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Biology

Receptive females will allow a male to mate, usually during the rainy season, resulting in the making of an egg sac and the laying of 300 to 500 eggs several weeks later (4). The egg sac is incubated for about seven to eight weeks at 24 to 27 degrees Celsius, after which pale-coloured young emerge and cluster together. The spiderlings develop quickly, moulting again over the next couple of weeks, by which time they disperse to live independent lives. Unreceptive females are likely to be aggressive towards approaching males and may try to kill and eat them (2) (4). Primarily a nocturnal, opportunistic ambusher, the curlyhair tarantula preys on insects and small vertebrates. An area on the end of each leg is sensitive to smell, taste and vibration, and is used to detect prey. The tarantula holds its prey with its pedipalps (front limbs) and injects it with venom delivered via two hollow fangs. This venom has a double purpose, paralysing the prey, as well as beginning digestion. Once the venom has acted the tarantula is able to suck up the proteins and fats of its prey, leaving just a small ball of undigested body parts (2) (4). This usually docile tarantula will kick hairs off the abdomen with its hind legs when threatened, which cause blindness if they hit the eyes of a predator and can also cause a rash on the skin (4).

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