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Tarantulas take up residence at Canterbury Museum

Terrific tarantulas take up residence at Canterbury Museum

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Canterbury Museum’s rare Mexican red knee tarantula, named ‘Rod nee’ by Kindercare Clyde Rd Early Learning Centre.


At the end of this month four new tarantulas will take up residence in Discovery at Canterbury Museum. The eight-legged arrivals, including an endangered Mexican red knee tarantula, will be housed in a purpose built terrarium. Each spider has been named by a local school as part of a competition.

The rare Mexican red knee ‘Rod nee’ (named by Kindercare Clyde Rd Early Learning Centre) will be joined by Costa Rican stripe ‘Coco’ (named by Room 5c, Selwyn House School), Peruvian pink toe ‘Nigella’ (named by Room 8, Aorangi School), and Goliath bird eater ‘King Kong’ (named by Room 7, Waimairi School). The winning classes will receive free entry to Discovery to visit the tarantulas and have all their spider related questions answered by Dr Simon Pollard, Curator of Invertebrate Zoology. Each class will also receive a book about spiders to take back to their school.

Large, hairy and photogenic, tarantulas have earned a fearsome reputation through Hollywood exaggeration and popular culture. However, according to Dr Simon Pollard, they are actually quiet, calm and intriguing creatures. “Tarantulas, and spiders in general, have a totally unfounded reputation for being dangerous and harmful to humans. Yes, they can bite but this happens rarely and more often than not it won’t do much damage. Tarantulas are fascinating animals to observe and are really quite beautiful.”

The new tarantulas can be seen in Discovery at Canterbury Museum from Monday 29 September. Entry to Discovery is $2, or free for Discovery Club members. General admission to the Museum is free; donations are appreciated. Dr Simon Pollard will also give a free public lecture on the evening of 11 November on the subject of spiders in popular culture. Visit for more information.

Spiders in popular culture

11 November

6.00 – 7.00 pm

Bird Hall, Canterbury Museum

Spiders are often portrayed as the villains in popular culture. Hear Canterbury Museum’s Curator of Invertebrate Zoology, Dr Simon Pollard, explain why these creatures get such a raw deal from Hollywood.


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