Thursday, 30 September 2010

New arrival! Mexican Blood Leg Tarantula

Isn't she gorgeous? A brand new, and (if I'm honest)a little bit unplanned arrival to the bug house is this lovely young Mexican Blood Leg Tarantula, Aphonopelma bicolouratum. It has been decided that her name is Penelope. She (although hard to tell gender at this age) is a year or so old, and is a little bit agitated at the moment, as can be seen by the bald patch on her abdomen.

When feeling threatened a tarantula will rub their hind leg across their abdomen and spray a cloud of incredibly itchy hairs called urticating hairs. These can be particularly damaging if they get in the eyes of a threat such as a predatory bird, or a foolish human (see bug-eyed). She's had a bit of a stressful time of it coming all the way in a van from the excellent Two By Two exotic pet shop in Plymouth, and who knows where before that, so I'll forgive her gumpiness.

Not that you could tell that Penelope was grumpy when she went for a little wander on me earlier. As you can see she's fine with handling so will be playing a full role in the Bug Explorers show when the time comes (and the show is completed - the script is written but now needs further refining). It is a bad idea to just buy any pet without much planning, they are a big responsibility. However, she's a stunning and placid species, the sort of spider who along with Dot will be well cared for and help promote the understanding of all bugs. All in all I'm delighted with the new addition.

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