Tarantuloid spiders shock and fascinate residents in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tarantuloid spiders shock and fascinate residents in Kamloops

A tarantuloid spider spotted at Shuswap Provincial Park last year.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Dana Ammazzini
September 28, 2021 - 7:00 AM

While tarantuloid spiders are not a new discovery in the province, their unique appearance and large size continues to be a shock for some who get the chance to spot them.

Sightings of these tarantuloids are extremely rare because they tend to burrow in the ground. 

Kamloops resident Janelle Underwood was walking with a friend in a local park in Kamloops last week when she saw one of the critters for the first time.

“That thing was huge and had hairs,” she said. “And it wasn’t in a cage. I wasn’t expecting to ever see something like that here.”

Underwood said she was hiking in Kenna Cartwright Park when she happened to look down and see it crawling along the trail, a brown spider the size of a toonie.

“I kind of freaked out and yelled in shock,” she said. “We stared at it in awe for a minute and then decided it was too gross to watch anymore and went on our way.”

Seven species of tarantuloids live in Canada, and six of those species live in B.C.

Though far smaller than their large, hairy tarantula cousins in other parts of the world, tarantuloids play an important ecological role in our environment, primarily through insect control, according to an article published in British Columbia Magazine.

Dr. Robb Bennett is a research associate with the Royal B.C. Museum who is passionate about studying spiders. 

In a previous article by iNFOnews, he said the sightings of tarantuloids are extremely rare because they like to burrow and they have a narrow range of where they like to live.

“We don’t see them very often," Bennett said. "Kamloops itself is a really interesting location just because of the confluence of the two Thompsons, but it's about as far north as you get to the dry belt, sagebrush, black widow spiders and that sort of thing. I wouldn’t have expected that (species) that far north.”

READ MORE: Move over black widows, you aren’t the scariest looking spider in the Interior

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