Welcome back! We are switching things up this week, jumping from reptile to invertebrate. If you were surprised at how many snakes were listed as endangered without knowing then I’m sure you’ll be even more shocked to learn about endangered tarantulas. Yes, I said it, Tarantulas. Belonging to the ever so feared Order, Spider. I’m sure some or all of you reading this have ran from one at some point in your life and avoid them at all costs. However my aim for this week is to change your opinion on these small, mighty creatures. As in reality, many of them are extremely docile and not out to harm us and don’t deserve to be swept under the rug (Literally, in some cases!).
So why would anyone want to save them? 11 species of Tarantula are listed as endangered, though you may think that is low, this is not a number to be ignored. Orang-utans, Polar bears and Amur leopards are all only 3 separate species and yet everyone is aware of their vast declining numbers, tarantulas also have a positive affect on our eco-system so 11 declining species should not be ignored.
Their name may be quite a mouthful, but this is far from a good excuse to not talk about this species. They are more commonly known as the “Parachute Spider” but actually not enough people are talking about them, in fact many people cease to know about their existence, which isn’t very promising for them. The Parachute Spider as it happens is a critically endangered species, with not enough being done to try to save them. Though fierce, these animals are truly beautiful and a sight that I certainly wouldn’t want to be wiped off of the earth, they are the only species from their genus to have a vibrant blue colouring. Unfortunately, like many other species its habitat is being rapidly destroyed, the Parachute Spider only inhabits one small singular area of the world; that being a reserve forest in India, their current numbers are unknown, but with the deforestation of their habitat still occurring today, they are not at all promising.
Tilly the Chilean Rose Tarantula
You may have met Tilly up close and personal in one of our exciting parties or even been brave enough to hold her during some good old Halloween themed therapy if so then I wouldn’t need to tell you just how docile she is! Chilean Rose Tarantulas are extremely common to invertebrate enthusiasts, not just due to their calm nature but also due to their gorgeous pink colourings, meaning they’re not worlds apart from our Parachute Spider, despite coming from Chile which sets in quite a distance between these two species, the Parachute Spider shares a feature that is loved in the popular pet, colour! Whilst we enjoy our Chilean Rose Tarantulas for their beauty, another tarantula miles away is on the edge of extinction exhibiting many of the same features, so why are we doing so little to help?
Another hard to remember name, this tarantula is more commonly referred to as a Yellow-Backed Ornamental Tarantula, much less of a tongue twister for sure! They are native to Sri Lanka where they are one of the rarest tiger spider species, however believe it or not, though critically endangered in the wild this species is in the pet trade and is sought after due to their calm, docile nature. So if this is a species we are happy to breed and have in our homes as a pet, why are we failing to help them sustain their numbers in their own habitat?
Chica the Mexican Red Knee Tarantula
You may have met Chica, or seen a picture or two of her on our social media pages, if you have you certainly wouldn’t have missed her beautiful red stripes on her legs, a feature that makes Red Knee Tarantulas so popular! Despite the Yellow-Backed Tarantula differing in colour and being quite a few miles away they both share a very docile nature and are wanted within the pet trade. However the Mexican Red Knee Tarantula is definitely a lot more well known, and much more available in the pet trade, Why? You’d be forgiven if your first thought was how our Mexican Red Knee is much more pleasing to the eye due to their vibrant red colours, however, this is no excuse to let our Yellow-Backed Tarantula dwindle into the background and we could certainly be doing more to raise awareness for such a docile species that’s not quick to impose danger on us, the people who are destroying their homes.
I hope I’ve succeeded in making you see that there are endangered tarantulas and there is no reason why this is a problem that should be ignored, many are docile creatures who are very pleasing to the eye and deserve to be protected just as much as larger mammals.
Haven’t seen Chica and Tilly on our social media? Why don’t you check our pages out? Head to the contact page on our website https://wildsci.co.uk/contact/ where you will find the links to our pages.