If you are creeped out by spiders, go no further. You know if you have a problem with arachnids, just saying the word makes your skin crawl. If you actually see one you either go into speechless mode or you scream your lungs out! Even if spiders don't get you in a tizzy, I don't know too many people who wouldn't do the quick step if they saw a tarantula!
This one was spotted by a friend in his yard the other day. They live far enough away from us that I'm not freaked out that we will have a sighting, but after doing a little reading I now know tarantulas are actually all over Arkansas except the far south areas.
I'd expect them to like where we live, it's wooded and mountainous. I was surprised to learn that they have long life spans, up to twenty years. They live underground most of their life, they hunt by sitting nearby their burrows and capture their prey by inserting their fangs and injecting venom. Mostly they live on beetles, grasshoppers, crickets and other spiders.
The reason Bob saw this one, most likely a male, is that Fall is mating season in Arkansas for taratulas. Males who are sexually mature at ten years old venture out of their burrows and travel long distances to find a mate. After mating they usually die from starvation or winter takes it's toll. The females spend the winter underground in their burrows. In early spring the fertilized females create silken egg sacs, then lay 200-800 eggs. They are excellent Mothers... don't bother their babies while they are growing! Typically they hatch in July and August.
I had always thought that they didn't bite, but thanks to Wikipedia I now know that they do. It's kind of like a bee sting but that wouldn't matter, I would die of a heart attack first! So for those of you who share a fear of the creepy little buggers, here's directions what to do when you spot one...