Mexican Red-knee Tarantula
Classroom, Outreach and Encounter Animal
Tarantulas are very delicate creatures. They do not have bones or any internal skeleton. Instead they have an exoskeleton that must be shed (molted) on a regular basis. When molting occurs, the tarantula splits the old skeleton, often lays on its back and slowly pulls its entire body out, including all the sensory and defensive hairs. This takes several hours and puts the tarantula in a very vulnerable state.
International trade was restricted when Mexican red-knee tarantulas were listed under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna) Appendix II in 1985. IUCN lists red-knee tarantulas as Lower Risk/Near Threatened.