Spiders are not insects at all, but rather arachnids.They have 8 rather than 6 legs. Because of Hairy's hairy body, he might be a tarantula.Tarantula is a name that strikes fear into most persons. Now a common name for any large, hairy spider in any part of the world, it was originally applied to a spider found around Taranto in southern Italy. The tarantulas found in the United States belong to the family Theraphosidae, only distantly related to the Italian tarantula, which is in the family Lycosidae.
The American tarantula is much more closely related to the trap-door spiders. Largest of the tarantulas in this country is Eurypelma californicum, which has a body about two inches long, and a leg spread of four to five inches. Dark brown and covered with rust-colored hairs, it is one of the most harmless of spiders, but its large size and general hairiness make it a fearsome object. It will bite in self-defense if handled roughly, and sometimes inflicts a painful wound. Outside infection from the minor wound is the only concern.
These spiders are nocturnal and the female may live up to 35 years in captivity. Eurypelma californicum is found only in our warm southwestern states, where it digs deep burrows in the sand. The female lays four or five hundred eggs and guards them carefully. It takes the young four or five years to reach full size, and individuals have been known to live for fifteen or sixteen years.
They make entertaining pets, learn to recognize their keeper, and seem to show considerable intelligence. Their greatest enemy is the large, orange and blue wasp, of the genus Pepsis, called the tarantula hawk, which is expert in seizing and paralyzing the tarantula, and carrying it off to feed its young.
The tropical Americas contain a number of very large tarantulas. One in South America has a leg spread ofr eight inches. Another has a large body, three and half to four inches long, but very short legs. Many of these tropical species make their homes in trees. Here in the treetops they actually catch and kill small birds. Our North American species are ground lovers, hiding in their burrows during the day and hunting at night.
Spinner (shown above) might be a golden garden spider. This orb-weaving species is found throughout the United States. Many orb weavers replace their web every day, usually in the early evening. It takes them about one hour to do the job.