With a leg span of up 10 inches, the Brazilian salmon pink birdeater is one of the largest tarantulas in the world. This spider gets big fast and can grow up to a diameter of 6 inches in the first year of its life!
Like their name implies, Brazilian salmon pink birdeaters are (partially) pink, with long salmon-coloured hairs sticking out from their legs, abdomens and mouthparts. Except for the pink patches, these tarantulas are mostly dark brown.
Found on the forest floor in Brazil, Brazilian salmon pink birdeaters are ground dwellers. During the day they can usually be found in a burrow (which they make themselves) or natural hiding places on the forest floor. They come out at night to hunt and look for a mate.
From their name, you might think these tarantulas eat birds and nothing else. But that’s not the case! Though they do snack on the occasional small bird, the bulk of their diet consists of various insects and sometimes lizards, frogs and mice.
Unlike many other spiders, tarantulas don’t spin webs to catch their prey (though they do produce silk). Instead, they lie and wait until an unsuspecting victim wanders by and then they pounce, immediately injecting their prey with venom to subdue it.
When a male tarantula reaches adulthood, he spins a small patch of silk. He deposits sperm on the silk and then sucks up the fluid into the tips of his pedipalps, and is then ready to find a mate. Usually when a male approaches a female to mate, she rears up and opens her fangs as if threatened. He reaches up and secures her fangs with the hooks on his front legs, then inserts his pedipalps into an opening on the underside of her abdomen. Some three months later, the female spins a thick carpet of silk on which to lay her eggs (the female can produce up to 2,000 eggs!). She then gathers the silk around the eggs, forming an egg sac. She’ll guard this for several weeks until the spiderlings hatch.