I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.
No it’s not a title of a new movie but here in Portugal we have the original Tarantula. You probably associate Tarantulas with the big hairy spiders such as the Mexican Red Knee Tarantula, however, these are not the original species of Tarantula and should actually be classed as Bird-Eaters. Tarantulas are actually less scary to anyone suffering from arachnophobia and even though they can bite if continually provoked, the bite is more like a Bee Sting rather than a lethal poison.
This morning, I was walking the dog and I spotted movement in a small hole under a flat pebble and soon noticed the bird nest looking entrance. There was a Tarantula poking it’s head out waiting for breakfast. I managed to get this quick snap on my phone before it retreated.
The scientific name is Lycosa tarantula and its English name is Tarantula Wolf Spider, not to be confused with the even more common smaller Wolf Spider (Hogna radiata).
The Tarantula is not a particularly large spider growing to around 7cm wide. It doesn’t spin a Web to catch its prey, it sits in the opening if it’s excavated cave and pounces in things that may cross the opening. As you can just about make out, it’s a very colourful spider with black, brown & orange markings.
Here is a closeup photo of the “bird nest” opening it makes.
I will be returning with a setup to hopefully capture it catching a meal, so watch this space!