Zoo Buddy: Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula

The Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo has a whole tarantula exhibit with many different types in their reptile building.
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 9:45 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - We’re getting closer to Halloween, so we’re featuring some creepy-looking creatures on our Zoo Buddy segments.

Today we met a Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo.

Zookeeper Chris Norred says you’ll find these guys in Southern Mexico leading all the way to the Yucatan.

“Mexican red-knee tarantulas reside in dry areas with little vegetation, usually in scrubland, deserts, dry thorn forests, or tropical deciduous forests,” according to the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology.

When it comes to food, Norred says they’re opportunistic and will catch whatever comes by their burrow.

He says they make burrow holes; usually, only one tarantula is down there at a time, and the babies don’t stay around too long.

“They have the defense mechanism of slinging their hairs, so they take those little back legs and they’ll sit there and pop them back and it creates this little cloud if you get it in your nose or anywhere on you [...] it’s super uncomfortable and if it gets in your skin it feels like itty-bitty fiberglass,” explains Norred.

Also, Boo at the Zoo is on October 29th from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. They’ll have trick-or-treating, food, vendors, a costume contest, and boat/train rides.

Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for kids 2+. The event is a big fundraiser for the zoo.