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What do tarantulas look like?

tarantula in tucson az

Tarantulas are reddish-brown to dark brown or black hairy spiders with eight legs, two body parts, and eight eyes set close together. They also have bald abdomens, two large fangs under their abdomens and urticating hairs This type of arachnid is approximately 1 to 5 inches in length.

Life cycle of the tarantula

Gradual metamorphosis

Males become sexually mature after several years. They are attracted to females by a scent she leaves on the web surrounding her burrow. Males will perform a courtship dance to attract the female, mating will occur, then the males die a few months later. Females lay eggs in a cocoon within her burrow and she guards the cocoon for 6-9 weeks until 500-1,000 spiderlings hatch. 2-3 weeks later young will leave the burrow. Female stores sperm and will continue fertilization the remainder of her 25 year life span.

Habits of tarantulas

  • Diet: Feed on insects, small spiders and small lizards by secreting juices with their fangs.
  • Activity: Nocturnal
  • Preferred Climate: Dry, Arid Enviroment
  • Defense: Make a hissing sound by rubbing their jaws, front legs or palps against each other. Urticating hairs. Faint webbing around perimeter of burrow.
  • Cautions: Tarantulas are not a threat to humans, tarantulas rarely bite or kick off hairs in defense. Clean bites with soap and water, and remove hairs with tape.
  • Home Invasion: Burrows may be spotted when walking around the perimeter of a home. Tarantulas may occasionally enter a structure in search of food, but can be removed and relocated.

Are tarantulas dangerous?

Tarantulas will try to bite you if you mess with them but are not considered a threat to humans. 

Where do tarantulas nest?

Tarantulas are often found in dark corners of storage closets and cabinets, spaces behind furniture, in crawl spaces, and inside utility boxes. 

Helpful hints for tarantulas

Here are  few of our tarantula prevention tips:

  • Seal cracks and crevices
  • Reduce or shut off outdoor lighting 
  • Keep doors (including garage doors) shut 
  • Make sure window screens are free of tears and holes
  • Have a home pest control plan in place

Interesting facts about tarantulas

There are over 800 species of tarantulas worldwide including the largest spider known: the South American Goliath Bird Eating Spider reaches a body length with legs of up to 12 inches.

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