How Long Do Tarantulas Live? Unraveling the Lifespan Mystery

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Tarantulas are fascinating creatures, known for their large size and sometimes feared appearance. Despite their intimidating looks, they have an interesting life span that sets them apart from other spiders.

In general, the life expectancy of tarantulas largely depends on their sex. Female tarantulas can live up to 20-25 years, while males typically have a shorter lifespan of 7-8 years (. Life in the wild also presents its challenges, as tarantulas face a variety of natural predators like larger lizards, snakes, and birds.

Tarantulas spend most of their time close to their burrows, coming out mainly at night, which adds a degree of safety to their lives. Though often feared, these creatures are truly fascinating addition to the world of arachnids and provide an intriguing subject for further exploration.

So, now you know the basics of how long tarantulas typically live. Their lifespan is vastly different depending on their sex, and their natural habitat provides its own challenges and protections. With this understanding, you can appreciate these fascinating creatures from a new perspective.

Tarantula Lifespan Basics

Factors Affecting Lifespan

Tarantulas have a wide range of lifespans. The average lifespan in the wild can be up to 30 years 1. This varies by species and gender. Female tarantulas typically live longer than males. For example, a female can live 7 to 30 years, while males usually only live a few years 2.

Species

Different species of tarantulas have different lifespans. Some examples include:

  • Mexican Redknee Tarantula: Females live up to 25 years; males live up to 5 years
  • Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula: Females live up to 15 years; males live up to 5 years

Environmental Factors

Tarantulas need a suitable environment to thrive and reach their full lifespan potential. Factors to consider include:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Availability of food and water
  • Safe hiding spots

A well-maintained habitat can significantly impact a tarantula’s lifespan.

Here’s a comparison table for the lifespans of different types of tarantulas:

Tarantula Species Female Lifespan Male Lifespan
Mexican Redknee Up to 25 years Up to 5 years
Chilean Rose Hair Up to 15 years Up to 5 years

In conclusion, tarantula lifespans vary greatly depending on species, gender, and environmental factors. Providing the right habitat and care can help ensure a long and healthy life for these fascinating creatures.

Lifespan in Captivity vs. The Wild

Captive Care Requirements

Tarantulas can live a long time in captivity, often much longer than in the wild. Their lifespan varies depending on species, but some tarantulas can live 10 to 30 years1. Providing an appropriate environment is essential. This includes:

  • A clean, secure enclosure
  • Proper substrate and hiding spots
  • Adequate temperature and humidity
  • Access to fresh water and appropriate food

In captivity, tarantulas are less exposed to predators and harsh environmental conditions. This contributes to their extended lifespan.

Natural Habitats and Dangers

In the wild, tarantulas face multiple threats. These include changing a habitat, predators, and scarcity of food. For example, the Goliath bird-eating tarantula inhabits the rainforest regions of northern South America2. In their natural environment, they encounter various dangers such as:

  • Habitat destruction due to deforestation
  • Predators like birds, reptiles, and other arachnids
  • Competition for resources and territory

These factors limit their lifespan in the wild, which is often shorter than in captivity.

Factor Captivity The Wild
Lifespan Longer Shorter
Predators Rare Common
Food Availability Consistent Variable

In conclusion, tarantulas in captivity generally enjoy an extended lifespan compared to their wild counterparts. Providing the proper care and environment can ensure that these fascinating creatures thrive as pets.

Different Tarantula Species and Their Lifespans

Short-Lived Species

Males of most tarantula species have shorter lifespans than females. For instance, a male tarantula from the United States typically lives about 7-8 years.

Characteristics of short-lived species:

  • Mostly males
  • Live 7-8 years on average
  • Smaller in size

Long-Lived Species

On the other hand, female tarantulas can live much longer. Some species of female tarantulas can live for 20-25 years. The Goliath bird-eating tarantula, for example, has a leg span of up to 11 inches and is the largest tarantula species.

Characteristics of long-lived species:

  • Mostly females
  • Live 20-25 years on average
  • Larger in size
Features Short-Lived Species Long-Lived Species
Average Lifespan 7-8 years 20-25 years
Typical Size Smaller Larger
Gender Mostly males Mostly females

In summary, tarantula lifespans vary depending on the species and gender. Males tend to have shorter lifetimes, while females live significantly longer.

Tarantula Lifespan Stages

Molting and Growing

Tarantulas experience a unique growth process called molting. During molting, tarantulas shed their exoskeleton to grow larger:

  • Molting helps tarantulas replace damaged body parts and renew sensory hairs.
  • Tarantulas become vulnerable during molting, hiding until their new exoskeleton hardens.

Molting frequency dwindles as tarantulas age:

  • Young tarantulas molt more frequently (every few weeks).
  • Adult tarantulas molt, on average, once a year.

Maturity and Reproduction

Maturity and reproduction play a vital role in tarantula lifespan. Males tend to live for 7-8 years, while females can live up to 20-25 years.

Here is a comparison table illustrating differences between male and female tarantula lifespan:

Gender Avg. Lifespan
Male 7-8 years
Female 20-25 years

Mating is crucial during a tarantula’s maturity stage:

  • Male tarantulas search for females, sensing them through pheromones.
  • Males risk their lives during mating due to the possibility of being eaten by females.

Let’s list some key points about tarantula reproduction:

  • Most species reproduce through indirect fertilization, using a sperm web and pedipalps.
  • Female tarantulas lay hundreds of eggs in an egg sac shortly after fertilization.

