Eyes on Science
Tarantulas spend most of their time hidden in burrows. Despite having eight eyes, their vision is terrible, and they prefer to wait for their food rather than hunt in the open. They often set up a “tripwire” which announces their prey’s arrival by setting off vibrations that the tarantula can feel. Once alerted to an intruder, tarantulas will creep up to grab and bite their meal. A tarantula’s bite is not dangerous to humans, but the venom would liquefy the insides of something small, like a grasshopper. The tarantula will then suck up their prey’s insides like a smoothie. Tarantulas do not want to waste their precious venom on things that are too big to eat; if they are threatened, they will flick special hairs at potential predators from their abdomen. These irritating hairs would cause a distraction, giving the tarantula time to escape and live another day.
More Ways to Explore
Learn more about tarantulas and other invertebrates on the National Geographic Tarantula Fact Page.
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