Ava posing for the camera. He's a gentle giant. © Solpugid Productions 2010

In our Cast of Characters posts we thought it would be cool to introduce the insects and spiders that we bring to schools.  They are the ultimate animal ambassadors!  Students all over the country have fallen in love with them.

This is Ava, our Chilean Rose Tarantula.  While the species, Grammostola rosea is native to the boundaries of the Atacama Desert in Chile and southern Peru, Ava was captive bred in Las Vegas!  But he didn’t stay there…  He’s been my pet for about 7 years and traveled across the country three times in the front seat of my truck.  That’s a long life for a male tarantula.

But wait!  He’s a male and his name is AVA???   I thought he was a female when I first got him.  It’s hard to be sure about the gender of a tarantula until they get older.  I knew he was male when I saw hooks on the undersides of his front legs after he molted about three years ago.  Tell-tale sign.  By then, the name had stuck!

Have you seen Ava in your classroom?  Say hello to him here on the blog!