Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image A western desert tarantula walks across a cemented pathway trying to avoid the falling rain. This spider was smaller than the average hand, and was allowed on its way unharmed.

September 19, 2013
Tarantula bites are hardly ever serious

Hunting within the night and living most of their lives inside underground burrows, the tarantulas of North America are exceptionally hard to spot, but can occasionally be seen out in the open during the cool evenings of fall. Coming from the family of Theraphosidae, “large tropical spiders,” tarantulas are closely related to another family of spiders called “hairy mygalomorphs.” This species in particular is believed to have been around for millions of years.

Depending on the species, tarantulas can differ in appetites, sizes, and colors. Regardless of the species, though, a lot of them share the same abilities and behaviors. For example, all tarantulas have a venomous bite, produce silk, but do not build webs and contain the main colors of black and brown. If you are bitten, rest assured most tarantula venom is hardly ever serious. The pain is quite similar to that of a bee sting with slight swelling with mild to moderate pain. Though better safe than sorry, it’s best to get it checked out anyway.

Some interesting facts, most tarantula species dine on insects, although others are known to devour rodents, birds, and even bats. Some tarantulas that live in cave-dwelled areas have been found eyeless. Another weapon technique tarantulas use, they rub their legs on their abdomen hairs, which contain sharp little barbs, and they will shoot them at their provoker. This can cause an irritating, itchy sensation.


Addie T. Lindsay, 17, is an accomplished writer and a photographer of wildlife creatures big and small. She can be contacted at

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