Tarantulas can be found in most of the world's tropical, subtropical and desert regions. There are hundreds of different species, and they vary in color and behavior according to their specific environments. Most burrow in the ground, though some species have been known to climb trees.
The largest tarantula species can have a leg span of up to 11 inches, while smaller tarantula species have a leg span of about 4.5 inches. Small males weigh around 0.9 ounces, and large females can weigh more than 3.5 ounces. Females live up to 25 years in managed care; males typically live 5 to 7 years.
Tarantulas are nocturnal hunters, preying on a variety of insects, other spiders and small lizards, snakes and frogs. They rely on ambush and pursuit to catch their prey. These spiders grab with their legs, inject paralyzing venom and then bite their prey with their fangs. They then liquefy their prey to suck it up through their straw-like mouths.
Tarantulas periodically molt, shedding their exoskeletons to grow. While tarantulas are molting, they can also replace internal organs—including stomach lining—and lost appendages.
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