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Type: Multiple-Choice
Category: Animals (Stories)
Level: Grade 4
Author: szeiger
Last Modified: 9 months ago

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Animals (Stories) Question

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A Night in the Life of a Desert Tarantula by Tatiana Rusev

I am a desert tarantula. With my eight hairy legs and eight beady eyes, I may look like a monster out of a nightmare. But if you get to know me, you will see I am one fascinating creature, with incredible skills for hunting and surviving in the desert.

I live in a comfortable burrow in the sand, lined with spider silk for sturdiness. I sit peacefully there at night, until I feel the ground around me vibrate. Someone is outside—is it food or foe? Curiously but cautiously, I peek out of my hole into the moonlight. There on the desert sand is a fat, juicy looking grasshopper.

Perfect! Night is my favorite time to hunt. I crawl stealthily out of my burrow and towards the insect. Gathering my strength, I pounce—but miss. The grasshopper springs up onto a rock. Hungry and determined to catch this meal, I climb up after him. Retractable claws and special hairs at the ends of my legs allow me to cling to the smooth surface of the rock. I must be careful—although I look tough, the skin of my abdomen is quite thin, and a fall could be fatal. Finally, I reach the top and pounce onto my victim, clutching him with my legs and instantly paralyzing him with one stab of my venomous fangs. My digestive enzymes turn him into soup, which I suck up with my straw-like mouth. I know it sounds gross, but a tarantula needs to eat!

I don’t have long to enjoy my meal, though. Suddenly, the rock beneath me shakes and I feel hot breath on my back. My bristles tingle with fear. A coyote! It looks like I’m not the only hungry hunter out tonight! Before I can scramble away, an enormous paw pins me to the rock. Thinking quickly, I use one of my legs to scrape some hairs off my abdomen and kick them right into the coyote’s face. The tiny, stiff hairs irritate her eyes and nostrils, and with a confused yelp she lets me escape. The coyote has torn off one of my legs, but not to worry. I have seven left, and my eighth leg will grow back next time I molt.

Tired, and with my stomach full of delicious grasshopper, I scurry back to the safety of my den. As the sun begins to rise, I settle back down into my burrow to sleep in wait of another night’s hunt.

Grade 4 Animals (Stories)

What part of its body does a tarantula use as a defense?
  1. its legs
  2. its eyes
  3. its hairs
  4. its antennae
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