Eight young Tarantulas, or “Spiderlings,” were brought to Brevard Zoo after being confiscated from an importer by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The small Spiders, which are each about the size of a quarter, include four Brazilian Whiteknee Tarantulas (shown above on quarter and in bottom photo) and four Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-eating Tarantulas (below).
The Spiders came via Woodland Park Zoo, which took in a total of 250 Tarantulas from USFWS. It is likely that the Spiderlings were bred from illegally wild-caught adults because Brazil does not permit the export of fully-grown Tarantulas. The Spiderlings were most likely headed to the pet trade.
“We hope to use these Arachnids to help zoo guests learn more about the importance of Spiders and the impacts of wildlife trafficking,” said Michelle Smurl, the zoo’s director of animal programs.
The Spiderlings are currently housed in a behind-the-scenes area, but plans are to introduce them to zoo guests during keeper chats later this year.
Brazilian Whiteknee Tarantulas can grow to a leg span of eight-and-a-half inches. Unlike many larger Tarantulas, this species is very colorful in appearance due to the white stripes that adorn its knees.
Brazilian Salmon Pink Bird-eating Tarantulas are among the largest in the world, reaching a leg span of 11 inches. Aside from what its name suggests, this species also feeds on various Insects, Lizards and Frogs.