A favorite cast member of horror stories and adventure movies, the Desert Tarantula (Aphonopelma iodius) is a valuable member of the desert habitat and community. Although their relatively large size can be intimidating, they are reasonably harmless to humans, and their bite is along the lines of a bee sting. This hairy arachnid is known to live in the desert of California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah and have a life span of 25 to 40 years
A member of the Arachnid Class of animals, tarantulas come equipped with eight legs, fangs and compound eyes. There body and legs are covered in short hairs and their overall size is typically between three and inches. This class of animals also include scorpions, mites and crabs. The long legs of the Desert Tarantulas equip the animal with amazing mobility over the hostile terrain of the desert southwest.
A nocturnal hunter, this spider lives on just about any animal of the correct proportion including small lizards, grasshoppers, beetles and other small insects. Like almost any other animal, the are a good food source for the tarantula hawks, lizards, snakes birds, coyotes and other small animals. The live in under ground burrows which offer protection from predator’s and heat. Their burrows are typically 6 in 8 inches in depth and are lined with silk to prevent collapse. The burrow opening will be closed in with silk when the animal is in residence.
This species of tarantula is known by may common names including Great Basin blonde, Fresno County blonde, Desert Tarantula, Salt Lake City Brown, Northern Blonde. Some more adventurous people will even keep these animals as pets.