5 Fun Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Tarantulas

Photo by Philipp Lansing on Unsplash

Tarantulas are one of the most fascinating spider species on the planet, but most people avoid them at all costs. If you’re able to look past their scary appearance, you’ll come to appreciate these furry creatures—especially after learning these five interesting facts.

Not Too Dangerous

Tarantulas seem pretty monstrous, but they actually pose very little danger to humans. Their venom is usually harmless, but it can trigger allergic reactions in some people, while the bite itself can cause pain and swelling.

Name Origin

The name “tarantula” was first given to a wolf spider “lycosa tarantula” which didn’t even belong to the Theraphosidae family. It was named after the Italian city of Taranto, after a dancing epidemic known as tarantism took hold of southern Italy, believed to be caused by spider bites.

Using Silk

Tarantulas produce silk, but the way they use it sets them apart from most other spider species. They usually use their silk to line their burrows, instead of catching prey in their webs, in addition to using it during mating and molting.

Hairy Spiders

In addition to being larger than most other spider species, tarantulas are also often hairy. Their “hair” is mostly made of chitin, but New World tarantulas usually have urticating hairs, which they use as a defense against predators.

Long Lifespans

If you’re thinking of getting a tarantula as a pet, you won’t be able to get rid of it so easily. Their lifespan depends on its gender and species, with some female tarantulas living up to 30 years in captivity.