If you’ve visited Alligator Attraction you’ve likely seen our beautiful pink-toed tarantula, Henrietta. We’re often asked if we send her to the beauty salon for her gorgeous pink feet. (Okay, not really but people do think we are behind her pretty toes).
She is naturally what is referred to as a pink toe tarantula, so named because she looks like she just got back from a pedi.
There are a lot of other interesting things about tarantulas that you might not know such as…
11 Cool (But Hard to Believe) Facts About Tarantulas
- Pink toe tarantulas are from South America and they spend most of their time in trees in the Amazon. When you hear about the Amazon getting cut down or burned, know that the pink toe tarantula is one of the species that would be affected.
- Female tarantulas can live over 30 years in the wild.
- Tarantulas aren’t all about the bite. When they’re threatened, these creatures will pull hairy barbs off their abdomen and hurl them at their attackers. While that doesn’t sound like much of a threat, the barbs can cause a nasty rash. Some people can even have a strong allergic reaction to them.
- The bite isn’t as deadly as you may think. The venom from a tarantula bite effects an adult human on the same level as a bee sting. It may hurt a little and cause you to drop the spider (please don’t do that) but it’s rarely associated with human death.
- Tarantulas don’t use a web to catch their food. They use the “ little brother” method where they sneak up on their prey and then pounce on them. Tarantulas are active hunters not passive “waiters” like most arachnids.
- Tarantulas can get big. While they won’t get the size of a sci-fi movie arachnid, the largest tarantulas have been measured to have a leg span of 10 inches. If you want a visual, imagine a spider the size of a dinner plate. Now imagine it falling out of a tree two feet in front of you. (Okay, don’t do that.)
- Tarantulas are delicate. A fall from even a short distance can do great damage to a tarantula. While they are generally calm creatures, they can get easily spooked. Extreme care must be taken when holding a tarantula; more for its benefit than yours.
- Tarantulas are preppers and decorators. Tarantulas do not live in webs like a lot of spiders do. They prefer burrows in the ground. A female tarantula uses her silk to decorate/reinforce the walls of her burrow while a male tarantula will spin a “welcome mat” silk to alert him if anyone comes for a visit. If only we could do that with door-to-door salespeople!
- Tarantulas molt. Although they look like big fuzzy softies, the fur on their body does cover a delicate exoskeleton. Unlike our bones, an exoskeleton does not grow as the creature does. Because of this, the spider has to shed its exoskeleton when it’s growing.
- Tarantulas can regenerate legs. Because they molt, tarantulas can also regenerate a leg if they lose one. The leg will automatically appear the next time the animal molts. The leg may not be as long as the others it already has, but after it molts a couple of times the leg will eventually be the same length as the others. So if you ever see a tarantula with one leg shorter than all the rest, you know it likely had some sort of an accident.
- Tarantulas don’t like to waste protein. If a tarantula’s leg is severed by something other than a predator and it’s there in front of them, they will often eat it. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why they eat their own legs but it’s believed it’s their way of recycling the protein. A tarantula won’t eat its own leg while it’s attached to them but if they have an unfortunate accident they don’t want to waste it. It’s bad to waste, right?
How many of these facts were news to you? Are you a tarantula expert now? Share these facts with your friends and see if they believe you.
Tarantulas are pretty cool. Come see our darling Henrietta. We’re pretty sure you’ll love her just like we do.
After all, who can resist those pretty pink toes?