from other spiders. Though fairly harmless, if you’ve noticed an outbreak of tarantulas around your home, you might want to call in a pest control professional to check things out.
About the author: Chris is a professional for a ct pest control company. The movie Archanaphobia scared the daylights out of him as a kid, and although he doesn’t like spiders, they don’t freak him out anymore.