Arachnophobians worst nightmare – the Tarantula..! Fear not, despite their size and fearsome appearance, they pose no real threat to people. Tarantulas are venomous and actually do inject a mild form of venom into their prey but rarely bite people. If threatened, they will often raise their front two pairs of legs and make a hissing sound. If handled, their bristly hairs, (urticating hairs) can be rubbed off and cause an itching or skin irritation.
Most tarantulas we come across are 3 to 4 inches in length and about the width of a man’s fist. Females tend to be a lighter brown or ‘blonde’ color with males being darker brown to almost black. Females can live up to 20+ years with males living up to 10 years. Most are fairly docile and only want to be left alone. They succumb easily to common pesticides so when we will often ‘rescue and relocate’ them to a more remote desert location.
Tarantulas are burrowers and will line the walls of their burrow with a silky web to reinforce the walls of the burrow. They are very sensitive to vibrations and when alerted will ambush their prey (other insects, lizards, mice, etc.) paralyze it with the venom injected by their fangs. Digestive enzymes injected by the fangs liquefy the body of the prey which is then sucked up through the tarantula’s stray-like mouths.
On the other hand, a number of desert wildlife have tarantulas on their menu. Coyotes, snakes, scorpions, birds and the amazing hawk wasp that if successful in paralyzing the tarantula buries it and uses it as an incubator and nursery for its own egg.
These ‘creatures’ are really amazing desert dwellers. If found around your home, they are best left alone as they will eventually move on and probably not be seen again. If you do come across one and want it gone feel free to contact us and we’ll capture and relocate it.