Do you remember my blog about mama tarantula and her egg sac from February 20th? I just returned from a nightly Dokmai Garden walk with pictures of her babies:
As you can see from the grass we have not irrigated the area around this tarantula burrow but allowed a natural climate. Six weeks of drought and afternoon temperatures above 35°C seem to favour tarantula kids. I checked if they were afraid of light using a torch, but that did not bother them and I was thrilled to see the light reflections from hundreds of eyes. I raised my voice to see if noise would startle them, but they seemed not to care, but when I put down my foot with force they all jerked and most of them ran home to mama, here seen in the centre. I was curious to see if tarantula hatching is synchronous so I paid a visit to another mama tarantula in front of our teak house:
She was alone and no sight of her egg sac. Maybe our regular watering ruined her family, or maybe they hatched earlier? This is the first time I see a wild black Thai tarantula way out of her burrow without pursuing a prey.
Update on April 23rd: I have watched the family for five evenings in a row now. Every evening after sunset the hatchlings gather in a circle around the mouth of the burrow. At times mama is up there with them, allowing some children to take a ride, at other times she rests at home like any exhausted parent, while the children play outdoors. I am not sure what the spiderlings do out there, and it must be hard to hunt for mama as she depends on vibrations to locate her prey, but with 150 babies trampling around it can’t be easy.
Text & Photo: Eric Danell