Zoo welcomes baby spiders
HUNDREDS of tiny tarantulas have hatched at Bristol Zoo Gardens for the first time.
The zoo's female Antilles pink-toed bird-eating spider has recently produced more than 140 babies which, at four weeks old, are now little more than the size of a 5p coin with a striking metallic steel blue-black colouring.
Zoo guests can see the new arrivals in the window of the tropical breeding room in the zoo's Bug World.
Mark Bushell, assistant curator of invertebrates at Bristol Zoo, said: "This species is one of the most beautiful types of tarantula around.
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"When the spiderlings first hatch, they are tiny and translucent but they gradually develop, moult and turn into little blue fluffy tarantulas and are very eye-catching."
The Antilles pink-toed tarantula is one of the most popular tree spiders.
It comes from Martinique, off the coast of South America, and is highly sought after because of its attractive adult colouration, along with a fairly docile temperament.
As young Antilles spiders mature, their blue colouring is replaced by its adult colours – a metallic green carapace and an abdomen covered in red hairs.
Its long furry legs become swathed in reds, pinks, and browns.
Later this summer Bristol Zoo is celebrating all things insect-related as it holds a Bug Week in the grounds. The event, which takes place from June 25 until July 1, is part of National Insect Week, which Bristol Zoo has supported for the past three events.