Creatures of the Amazon
Tarantulas
By Mike Collis

When dinosaurs ruled the Earth spiders weaved their lives beneath them. When the dinosaurs became extinct spiders adapted and are still living with us today. Their only real enemy and threat to their existence is Man.

In the Amazon the 3 most common Tarantulas are The Pink Toe Tarantula, the Red Tarantula and The black Tarantula. They all belong to the family group theraphosidae.

The most common tarantula in the Amazon is the Pink-Toe Tarantula. These spiders love the humidity of the rainforest. The Pink-Toe is very docile which makes them ideal as pets. They have comparatively shorter lives than other tarantulas, females up to 9 years and males up to 3. (Other Tarantulas can live longer, with females living up to 30 years, males usually die after mating.) As their name implies it has a pink colour at the base of its legs, but the main body is considerably darker.

The Black Tarantula, is a slow mover and is a lot more docile than its Pink-Toed cousin and they too make ideal pets.

The Red Tarantula is really the bad-tempered cousin and is larger than the others, but they are also considerably rarer and extremely aggressive. Red hairs cover their body (hence its name).

The Tarantulas are the biggest spiders on Earth, the biggest being found in the Amazon rainforest. All Tarantulas are hairy and come in various colours. The "Big Daddy" of all Tarantulas is Pseudotherathosa apophysis which can have a leg span of up to 13 inches.

These spiders have an external skeleton (exoskeleton) which means their skeleton is on the outside of their body rather than inside. The hairs on the body and legs of the Tarantula are very sensitive to temperature and smell. On each of their feet are 2 tiny claws which are very much like cat's claws, with a sort of shock absorber behind them.

Most Amazon Tarantulas are "urticating" meaning they have barbed hairs on their bodies which can penetrate tissue causing infection and at least irritation.

Tareantulas dissolve the flesh of its victims by injecting venom using their fangs. After the flesh is dissolved the Tarantula sucks it up like a tasty soup. They have powerful jaws and can soon crush its prey. Ambush is the main tactic for catching prey, they just lie in wait until its victim comes along. Tarantulas live anywhere they can, underground, in the trees or on the ground. All Tarantulas are carnivorous, they like meat, but will catch and eat other spiders, insects even miilepedes, birds, small snakes, lizards and frogs.

Tarantulas are not a threat to humans and there has never been a single death attributed to a tarantula bite. Humans are a far greater threat to these docile 8 legged creatures with their ever increasing hunger for more space.
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