What kind of tarantula is this?
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What kind of tarantula is this?

We live in Southern CA and found this tarantula on the side of the road yesterday. It's black and not very hairy. It looks like it has gray on the back and the fangs look red. We don't want to try to handle it until we know what type it is. Help!
It's an Aphonopelma sp., since that is the only genus native to California, but the picture is of way too poor quality to distinguish anything other than that. It most likely is a mature male, if you found it out in the open, since mature males wander around in search of female tarantulas to mate with. They live only a short time after reaching maturity, so the best thing to do would be to take him back where you found him and place him off the road. You can tell if it's a mature male by looking underneath the longest pair of front legs. If you see a small forward-facing "hook" underneath each leg, you've got a mature male. Aphonopelma tarantulas are harmless, and not usually aggressive at all, but sometimes mature males, charged with hormones and with one goal in mind, can react defensively to anything getting between them and that goal. If caged, they will often injure themselves trying to escape and look for a female.

pitbulllady
 
I can't help with the ID, but I would lose the sponge... it's a wonderful mold & bacteria incubator. If it's to keep crickets from drowning, some small clean pebbles work well.
 

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Tarantula Identification
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