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Facts About Tarantulas For Kids

The best way to escape the drudgery of routine life is to learn about the extraordinary lives of animals. And when it comes to learning about animals, what better place to start than with tarantulas?

Tarantulas are not only fascinating but are surprisingly diverse, too! We hope you enjoy learning more about them.

  • There are more than 800 species in the family Theraphosidae, which spans 11 genera. These fascinating spiders can be found in many parts of the world, including Australia and North and South America. Some live as burrowing ground-dwellers and others live as wandering hunters.
  • These spiders are the main source of venom in Costa Rica and Belize. Tarantulas, which can grow up to eight inches long, are covered in hair and have large fangs. They jump easily, and their bite is one of the most toxic in the world.
  • The Brazilian wandering Tarantula is a large species that can weigh up to a quarter pound. Like many other species of this type it lives alone in a burrow by day and comes out at night to hunt for food. By morning it retreats into its burrow to hide from direct sunlight, which is also when it molts its skin.
  • The Chilean Rose Tarantula is another impressive species that has blue-colored hairs. It lives in the scrublands of South America where it feeds on crickets, grasshoppers, and flies. And although chicks are born with the ability to hunt, they stay with their mother for one year before moving out on their own.
  • The Goliath Bird-eating Tarantula captures prey by using its front legs while its back legs anchor it to the ground. It will often retreat into its burrow when disturbed but will attack if it senses danger or feels threatened. Large enough to consume small birds, this species feeds primarily on insects and other invertebrates.
  • Tarantulas are long-lived animals that may live for decades. Females usually live longer than males. Males may live for six to 10 years, whereas females may live for up to 20 years. The largest specimen ever found was a male Chilean Rose Tarantula that reached 3.5 pounds, or 1.6 kilograms!
  • Like many other animals, tarantulas grow and shrink with the seasons. For example, males will be smaller during the warmer months of the year because they’re forced out of their burrows to search for mates and mate with them. At this time they’ll also molt and shed their skin so the new feathers can be used as camouflage when it rains or snows later in the year.
  • Tarantulas have eight eyes and five legs. Their eyes give them excellent vision and help them hunt for prey at night without needing a light source. They also have long legs and special hooks on their feet that help them walk on ceilings. These spiders run very fast. They can even run upside-down along the undersides of leaves and branches. Since they live partially or completely underground, most species have a strong sense of smell that is used to investigate a potential mate.
  • Tarantulas live in burrows, which are constructed by digging with their fangs and hind legs. Burrows may be just a few inches deep or as much as 10 feet deep with multiple chambers for sleeping and protection from predators.