Tarantulas may have bodies up to three inches long and a leg span of over 6 inches.
Tarantulas are commonly dark brown and covered with hairs. Very long mouthparts called palps also extend from the front of the head, giving the appearance of a fifth pair of legs.
Tarantulas are easily the largest spiders but their venom is not dangerous to humans. They tend to be fairly docile and bite only when they feel threatened. In addition to biting, tarantulas defend themselves by flicking abdominal hairs into the face of an enemy. They are nocturnal animals, and hide in burrows under other objects during the daytime, except during mating season when males may be seen in abundance in daylight hours.
Tarantulas are hunters, catching insects, baby rodents, birds and reptiles on the run.
Females deposits eggs into a cocoon, then seals it with silk and stands guard until the 500 to 1,000 young hatch in six to none weeks. Young tarantulas venture off on their own two to three weeks after hatching. It may take tarantulas 8 to 10 years to reach sexual maturity, and males usually die a few months later. Females are known to live up to 25 years.
Tarantulas use their silk to line their living quarters and to cover their eggs. They have been known to emit a hissing sound by rubbing their legs together.