Creature Feature: Mexican Blood Leg Tarantula

Mexican Blood Leg Tarantula

Aphonopelma bicolouratum

Reptiles Alive Name: “Chewbacca”

Hissstory:
 Chewie was one of 8 tarantulas, one scorpion, and one savannah monitor lizard that were rescued from a house fire by Fairfax County Animal Control in April of 2006.  Due to zoning laws, the owner was not allowed to have his animals returned to him, so we were given custody of all of the rescued animals.

RA Diet:
 Chewie’s favorite food are crickets.

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

Range: Mexican blood leg tarantulas are native to Mexico and South Texas.

Habitat: Blood leg tarantulas are found in deserts where they spend most of their time hiding in burrows.

Size:
 Blood legs are a relatively small tarantula, growing to about 3 1/2 to 5 inches

Lifespan:
 Female tarantulas can live over 30 years – males do not live nearly as long.

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 form a vital part of the desert’s food web.   They control insect populations by eating them, and then, tarantulas are eaten by other animals such as lizards, birds, and mammals.

Cool Facts: Tarantulas rarely harm humans. They prefer to use the itchy hairs on their abdomen to irritate any animal that bothers them. The venom from tarantulas found in North America is not any more dangerous to people than bee venom.  The best thing to do whenever you see an animal is to just leave it alone.