Most people can at least recognize a tarantula. This is one of our local members and these are found in virtually all of Arkansas outside of the Delta counties, as well as portions of Missouri, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma. It is Aphonopelma baergi or possibly it is A. hentzi. Sometimes known as the Oklahoma Brown. Things are a bit confused in the AR Tarantula world. (See the link below for the survey. We may have up to three species.) The members of the group as a whole are tough to separate. But if you find one in Arkansas, for now, it is the species baergi, which was originally described from two specimens from Fayetteville (supposedly). It was previously in the genus Dugiesiella. Most of the rest of the US species are southwestern. There are now about 50 or more species in the genus Aphonopelma in the US. (See internet sources for California and Desert Tarantulas.)

Tarantulas are mostly harmless. Often living in burrows and under stones. They move about in late summer and sometimes in spring in apparent local movements. Large migrations occur in the southwest. They will bite if forced. The venom of our species is not powerful but the fangs are impressive. The spiders when cornered will also scrape the hairs off of the abdomen and legs with force. These can be very urticarial and even dangerous if taken in the eye.

These are long-lived creatures. And can live over thirty years as captives. This is a female. A male is pictured here http://www.e-spiderworld.com/gallery/pages/Aphonopelma%20hentzi%20mM.htm

My yard finally lured one in. I had seen them within one half mile of my place but this one came onto the porch in May 2012. And stayed for awhile. Probably a male and really strikingly different from the above female.