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What Is a Tarantula?

Learn what a tarantula is from Jungle Bob in this Howcast video.


Tarantulas are members of the arachnid family. A lot of times people call them bugs, which might be a good nickname for them. But they're certainly not insects. Insects are six legged creatures that have three body parts. Arachnids are eight legged creatures that have two body parts, so they are completely different.

In the arachnid family, the cousins of tarantulas are their spider cousins, that's the closest. But there's also scorpions. There's also ticks, solifugaes, animals of that nature are all arachnids. So there's what a tarantula really is.

Tarantulas are big, hairy spiders. They're the largest in this group. And there's really not one tarantula that's deadly to people. Yet old James Bond movies up to present day, I see people talking about tarantulas killing people. That old James Bond flick cracks me up because James Bond was sleeping and they put the tarantula in the room. And of course it went over to him and crawled in between the sheets. And Sean Connery, being as tough as he was, rolled over, got out his handgun and shot the thing six times because he was in such danger. Really, all he had to do was swat it. It was an exoskeleton animal that would have broke with a simple tap on top of its abdomen. But, that's the movies. That's Hollywood.

Tarantulas, there's so many different species of them we're not going to have time to get into that. And I don't want to get too much into the Latin names here. For the most part, tarantulas are creatures that love warm conditions, warm areas of the planet. You find them in deserts. Like the Palomino Blond here, that's one of the creatures you'll see in a dry desert environment. You'll find them in temperate areas like the Chilean Rose Hair, which is in forested environment. And you'll find them in rain forests. Many tarantulas are in high humid rain forests like the Goliath Bird Eater.

Second different place you'll see them, other than the type of environment, is where in the environment. Huge number of tarantulas are terrestrial. You don't see tarantulas spinning webs up in the air like you do spiders in your backward. They spin their webs pretty much on the ground. And because they're so heavy bodied, stay on the ground. Doesn't mean they can't climb. It means their environment is terrestrial on the ground.

The other type we have in the tank over here, I'm not sure if you can see him, is the Pink Toe tarantula. And there's many species that are arboreal and are strictly inhabit the area in trees. Arboreal tarantulas.

So they're either in a moist habitat. They're in a dry habitat. They're way up in the air in a canopy in a dry arboreal fashion or they're terrestrial in nature, being on the ground.

These are the things you have to know before you buy a tarantula so you know how to keep it properly.

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