The name "Tarantula" was originally applied to a wolf spider from Southern Europe.
These are the giants of the arachnid world, with bodies that measure up to 12 cm in length and legs that can measure 28cm. Their bodies and legs are covered in hard down and their colouring varies from light brown to black, with pink, brown, red or black bringes. When threatened, the Tarantula will show its fangs pointing down.
The large size of these tarantulas leads everyone to believe that their bit is fatal, but only some of them are venomous. Actually, the venomous species are often relativelly small.
Tarantulas are nocturnal hunters who rely on their size to subjugate their prey, wich includes small vertebrates such as frogs, lizards and birds. They crush the victim with their great fangs, spray digestive juices over its body and then suck out the resulting liquid.
The females leave a group of eggs in a burrow; the young remain in it until their first shedding of skin and then they disperse to find food and make their own burrows.