Haitian Tarantula

(Phormictopus cancerides)

Reptiles Alive Name: “Charlotte”

Hissstory: Charlotte was transferred to us from another wildlife education organization in 2004.

RA Diet: Charlotte eats 1 or 2 crickets every couple of days.

Natural Diet: Tarantulas will eat insects, birds, lizards, and even small mammals.

Range: Haitian brown tarantulas naturally occur in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other parts of the Caribbean.

Habitat: Haitian brown tarantulas enjoy hiding under rocks, in burrows, and under debris.

Size: Haitian brown tarantulas are big spiders – they sometimes grow 7 to 9 inches in diameter!

Lifespan: Male tarantulas may only live 18-24 months, but females can live much longer, sometimes, over 20 years.

Reproduction: Tarantulas construct a golf ball sized egg sac out of silk. The female tarantula will care for her eggs by turning the egg sac on a regular basis. One egg sac may contain over two thousand eggs.

Conservation: Tarantulas biggest threat is habitat destruction. Human fear is also a danger to tarantulas, however, tarantulas rarely harm humans. Like most wild animals, tarantulas actually fear humans, and will only bite as a defense. Most species of tarantulas have venom that is no worse than bee venom, so, most tarantulas are harmless to people.

Cool Facts: Spider silk (the stuff spiders make into webs) is stronger than steel. No, really, it’s true! Scientists have been trying for years to manufacture enough spider silk to make items such as clothing, bullet proof vests and even cable to build bridges! But maybe someday you could be wearing spider clothes while driving over a spider bridge!

“One child saw a neighbor at the grocery store and couldn’t wait to tell her all about the show. It was well worth the money!” – Laura Rhodes, Parent