ANIMAL: Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula Brachypelma hamorii Type of Animal: Tarantula Habitat: Desert, scrubland, dry forest, deciduous forest, thorn forest, tropical rainforest, coastal locales, semi-desert, dry areas w/ sparse vegetation, burrows Location(s): W Mexican states of Colima, Jalisco, & Michoacan Appearance: Legs/palps black to reddish black w/ 3 distinctly colored rings, deep orange on part of patellae closest to body w/ pale orange-yellow further away, pale orange-yellow on lower part of tibiae, & yellowish-white at end of metatarsi, females larger than males, males have light greyish-red around border of carapace (upper body) w/ darker reddish-black markings from middle of carapace to head, black upper abdomen, females often have black carapace w/ brownish-pink border or “starburst” pattern, males have longer legs but smaller bodies Food/Diet: Insects, smaller spiders (females will eat males), scorpions, reptiles, frogs, small mammals, birds, insect larvae Status in Wild: Threatened Conservation: Breeding from zoos & breeders. Captive breeding reducing demand for wild specimens. Lifestyle: Solitary Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Spiderling Group: Solitary Weight: Male: 0.5 oz Female: 0.6 oz Gestation: 1.5-2.5 months Life Span: Males: 4-6 years Females: 20-30 years Body Length: Male: 2 in Female: 3 in Main predators are birds, reptiles, moths, tarantula hawk wasps, & carnivorous/omnivorous mammals. Like many tarantulas, they’re ambush predators. Threatened due to over-collection for wildlife/pet trade & habitat destruction. Many people keep them as pets due to fairly docile temperament, sourcing them from captive-bred sources. To swallow food, prey held between front legs & hollow fangs inject venom. Venom liquefies body & prey consumed by drinking juices. Males sexually mature at 4 years old, only breeding once in lifetime & then dying a few weeks after breeding. Females sexually mature at 6 years old & breed many times throughout life. Hairy legs used to detect vibrations, smell, & taste. Active at night (nocturnal). Usually molt once a year, though males only molt before maturity. During courtship, male approaches female shelter/burrow, tapping & vibrating legs luring her out. He then pushes her into almost upright position & then he takes up into palps sperm he’s deposited on special sperm web-sperm then implanted into female’s organs. Fun Fact(s): Females usually lay 300-400 eggs per clutch but some can lay 900-1000. They’re stored in silky egg sac. To defend themselves, they’ll knock off barbed urticating hairs from abdomen & back legs which sting any potential threat. They’ll also rear up on back legs & show fangs. Only bites as last resort. Venom is mild.