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The tarantula spider is a large arthropod animal that exotic pet lovers increasingly start taking at home. The real question arises as to why is the tarantula called this way.
The name “tarantula” itself is an unfortunate generalization tolerated for many years. There is a real tarantula, a small spider in southern Europe that was especially prolific in the vicinity of Taranto city.
This real spider does not belong to the genus Theraphosidae, but the people of Taranto firmly believed that the bite of this spider, when left untreated, was fatal. The only way to heal was through dancing, which was called “Tarantella”, and the spider got the popular name – “tarantula”.
No doubt these awful arthropods have instilled real horror throughout human history. Although tarantulas inspire fear in many people, they are still peace-loving creatures, and many people decide to keep them as pets.
Can tarantulas swim?
Yes, tarantulas can swim. Tarantulas only get into the water if they are being hunted or if they have fallen by mistake. They can detect water with the receptors from their feet, usually used to estimate moisture levels.
The Tarantula spiders belong to the family of mygalomorphae predators, forced into order. Their main difference is being much larger than other spiders, and you can see this in the structural characteristics of the oral appendages and size.
They prefer to live in places with a warm climate. They are found in the United States and Mexico, widely distributed across Africa, most of Asia, and all over Australia. In Europe, they are rarely seen, but they can still be found mainly in Portugal, Spain, Turkey, southern Italy, and Cyprus.
Some species prefer equatorial climates, others prefer deserted steppes. The natural habitat includes pastures, tropical and communal forests, shrubs, and mountains.
Behavior in the wild
Arthropods hunt prey in trees, on the ground, and in burrows. They are able to produce a crystalline-protein substance and weave a spider web. But more often predators search for prey and attack it. With a cloth, they strengthen their burrows and nests and ensure a faster climb and descent along it into their home.
Behavior can change throughout life. Larvae spend most of their time in burrows while adults are busy looking for food and eating it on the surface.
How can tarantulas swim?
Researchers studied the reaction of tarantulas when they reach the water and found that these arachnids can float to the surface of the water due to a layer of air trapped between the thick hairs on the legs and the body.
The impermeable ability of the spider cuticle, which has a waxed upper layer, has been demonstrated and the tarantulas have come out completely dry from the water, without any suffering or discomfort.
The tarantula caught “swimming” used its strong legs to approach the shore. They use their vassal post legs and paddle through the water.
The researchers also said arachnids use currents to be carried ashore without effort.
How fast can a tarantula swim?
A large immature tarantula reached about five to eight inches per second while swimming. This is faster than the usual walking speed, but not as fast as it can run on land, researchers say.
Can a tarantula drown?
The drowning process for a spider can take an hour or more, as they have an extremely low metabolic rate and therefore a very low rate of oxygen consumption.
Aquatic skills of huge tarantulas
In the Theraphosidae family, to which the giant tarantulas belong, there is a genus called Histerocrate. Within it, we find the species Hysterocrates gigas.
These tarantulas have the strange ability to swim and sink. Thanks to this quality, H. gigas can catch fish in water, which complements its varied diet of insects, small mammals, and birds.
On the other hand, this group of spiders, although poisonous, is not problematic or fatal to humans – although a bite is really painful due to the size of the chelicerae. In addition, they lack stinging hairs, but are much more aggressive than other tarantulas.
Do tarantulas hate water?
There are many studies that noted that they did not particularly like large bodies of water and that tarantula’s innate ability to row in water could have saved them in the event of an unexpected flood. They’ll swim if they have to, even though they don’t really want to.
Giant tarantulas as pets
Many species of tarantulas are kept as pets in some homes. Before you decide to have one, the most correct thing is that you properly inform yourself of all the requirements you need, as it is not an easy arthropod to keep in captivity.
Finally, it should be noted that they are not animals to pet or touch, they are rather hard to collect. If you do not think that you can properly care for a tarantula, but you want an exotic pet, it is better to opt for other species.
Other interesting facts
Tarantulas can live mostly up to 25 years in captivity.
Tarantulas are not considered to be dangerous to humans, but their bites can be quite painful.
Some tarantulas can spin canvases, while others can’t.
Tarantulas are found on every continent except Antarctica. They usually live in warm, dry climates, such as deserts or rainforests, as you probably know by now.
In order to conclude this short article, yes, tarantulas can swim even though they aren’t that good nor do they like it.