Critter Corner - Missouri
DID YOU KNOW:
Tarantulas must shed their
skin to grow. They molt many times throughout their lives.
Tarantulas are ambush
hunters. the spider sit at the entrance of its burrow and
waits for a juicy insect. The tarantula
the prey and the large fangs pierce the insect's body. The
hollow fangs squirt digestive juices into the insect, causing
the inside to turn to soup. Then the fangs work like
straws to suck the delicious meal.
Mating is dangerous for the
male tarantula. He is sometimes eaten by the female.
Mom tarantula lays her egg mass in a silk-lined hollow on the
bottom of her burrow. She cares for the eggs, which are
about the size of a pinhead. Some tarantulas lay more than
Missouri tarantulas prefer
habitats that are dry and rocky with natural cavities.
Tarantulas spend the day in silk-lined tunnels, avoiding the
heat of the sun and predators.
Tarantulas are invertebrates,
which means they have no bones.
they have an exoskeleton (on the outside of the body) that is
strong, light and waterproof and provides defense against
enemies. The hairs on the spider's abdomen can be kicked
off with the back legs when the tarantula feels threatened.
These hairs are like tiny daggers that irritate the eyes of a
The name tarantula comes
from Taranto, a city in Italy, where once a popular dance
called the Tarantella was thought to cure the effects of a
Female tarantulas can
live 20 years, while males usually live just 10 years.
(Photo credits: Large portrait
of tarantula, University of Arkansas; Tarantula on Wood,
Missouri Department of Conservation; Tarantula on grass,
Arkansas Tarantula Survey, photo by John Pelton)