Tarantulas: Theraposa aka Birdeaters
SCIENTIFIC NAMES OF A FEW:
Theraphosa blondi - Goliath Birdeater (thumbnail image)
Theraposa Stirmi - Burgundy Goliath Birdeater
Theraposa Apophsis - Goliath Pinkfoot Birdeater (sling pictured above)
AVERAGE LIFE SPAN: Females, 20 years; males, 3 to 6 years
SIZE: Leg span up to 12 inches
WEIGHT: Up to 6 ounces
ABOUT THE THERAPOSA GENUS:
Weighing up to six ounces and with a leg span of nearly a foot, this tarantula is the largest arachnid on the planet. Normally they do not eat birds, but certainly have the ability to. The name came from an 18th century etching that depicted a similar tarantula eating a humming bird, giving the Theraposa genus the moniker of Birdeater.
While most in captivity eat a mix of crickets, roaches, super worms or even pinkies in their natural home within the Amazon they will eat frogs, rodents, small lizards or even other smaller tarantulas. Once the Birdeater has taken down its prey with its inch long fangs it will take it back to its burrow to eat in safety as spiders liquefy their prey's insides and suck it dry. Be sure to take out any leftovers from your tarantulas meal as these can cause mold or bugs to propagate in the enclosure.
Birdeaters do not have great eyesight and rely on their leg hairs to feel vibration or other goings on around them. Not only do they use them for sensing whats around but for defense. These hairs are like tiny missiles, when they rub their abdomen they release into the air getting onto the skin and into the eyes of any nearby predators. If they are presenting this behavior while you are near them it is best you leave them alone. After they molt if you handle the molt be sure to wash your hands very well as these hairs will dislodge and can cause irritation.
The Goliath bird-eating tarantula lives in the rainforest regions of northern South America, including Venezuela, northern Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname. Like many other tarantulas these use their webs to line their burrows or hides. You will not usually see a large web like an orb weaver as these usually hunt on the forest floor lying in wait for their pray. These are native to the Amazon and prefer humidity and a place to hide. Because of their size if kept in captivity it is best to have a large enclosure, if they do not have enough space they will begin to try to destroy the enclosure and escape.