Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tarantula: Five on the Left and Three on the Right

I encountered this unusual tarantula while hiking in Madera Canyon over the weekend. It was about the size of my hand and fingers. It seems to have lost its right front leg and pedipalp, but it can still get around okay. When it moults, it will grow new appendages. It may have even eaten its appendages if a predator didn't make off with them.

I was not concerned that I could get hurt by making this video, but I should have been. Tarantulas can throw hairs at their attackers, and the hairs can create an irritating rash. They can even cause permanent eye damage.

By the way, Madera Canyon is only an hour south of Tucson in the Santa Rita Mountains. It is 3,000 feet higher and at least 20 degrees cooler than Tucson. Birds I saw there: Broad-Billed, Rufous and Black-Chinned Hummingbirds, Acorn Woodpeckers, Green-Backed and Black-Backed Lesser Goldfinches, Mexican Jays and a Bullock's Oriole.