Tarantulas are large, hairy spiders belonging to the family Theraphosidae. They are renowned for their size and striking appearance. Typically, tarantulas can be anywhere from 2.5 to 10 cm (1 to 4 inches) in body length, with leg spans that can reach up to 30 cm (12 inches) in some species. Their colours range from earthy browns and blacks to more vibrant shades of blue, red, and green, depending on the species.

Tarantulas possess eight legs, which are covered in sensitive hairs that help them detect vibrations in their environment. These spiders also have two main body segments: the cephalothorax and the abdomen. Their large fangs are used to inject venom into their prey, which primarily consists of insects, although larger tarantulas may also prey on small birds, lizards, and rodents.

Fun Fact about Tarantulas

A fascinating fact about tarantulas is their unique defense mechanism involving their hairs, known as urticating hairs. When threatened, New World tarantulas (those found in the Americas) can use their back legs to flick these tiny, barbed hairs from their abdomen at predators. These hairs can cause irritation and discomfort, deterring potential threats. This defence strategy is especially interesting because it is a non-venomous form of protection that targets a predator’s sensory organs, such as eyes or skin, making it highly effective despite the spider’s venomous capabilities.

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