Creepy crawlies – the Tarantula
Have you spotted a tarantula? Do not get panicked, they are more scared of us due to the danger we and our brooms pose them!
It was the 24th of March, 2019 around afternoon. I received a call from a local informer belonging to a village near Katwa, Burdwan that an unknown spider had been found in the premises of a resident. It took me 15min to pack up and start for the destination. It was almost evening by the time I arrived at the scene. I rushed to the place pointed by my informer and was surprised to find a male Tarantula. During our rescue of the arachnid, we discovered it to be injured due to being hit by people in their panic and dehydrated. We gave it some water to rejuvenate the poor battered creature, made some observations on it’s general health, and finally released it in a shady bush away from human settlement. Tarantulas prefer areas where there are soft loamy humus-rich soil, or dry grasslands, where they spend their life eating large insects..
Tarantula (Chilobrachys sp, Family-Theraposidae) is a shy arachnid, who have been portrayed in the role of a villain in social media and main media propaganda, resulting in this spider’s fate of being hit by a broom immediately upon being noticed near human habitat! Their venom has a low toxicity for humans. Some of the tarantula species are endangered due to habitat destruction.
Tarantulas are different from other spiders Tarantulas are very hairy spiders. They have a thick Roman pad at the end of their feet, just like a cat, and for this they are called cat legged spiders. Their spinnerets (organs) are very long compared to other spiders. Their mouthpiece contains many black dots, these points are used to crush the food, in scientific terms these points are called Caspils. They have eight white eyes together and they can handle their poison fangs up and down.
Tarantula is found almost throughout the world (USA, Central America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia). They live in a variety of environments, such as mountainous regions, perennial forests, rainforests, and desert, and even around human habitat! Tarantula lives in silence. The bush is not their place of choice but rather, they prefer to hide in rock holes, old wall cracks, brick-built pile, stone floor, pond. It is important to have a little moisture in their habitat.
Tarantulas are nocturnal species and thus are not easy to spot in daylight. Normally seen up and about between March to July, tarantulas are more easily visible during the months after summer and before monsoon, since it is mating season for the tarantula. The male tarantula comes out at night to find a female partner. The queen Tarantula, spends most of her life in the hole. The female tarantula eats the male tarantula after sexual congress. Tarantula’s lifetime can be up to 15-25 years, which is a long life expectancy for an arachnid. They eat cricket, caterpillar, other spiders, lizard, snake, frog, rats and bats etc. According to many scientists, some species of tarantula can survive without eating for almost two years.