Animal Class: Invertebrates
Length: Body = 1.5 inches; Leg span = up to 5.75 inches
Life Span: Up to 20 years
Diet: Insects and other arthropods. Occasionally small animals
Habitat: Found exclusively in Chile, South America
Hair covers the entire body of tarantulas; it is their most important means of sensory input, and serves several functions. Some hairs contain temperature or smell receptors. Other hairs can detect airborne vibration. Hairs in certain areas, mostly on the abdomen, can act as an itchy irritant to potential predators. At the end of each leg, there are two hidden tarsal claws, which yield great maneuverability for the burrowing tarantulas. For arboreal tarantulas, these claws provide stability in walking and allow the tarantula to hang on to vertical surfaces. Yet, the velvety pads of hair behind these claws are far more important, since they cushion the tarantula while it walks.