Two things I should make clear first. #1 - I was born and raised in northeast Missouri. #2 - I am deathly afraid of spiders. That's why I was more than a bit alarmed to learn today that there's only one thing preventing tarantulas from making their home in the northern parts of Missouri and it's not likely to be removed anytime soon.

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My unintended rabbit trail of spider research began when I saw a trending story on MSN about the pet spider black market. It reminded me that there are indeed tarantulas in Missouri. As for where, the Pet Enthusiast shared a very helpful infographic showing the map of these gnarly spiders in the Show Me State. The red parts of the map are the parts of Missouri where tarantulas can be found. If you're good at geography, you'll understand what the hairy spider barrier is.

Infographic, The Pet Enthusiast
Infographic, The Pet Enthusiast

What's stopping the tarantula from being found in northeast Missouri? The Pet Enthusiast gave the comforting answer:

The Missouri River is a barrier to stop them from moving north.

Whew. Sure glad the Missouri River is still flowing strong.

If you're curious, the type of tarantula found in southern Missouri is the Texas brown tarantula. They aren't dangerous to humans although I don't plan to get bitten by one to test that theory. I've heard their bites are painful and can be a bad thing if you have allergies to it. Spider proponents will tell you how harmless they are and I don't doubt they're correct. I just don't want to look at them.

One final thought. If in the future there is a severe drought and the Missouri River dries up, I will be moving to Canada (or maybe Alaska just to be safe). I also hope and pray that tarantulas never learn how to cross bridges.

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