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            October 28, 2006

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Red rump tarantula (Tliltocatl vagans) in the jungle

Tthese heavy-bodied spiders can and apparently do haul themselves up sheer surfaces, just like their leaner cousins! But while that might not be a huge shock, the difference lies in the mechanism they use to climb such surfaces. Tarantulas actually have specialized hairs on the tips of their legs that excrete a sticky silk that actually allows them to stick to shear surfaces like walls without slipping! No other spider has been documented having this ability. The scientists that figured this out actually observed teeny tiny “finger prints” of silk left behind with each step it took.

For those of you who may be a little shaken up by the sight of this post, fear not! Tarantulas are harmless, and have a venom milder than that of a bee sting. Like all wildlife, if you leave it alone and give it space it will likely move off on its way on its own.
Photo by Jan Van Noord         Click here to comment on this picture .

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