Well on closer inspection of the intricacies and details it is kind of hard to call this guy a beast. We found this 6 inch diameter creature on our evening walk and just had to bring him to put him under some lights for a proper portrait. I usually see them sort of ambling along, which he was doing until I went to catch him. It could be a close race between the tarantula and the horny toad. They both do the same “serpentine Shell serpentine” type move looking for cover.
I love the tiny eyes and the red highlights to the hairs. In the close up he looks to have 10 legs, but are in reality the two chelicerae. The chelicerae contain the venom glands that vent through the fangs. The fangs are hollow extensions of the chelicerae that inject venom into prey or animals that the tarantula bites in defense, and they are also used to masticate. These fangs are articulated so that they can extend downward and outward in preparation to bite or can fold back toward the chelicerae as a pocket knife blade folds back into its handle. The chelicerae of a tarantula completely contain the venom glands and the muscles that surround them, and can cause the venom to be forcefully injected into prey.
He never moved into a defensive position and we got him home safety. No animal was harmed in the production of this blog and he was returned to the wild to run free
Now, for more than we all really need to know about the Tarantula:
Tarantulas are very sensitive to vibrations in the ground that may indicate the presence of prey or danger. They are equipped with urticating hairs on their abdomen which can be released by kicking with the back legs; these hairs irritate the nose and eyes of would-be attackers.
Tarantulas live in dry, well-drained soils in open areas throughout the desert and grassland areas. All North American tarantulas are ground-dwellers although some other species live in trees, cliffs, caves, or in crops like bananas and pineapples.
Tarantulas occur worldwide. Those in North America occur in the southern and southwestern states, with many other species occurring to the south throughout Mexico, Central and South America.
Some tarantula species are endangered because of habitat destruction and over-collection for the pet trade. Our local species is common and is not currently threatened.
Tarantulas are nocturnal hunters. They feed primarily on insects like grasshoppers, beetles, other small spiders and arthropods, and will sometimes eat small lizards. They will attempt to overcome anything of the right size that moves in their range. Most tarantulas have weak venom.
Predators of tarantulas include lizards, snakes, spider-eating birds, coyotes and foxes.
The desert tarantula lives in a deep burrow which is lined with silk webbing to prevent its caving in. The hole is enlarged as the spider grows. If suitable soil is not available an occasional individual may hide in cracks or logs.
Male tarantulas live 10 to 12 years. Females can live twice as long.
In the Sonoran Desert, tarantulas grow to a length of 3 to 4 inches (70-100 mm).
- The Tarantula Hawk, a large spider wasp, searches out tarantulas and attempts to sting them. If successful, the sting paralyzes the spider. The wasp will then lay an egg on it, and seals it up in a burrow. The paralyzed spider provides “fresh meat” for the wasp grub to eat after it hatches from the egg.
- Most spiders have no teeth with which to chew their food, so they rely on their venom to liquefy their prey. They then use their sucking stomachs to draw in or ‘suck” up the meal.
You may encounter something today that holds a fear or a doubt, look it in the eye and find the beauty that rest in all of God’s creations. ††† en theos ††† jim