September 25, 2013
The ‘zebra’ in question is actually a type of tarantula from South America and is the latest addition to the Aquarium.
The pink zebra beauty, which can grow up to 15 cms in length, is still a juvenile with a legspan of around seven cms.
Keepers have been so impressed with the spider’s gentle nature they have decided to name it ‘Belle’ after the character in the animated Disney classic ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
It’s the first time the Rock-a-Nore Road attraction has displayed spiders and is the part of an ongoing development to introduce a wider range of land species to accompany its marine and freshwater displays.
Blue Reef’s Chris Ireland said: “Belle is a fantastic new addition and will eventually join our snakes and bearded dragons in our Jungle Room.
“Spiders aren’t to everyone’s liking but this particular species is incredibly placid and its beautiful markings and bright colours really does make it the belle of the, spider, ball!” he added.
Tarantulas comprise a group of often hairy and very large spiders with approximately 900 different species identified so far.
Tarantula sizes range from as small as a fingernail to as large as a dinner plate when the legs are fully extended.
Despite their often threatening appearance and reputation, no tarantula has been known to have a bite that is deadly to humans, though some bites cause serious discomfort that might persist for several days.