name tarantula originated in southern Italy where the bite
of a large black spider was thought to cause Tarantism - a
pair of tarantulas can produce as many as 300 young at a time.
are about 800 species of Tarantulas world wide and they come
from places such as North, Central and South America, Africa
and the Middle East.
- Strictly speaking, all members of the spider family Theraphosidae are called tarantulas. Australia has native Theraphosids that occur all the way from North Queensland to Victoria as well as in central Australia. In Australia these spiders are not called tarantulas. They are called names - such as whistling, barking and bird-eating spiders.
hairy coats and sensitive feet help them detect the movement
disturbed, a tarantula may vigorously brush hairs from its
abdomen - they float through the air and irritate the skin
- deterring most would-be predators.
spend most of the day resting in dark burrows or under logs
eat insects, frogs, lizards and mice which they catch mostly
may go without food for several months.
tarantulas have venom, although for the most it is not life-threatening
- Although they are kept as pets in some other countries, it is illegal to have overseas species of tarantulas as pets in Australia. A number of the overseas tarantulas are on the CITES list which is a world-wide protection and conservation listing of endangered species. Australia is a signatory to the CITES list and under these laws it is even illegal to import dead specimens of these species. Check before you purchase any overseas spiders as you may lose them and get fined! (Australian species are available from some pet suppliers.)