G7386, Revised March 2003
In Missouri, tarantulas (Dugesiella hentzi) are found only in the
southern part of the state. This large, hairy species is uniformly chocolate
brown with no noticeable markings. Tarantulas prefer drier areas, where they
inhabit natural cavities or abandoned burrows of other animals. They stalk crickets
and other large insects at night. The structure of their mouthparts is unique
among spiders and requires them to elevate their heads to insert their fanglike
mouthparts into prey.
Tarantulas are shy and avoid contact with humans. However, when they are threatened
and elevate their heads, this posture is mistakenly interpreted as aggressive.
Their venom is only slightly toxic to mammals, so the biggest threat is the
puncture that would result from their large fangs.
G7386, revised March 2003
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