200 rare and unusual Montserrat tarantulas have hatched at Chester Zoo in the UK. This rare species is normally found in a remote Caribbean island. This is a momentous event which has never been achieved before.
Not much is known about the Montserrat tarantula except that it lives on a Caribbean island. Three years ago, a dozen of these hairy creatures were brought back by a zookeeper.
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Since than it has been the constant efforts of the zoo staff that have bore fruit. Today a female Montserrat tarantula gave birth to a clutch of 200 baby tarantulas. These though were given birth in Chester Zoo in the UK.
One of the staff members spoke of how it was a virtual race against time where the sexual synchronicity was matched between males and females in order to create successful breeding conditions.
The issue at hand is that male Montserrat tarantulas live for a maximum of 2.5 years. As for the females, they live for a longer period of time and develop slowly too.
This mismatch in life spans and maturity levels led to problems in mating and breeding. Since there were few males, this automatically led to an awkward beginning in matchmaking which the zoo attendants supervised closely.
Besides, the face-offs with the females were a risky business for the males. The females were quick to confuse a male as a food source instead of as a potential partner.
There were some really tense moments where nobody knew what would happen. An intricate courtship ritual often ensued with the male drumming out a beat on the web of the female tarantula.
The pregnant females just dug burrows and disappeared beneath the ground. Then it was a long wait to see whether the experiment was a success or a failure. Several months passed by with no signs of the females.
Then suddenly out of nowhere the baby spiders started appearing from beneath the soil. There were hundreds of them. From a single female at least 200 baby tarantulas emerged.
These tiny critters are now being looked after by the zoo staff with the utmost care and precaution. They are being kept in diminutive pots. Currently, they are being fed tiny flies.
Later on the diet will change to crickets. Further on in the future, a full-fledged breeding program will ensue. The males are especially vulnerable since they die after mating.
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We still do not know much about tarantulas. They are a mysterious species of spiders. Yet they are not as dangerous as they are portrayed to be so by the media. There is even a certain species of frog in the wild that feeds on tarantulas. If a frog can eat a tarantula, why can a human not handle one?