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Tarantula: Australias King of Spiders

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Tarantula documentary. The Tarantula is a large and hairy arachnid which is a part of the Theraphosidae spider family. This one of the most varied species on the planet since there are 900 known variants of it with scientists predicting more to be out there, somewhere. Contrary to common belief most Tarantula species are not dangerous to humans at all, the main reason for fearing the spiders is most probably because of how they have been portrayed in films and of course the way in which they look. However there are a few species of Tarantula that you most certainly would want to avoid at all costs.

 

This spider documentary focuses on Tarantula species in Australia, many of which are highly venomous and very short tempered; much the opposite of what they are like in North America. One of the most notable species in this Tarantula documentary is the Sydney funnel-web spider (Atrax robustus),a spider you really don’t want a suprise encounter with because of it’s extreme venom for which an anti-venom was only created in the 1980’s. This was an important development for people living in the Sydney area because one bite would lead to serious injury and possibly death.

 

Fortunately most Tarantula do not use venom for defence, they throw barbed Urticating hairs from their abdomen when they feel threatened which are designed to embed into the skin of the perceived threat and cause irritation. Irritating, but certainly not deadly, so long as you wearing eye protection when handing a tarantula since the hairs can actually penetrate the cornea of the eye. The poisonous Tarantula of Australia do not have Urticating hairs since the venom is more than a sufficient defence and hunting mechanism as we see in this Tarantula documentary.  The “old-world” Tarantulas are more likely to go for a straight up attack if they feel just the slightest of a threat a result; no warnings, no second chances.

 

Despite a bite from a poisonous old-world tarantula being brutal, there have in fact been no official reports of a death as the direct result of a bite.

 

Tarantula facts:

  • Been around for millions of years
  • Can be found in Australia, South and Central America, in Africa and in the southern part of North America
  • Most live in underground burrows
  • Almost all are nighttime hunters
  • Most Tarantula live on a diet of beetles, grasshoppers and various other insects, apart from the Goliath Bird Eating spiders which eats lizards, snakes, small birds and bats.
  • Tarantula are hunted by Skunks, snakes and Hawks

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