Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-Eating Tarantula (Lasiodora parahybana)
There are two basic types of spiders: web spinners and wandering spiders. Tarantulas are wandering spiders, spending most of their time on the ground, in burrows, under rocks, inside tree hollows, and in other protected places. Our resident Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-Eating Tarantula is named Walter and he is an Animal Ambassador in the Education Department.
Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-Eating Tarantulas are nocturnal ground dwellers. During the day, they can usually be found in burrows (which they make themselves) or natural hiding places on the forest floor. At night, they come out to hunt or find mates. Other than breeding season, they are solitary.
Unlike many other spiders, tarantulas don’t spin webs to catch their prey; they are ambush predators. Once caught, prey is immediately injected with venom in order to subdue it. Once the victim is subdued, Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-Eating Tarantulas pass digestive fluid out of the mouth and onto the prey. This results in partially digested prey, which the tarantulas suck up through their mouth.
Sometimes tarantulas catch a prey animal before they’re ready to eat it. In that case, the spiders use their silk for wrapping the prey, saving it for a later date.
The Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-Eating Tarantula is one of the largest tarantulas in the world. And this spider gets big fast; it can grow up to a diameter of six inches in the first year of life.
Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-Eating Tarantulas are mostly dark brown except for the long salmon-colored hairs sticking out from their legs, abdomens and mouthparts.
They are bulky, with a fairly large body in relation to leg length. They have a leg span of up to 10 inches with a body diameter of up to 7 inches. They weigh about 3 ½ ounces. Females are larger than males.
Their body is divided into two segments. The cephalothorax includes the head and mouthparts and bears two stout chelicerae, with backward-pointing claws underneath that are connected to venom glands. The eight uniformly thick, stout legs are also connected to the cephalothorax. The second segment, the abdomen, has several long, silk-spinning organs called spinnerets, as well as a pair of respiratory organs known as “book lungs,’ which are found inside a small cavity on the underside.
Like all spiders, tarantulas have eight tiny eyes clustered together. Even so, they can only see a few inches in front of them. Their eyes serve mostly to detect the difference between light and dark.
Like all spiders, tarantulas have an exoskeleton, a rigid casing protecting their internal organs. As tarantulas grow, they undergo a series of molts, shedding their old exoskeleton and gaining a larger one each time. Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-Eating Tarantula adults will molt once a year. Each year, the molt lasts 10 hours and the spider is lying on its back the whole time.
They prefer tropical rainforests.
This species of tarantula can be found in Eastern Brazil.
Carnivores – insects, frogs, lizards, mice and occasionally a small bird.
About three months after mating, the female spins a thick carpet of silk on which to lay her eggs (usually about 500, but sometimes as many as 2,000). She then gathers the silk around the eggs, forming an egg sac. She’ll guard this for several weeks until the spiderlings hatch.
Once the young hatch they are left to survive on their own.
After mating, the female will often eat the male. If not, the male will usually die soon after mating of natural causes.
In the wild: Males 3 years, Females 12 – 17 years. In human care: Males 5 years, Females 15 – 20 years.