Minibeast fans are in for a treat next time they visit The Stratford Butterfly Farm in Warwickshire as a number of exciting new inhabitants are now on display.
Three highly venomous Australian redback spiders, a Chilean rose tarantula and a giant prickly stick insect can now be seen within the farm’s Minibeast Metropolis.
The female redback spider, measuring about the size of a 5 pence piece, is distinguished by her jet back colour and red back stripe. The male, however, is considerably smaller at around 3mm, brown in colour and with no stripe marking. Similar to the black widow spider found in the USA, the female will eventually devour the male redback in an act of cannibalism!
With its soft pink colouring, the Chilean rose tarantula is a typically tame and docile species. It will use its tiny hair like barbs as a defence against predators by flicking the bristles and causing an irritating, itching sensation.
Originating from Australia, the giant prickly stick insect is very well camouflaged and will curl its tail up over its body to mimic a scorpion to help keep the predators away.
Throughout the summer holidays from 23 July – 3 September children and adults can also take part in twice daily ‘Meet the Mini-Beast’ handling sessions with the farm’s education team. Visitors can hold creatures such as a Madagascan hissing cockroach, giant African millipede, African land snail and a variety of stick insects. There will also be informative talks about beetles, and the amazing Leafcutter Ant colony, now one of the largest in the UK!
To see hundreds of spectacular butterflies, insects, reptiles and spiders visit the Butterfly Farm from 10am to 6:00pm daily. For more information go to www.butterflyfarm.co.uk