Your email address will not be published. The main defense a tarantula has against predators is to use its back legs to fling hairs from its belly at the attacker.

Male and female tarantulas are about the same size and color (varying by subspecies; typically dark brown to nearly black), and both genders are conspicuously large. The female tarantulas, on the other hand, live this selective lifestyle, in a home of their choice, selecting mates of their choice, for up to 20 years. They eat many kinds of large insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, June beetles, cicadas, millipedes, caterpillars, and other spiders. This means environmental conditions here are less optimal for the spiders than in locations to the south. Western North American Naturalist, Vol 43, No 3, Hendrixson, Brett. (Some of them can cover 50 miles in their lusty trek.) Also, like many desert animals, spending time underground allows them to survive the heat of a desert summer and the cold of winter. Most die long before they get the chance to mature, but a few survive to perpetuate the species. Since his wife didn't want the spider, we kept it, and have very much enjoyed having it in our home. For a number of reasons few people actually see the tarantulas in the Utah wilds. Tarantulas are the largest spiders in the southwest, and one of Zion’s most misunderstood inhabitants. I reached into my camera backpack, grabbed my Nikon D810 that has a 18-200mm VR lens attached to it, turned it on and hopped out of my Jeep. Like all spiders, desert tarantulas are invertebrates that rely on an exoskeleton for muscular support. It is very informative and concisely written. Now I know why. (435) 772-3256 The Goliath Birdeater (Theraphosa blondi), a tarantula that lives in Venezuela and Brazil, is the world's largest spider. Tarantulas are rarely seen in Zion—they are nocturnal and spend most of their time in underground burrows--but sightings are most common on park roads in late summer and fall, when the males are out cruising for females.

“About Tarantulas” Desert USA [Accessed July 22, 2010],,,, Do not download, display, PIN, print, hotlink, reproduce or use my images without my permission. If there are any males left wandering about at this time, they are doomed to perish from the near freezing temperatures. And then sat down low on the road to take a few from a much lower perspective.

Many are run over on roads, or eaten by predators en route.

How poisonous are they? The main function of these hairs (called setae) is to help the spider, which has very poor eyesight, sense the presence of prey, determine wind direction, identify chemical signatures (such as pheremones), and assess other vital elements of its environment. While I don't usually want to bring the outdoors into my house, this spider had behaved very well for several weeks with my uncle taking it to work, and his kids taking it to school. Spiders and tarantulas are not insects, but more closely related to Crustaceans, like crayfish. A parasitic wasp called the tarantula hawk also poses a significant hazard to the big spiders. I am super impressed (again) at your eyesight. It reportedly can weigh as much as 5.3 ounces and has a leg-span of up to 12 inches. A spider unfortunate enough to be chosen as a paralyzed host for this insect's single egg gets eaten alive, from the inside out, after the egg hatches into a voraciously hungry grub.

Having remained reasonably abundant throughout their range, tarantulas are by no means endangered. And like most wildlife, they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. When the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae have a ready-made meal. So it follows that driving along roads is where you’re most likely to see them. As ambush predators, tarantulas lie motionless at the burrow entrance, waiting for an unsuspecting cricket, centipede or even a mouse to wander by. Desert Tarantulas create webbed burrows and they often obstruct the entrance to their burrows with a silken or silk and dirt plug to protect against heat and predators. As of this writing, in October, folks in southern Nevada are seeing a lot of them. They do have predators, too – there is an insect that preys on the tarantula – a wasp called the tarantula hawk.

The spot where I wanted to park, eat my breakfast muffins and wait for birds to come in was occupied so I thought I’d head south and check out a few more canyons and I am glad that I did. Here at the Nature Center, we have an 8 legged staff member named Harrietta. She is a beautiful Chilean Rose Tarantula.

Desert Tarantulas are found in the deserts of California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. State Route 9 I have several of these fascinating critters in my native plant landscaped yard in El Paso Texas. They grow to between 4”-6” in size and males can live up to 10 years, while females can live as long as nearly 20 years. Well, no, not just to get to the other side. Parker, AZ and 29 Palms, CA that was so long a lot of cars stopped to watch. So if you get to witness this phenomenon, grab a camera. Desert Tarantulas are long lived spiders and they don’t reach sexual maturity until they are 8 to 12 years old. I witnessed my first tarantula migration in Zion National Park around Labor Day. Despite its fearsome appearance, this fascinating arachnid is docile, reclusive, and nearly harmless. More recently (1990), Arachnophobia had killer tarantulas terrorizing a California town. I only took 54 images of the Desert Tarantula before I grabbed a stick that was near me, dangled it in front of the spider which caused him to grab it and I moved him safely off to the side of the road in the direction he was traveling before I hopped into my Jeep, turned on the motor and started moving up the road when a pickup hauling a horse trailer appeared in my rear view mirror. Females can live up to 25 years. They’ve been found in the Mojave region in southwestern Utah as well as in the Great Basin. Sadly, we also noted at least half a dozen killed crossing the road. They then subdue it using two large fangs, which inject a venom that liquefies the inside of the prey’s body. Larger tarantulas will also eat frogs, toads, fish, lizards, bats, and even small rodents and snakes. A couple of years ago I saw tarantula under a dock on the wilderness stretch of the AuSable River near Roscommon, Michigan.

If they escape being eaten by their mate, as well as predators and the cold, the males may go on for a few more years. My son thinks it's the coolest thing ever and even did his science fair project on the spider. Hi Mark, Tarantula Diet . I hope you enjoy viewing my Desert Tarantula photos. Its preferred habitat is dry, well-drained soils in open areas throughout the desert and grassland areas, including  Joshua tree forest and creosote bush scrub. The desert tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes) -- aka western desert tarantula, Arizona blond tarantula or Mexican blond tarantula -- is one of about 50 species of terrestrial tarantulas native to the southwestern and central United States. During the day, they keep to their burrows or other sheltered sites to avoid the heat (in the summer). Some awed observers have been moved to exclaim that a tarantula looks "as big as a dinner plate." I couldn’t quite get eye level with the spider without laying down in the dirt and gravel and the rumbling of the vehicle coming up the road was growing louder, I knew I had to move fast. There is some habitat loss due to development, of course, and some tarantulas (usually breeding age males) are killed crossing roads. After hatching, the spiderlings (commonly numbering about 600) remain in the nest only a few days before dispersing. Within this limited range it is actually very common, especially in open shrublands and sparse grasslands with dry, sandy, well-drained soils. Hairs that you deeply inhale may cause even more serious lung problems. Paradoxical as it may seem, the tarantula's hairs may very well pose a greater hazard than its venom. American Tarantula Society Headquarters. Your best chance to see a tarantula is in the fall. Desert Tarantulas create webbed burrows and they often obstruct the entrance to their burrows with a silken or silk and dirt Females can live 20 years or more, and produce 500 to 1000 young at each mating. Courtesy & Copyright 2013 Lauren Fowler There was a tarantula outbreak at a water plant where I worked. The name was borrowed and applied to some of the large spiders that Europeans encountered in the New World. by | | Discover Southern Nevada | 14 comments. If you do see a tarantula during your park visit, consider yourself lucky! Tarantulas live all over the united states, not just desert. In spite of their fearsome appearance, tarantulas are harmless to humans and large pets (e.g., dogs and cats). In winter, they will enter torpor, similar to hibernation, but it allows them to come out and hunt when it’s warm. The main defense a tarantula has against predators is to use its back legs to fling hairs from its belly at the attacker. These species include Black Widow, Brown Recluse / Desert Recluse, Hobo spider, Wolf spider, Yellow Sac, and the Huntsman spider.