Here at Flamingo Land we have creatures that are all shapes and sizes. One of our more scary and hairy residents is our Chilean rose tarantula with the lovely name – Tallulah. She is around 15 years old and has been with us for almost her entire life and can live up to 20 years!
She currently lives in our Education Centre and is regularly brought out for our Meet a Creature sessions. Although arachnophobia (fear of spiders) is a very common phobia, this is a great chance to face your fears and become understanding about our eight legged friends. They can be very cute!
However, we all associate Tarantulas with having a nasty bite and although Tallulah does have fangs, she would prefer to scuttle away instead of biting. She would first give out a warning by rearing up and showing of her fangs. The hairs that cover her body are not like the ones on our head, she can flick them off and can be very irritating if inhaled. In the wild this is what she would do to scare away predators such as Racoons, Coatis, Skunks and Birds. They originate from the deserts of Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. This South American species has become very popular in the pet trade due to their docile nature - Tallulah is very much a chilled-out Tarantula.
Her diet consists of crickets, locusts, cockroaches and Mario worms. Although Chilean Rose Tarantulas do not have a huge appetite and will only eat one insect a week. In the wild they are known to feed on a variety of different species including grasshoppers, moths, crickets, beetles, cockroaches, mealworms, small lizards, and even some smaller mammals such as rodents. They wait inside burrows and wait for unsuspecting prey to pass before using their two arms to grab them, then use their venom to help digest their food. Weighing up to only a 100 grams they are very light for their size and are also very delicate. Being a ground dweller they cannot jump and if they fell from a great height it could be fatal.
If you wish to see Tallulah and our other creepy crawlies, snakes and small mammals come to our Meet a Creature sessions which run every single day at the Education Centre at 3pm.