In the United Stales, any large, hairy spider is popularly called a tarantula.  It looks fierce but it is not as dangerous as it looks.  Its bite is no more harmful to man than that of most other spiders found in the United States.  But it can inflict a painful wound in self-defense.

Tarantula

Most tarantulas make homes in deep burrows.  They come out at night to look for food, and lie hidden among the leaves or in the burrow.  When an insect comes along, the tarantula rushes out and bites it, and then drags it into its burrow.

During the winter, the tarantula shuts itself up in its home with a silken door.  The tarantula gets its name from a large wolf spider found near Taranto, a town in Italy.

Long ago, it was believed that people bitten by this spider came ill with a disease called “tarantism.”   The cure was said to be for the victim to dance and skip about to music until he became well.  From this old belief came the tarantella, a lively Italian folk dance. – Dick Rogers

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