Biome: Great Southwest
Biography: While the tarantula is a fearsome looking spider and it can inflict a painful bite, the bite of our North American species is not really dangerous. Tarantulas can go for a long period of time without food and water - a useful ability during desert droughts. Large beetles are its favorite food, although it will eat other insects and even small snakes, lizards, toads and mice. It takes about 10 years for tarantulas to come to maturity. The female lays 100 - 1,000 or more eggs in her silk lined burrow and watches over them until they hatch. Depending on the species, females may live 20 years or more.
If you spot a bald area on the top of their abdomen, this is due to a self-defense mechanism. When annoyed, tarantulas rub and fling off their hairs which are very itchy and irritating to nasal membranes. The bald spot lasts until a subsequent molt.