Seventeen tarantulas move into Royal Alberta Museum – Alberta News

Seventeen tarantulas move into Royal Alberta Museum – Alberta News

Alberta’s own Spider-Man is tickled after ensnaring 17 hairy tarantulas.

“Some of them are a little bit more common, bread-and-butter tarantulas,” Peter Heule, who supervises the bug room and works as a natural history outreach technician at the Royal Alberta Museum, said Thursday.

The arachnids, which are being added to the museum’s collection of 25 tarantulas, were donated after their owner could no longer care for them.

They include Mexican red knees and Chilean rose hairs, which are considered “excellent beginner tarantulas,” he said. 

Among the new species to join the bug room is a Brazilian salmon pink bird-eater, which can have a leg span of up to 25 cm as a fully-grown adult.

“They do have personalities,” Heule said. “We are getting to know them.”

The spiders will be used to educate the public at the museum’s new downtown location, expected to open later this year, he said. Heule is currently applying for permits to facilitate a smooth transition.  

Tarantulas aren’t as scary as they seem in certain Hollywood blockbusters, Huele said, pointing to movies like Arachnophobia and Kingdom of the Spiders.

It’s a common misconception that tarantulas are aggressive, venomous spiders, he said, noting that he has hasn’t been bitten by a tarantula in two decades of caring for them. A tarantula’s bite is generally no worse than a bee sting. 

But certain species can make a lasting impression if they unexpectedly bite a human. 

“There is no such thing as a tarantula that can kill a person, but there are tarantulas that can put you in the hospital,” Heule said. 

There are more than 900 species of tarantulas around the…

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