Other Names: Whistling Spider, Barking Spider, Bird-Eating Spider, Selenocosmia crassipes (the current generic name Selenocosmia has been wrongly applied to the Australian species and will be revised, the generic name Phlogius being reinstated).
Family: Theraphosidae (Tarantulas), currently 7 known species in Australia, estimated total 30 Australian species, about 950 species in the world.
Size: Male body length up to 70 mm, Female body length up to 90 mm. Legspan up to 220 mm (22 cm).
Distribution: Throughout Mid-East and North Queensland. Other Australian tarantulas may occur more southerly, to North-Western Victoria.
Status: Tarantulas are highly threatened by the pet trade which is responsible for about 2000 tarantuals being sold in each state each year. From the Australian Museum, "The species that is most often kept as a pet is often sold as Selenocosmia crassipes. However
Habitat: Likes areas with plants. Lives in burrows in the ground up to one metre deep. May come to the surface in heavy rain.
References: Whyte and Anderson, Framenau, Baehr & Zborowski, Wikipedia, Australian Museum.
The Eastern Tarantula is Australia's largest spider.
Diet: The Eastern tarantula has been known to eat small birds, hence the nickname "Bird-eating spider"; however, they typically eat large insects, small mammals and amphibians, such as cane toads and frogs.
Danger: Wikipedia says a bite from an Eastern tarantula can cause up to six hours of vomiting, but is not fatal to humans. They can be fatal to smaller animals like dogs and cats within 30 minutes.
Treatment: No antivenom is given (there is none available nor is it required).
Note that dead spiders usually fade in colour, so nearly all the spiders will look blacker or darker in colour in real life than they do in the photos of dead spiders from the museum.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2598 x 3652.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 1674 x 1236.
Male Eastern Tarantula. Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2818 x 1963.
Female Eastern Tarantula. Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2572 x 1956.
Spiders: A Wild Australia Guide, by Patrick Honan.
96 pages. This is a smaller spider guide showing the most well known spiders and then a few more.
From the publisher, "Australia is home to more than 2000 known species of spiders - and it is estimated that four times that number actually exist in this country waiting to be discovered! Within the ranks of Australian spiders we find some of the most uniquely interesting and skilled creatures of the animal world, along with a few potentially-deadly species and even more harmless individuals with fearsome reputations. Love them or loathe them, spiders are a part of everyday life, and this Steve Parish WILD AUSTRALIA GUIDE provides an insight into the lives of some of these often-reclusive visitors to our gardens, homes and wild places. From how to identify them and where they live, to their unique skills and behaviours, this guide lets you get up close to some of the most common Australian spiders. Who knows? You may even find some of these fascinating creatures living right under your nose."
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