Tarantulas. Large, hairy, gross and scary are all word that have been used to describe them. Most people think that they are menacing and quick to attack. But truly, unless you are a bug, small rodent or small bird, they are relaxed and non-aggressive arachnids.

One of the tarantulas many, and most useful adaptations is that they are nocturnal. This allows them to hunt at night, while other animals, such as rodents, small birds, and other prey, are sleeping. A complementary adaptation to this is their eight padded feet, for easier stalking and sneaking. These pads make their slow steps even more silent, allowing it to get closer to a delicious meal, such as a mouse or vole.

Then, when it is close enough it will leap, one to two feet in the air, on top of their unsuspecting prey. They will deploy their retractable claws, to hold onto it, and sink its razor sharp fangs into the prey. The fangs will then pump out venom that liquefies the prey’s organs and insides. As you can see, all these aspects work together to help the tarantula to get its prey.

But what if the tarantula is the prey? Surprisingly, this happens quite often, especially with the tarantula hawk. The tarantula hawk is a wasp like bug that stings tarantulas. This sting kills the tarantula, which the tarantula hawk lays its eggs on. However, the tarantula doses not just accept this “sting of death.” It still has tricks up its hairy arms.

First, those 8 padded feet can do more than just stalk around. A full grown tarantula can burst up to ten miles per hour. If a predator does catch this speedy spider, the tarantula can fire his sharp back hairs at the predator, making him terribly itchy. If the tarantula can make it back to his borrow, sometimes two feet deep in the ground. Here, it can either hide from his attacker, or if the predator is stupid enough to follow him down into the nest, fight him in the very dark nest. The tarantula has extremely good vision at close range, and will probably kill his enemy.

Not only can this super spider hunt, but he can defend himself, jump, run, even borrow down in the ground. They have probably formed such a bad reputation because of their size. Some tarantulas can be as big as a dinner plate! But really, tarantulas will not hurt you if you keep your distance, and don’t agitate this super arachnid.