Threats to Tarantula Lifespans

Natural Predators

Tarantulas face several natural predators that can shorten their lifetimes. Some of these predators include:

  • Larger lizards
  • Snakes
  • Birds

One of the most ferocious predators of tarantulas is the tarantula hawk, a type of parasitic Pepsis wasp. These wasps are known for their painful sting and their ability to hunt and paralyze tarantulas.

Diseases and Parasites

Tarantulas may also suffer from diseases, infections, and parasites that can impact their lifespan. The parasitic Pepsis wasp, in particular, poses a significant threat to tarantulas as it lays its eggs in the paralyzed spider’s body. When the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae feed on the immobilized tarantula.

Threat Effect on Tarantula Lifespan
Natural Predators Early death due to predation
Diseases and Parasites Reduced lifespan and health issues

Interesting Tarantula Facts

Venom and Pain

Tarantulas are known for their venom, but it’s worth noting that these creatures pose no serious danger to humans. While their venom can cause a bite to be painful, it is generally not life-threatening for human beings. Here are some quick facts about tarantula venom:

  • Usually harmless to humans
  • Can cause pain and discomfort
  • May lead to swelling and redness

Color and Size

Tarantulas come in various colors and sizes, depending on the species. The Goliath bird-eating tarantula holds the title as the biggest tarantula in the world:

  • Body up to 4.75 inches (12 centimeters)
  • Leg span of up to 11 inches (28 centimeters)

On the smaller side, the Chilean rose tarantula measures:

  • Females: average leg span of 5 inches (12-13 centimeters)
  • Males: average leg span of 3.5 inches (9 centimeters)

Here’s a comparison table of the two species mentioned above:

Species Body Length Leg Span
Goliath Bird-eating Up to 4.75 inches Up to 11 inches
Chilean Rose (Female) N/A 5 inches
Chilean Rose (Male) N/A 3.5 inches

In terms of color, some tarantulas like the pink-toed tarantula have unique and vibrant colors. For instance:

  • Marked by pink-colored toes
  • Generally small in size

Other species, like the Chilean rose tarantula, might have a more subdued color palette but can still be visually striking.

Footnotes

  1. (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/facts/tarantulas) 2

  2. (https://www.petco.com/content/petco/PetcoStore/en_US/pet-services/resource-center/caresheets/tarantula-care-sheet.html) 2

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Tarantula

 

Tarantula?
I hope you can venture a guess on this large spider, which turned up in my living room in Sonoma County California this morning. The picture is not great, but that’s a Pretenders LP cover. It was not particularly hairy, but did have lots of small spiny protrusions on the legs, and some fine cinamon colored hairs on some upper leg parts. Otherwise, all just sort of charcoal color, with no obvious markings, with the exception of a sort of radiation symbol mark on its thorax (not abdomen). At the end of the abdomen were two distinct downward pointing hooks, resembling fangs. This guy was ready for a fight.
Thanks, and once again, sorry for the poor picture, but I was hoping that region size and description would help.
Stefen Soltysiak
Director of Education
Rodney Strong Vineyards

Hi Stefen,
You shouldn’t be so harsh about the quality of your photograph. What is lacks in sharpness, it more than makes up for in creativity. You can’t miss with the Pretenders. You sure do have a Tarantula. Tarantulas belong to the family Theraphosidae. About 30 species of Tarantulas live within the United States, for the most part in the arid Southwest. Many California species belong to the genus Aphonopelma. Tarantulas often live in colonies in burrows in the ground. They often loose much of their hair just before molting. Though they rarely bite and have weak venom, it is possible for dislodged hairs to cause inflamation if they become imbedded in skin or eyes, a possible defense mechanism. The downward pointing hooks on the abdomen you mention are actually spinnerettes for spinning silk.

Letter 2 – Tarantula

 

Subject: what species?
Location: Ramona, CA
June 23, 2015 7:15 pm
I found this little cutey crawling across my living room floor last night. I was wondering what species of tarantula it is. So that I can give it the best care possible.
Thanks!
Signature: Erica

Tarantula
Tarantula

Dear Erica,
Your Tarantula looks to us to be
Aphonopelma eutylenum based on the images and range provided on BugGuide.  Other than habitat, we don’t believe the care of Tarantulas differs much between species.  Obviously desert species have different habitat needs than jungle species.  We would suggest you consult a local pet store that specializes in arthropods and also that you consult some online forums.  We always believe wild creatures are best left in the wild.

Tarantula
Tarantula

Letter 3 – Tarantula

 

Subject: What kind of spider is this?
Location: Southern California
September 29, 2015 12:32 am
We live in the mountains of Southern California, and this was outside our front door this morning. I am having a hard time figuring out what it is. It is probably 1.5-2″ in diameter.
Signature: Shannon

Tarantula
Tarantula

Dear Shannon,
This is a Tarantula, and if you are in the mountains, we suspect you have considerable amounts of open space that can provide habitat for Tarantulas which have been eliminated in many urban areas because of over building and habitat loss.

Thanks for getting back to me! I thought it was a tarantula, but I couldn’t be sure. Is it probably young since it is small-ish?

That is possible.  Males tend to travel in search of mates and they are smaller than females, and California Tarantulas are smaller than many tropical relatives.

Letter 4 – Tarantula

 

Subject: Tarantula Spider ?
Location: Orange, CA
July 23, 2016 8:52 am
This spider was found around 10:30pm. It was over 100 F here during the day so I am not sure if the heat confused it? It was found On a driveway near a garden. The legs seem more slender than other pictures of tarantulas I have seen. If you look closely you can notice darker black banding on its legs. Just wondering what it’s species is?
Signature: Courtney

Tarantula
Tarantula

Dear Courtney,
This is most definitely a Tarantula.

Letter 5 – Tarantula

 

Subject: Big Spider
Location: Georgetown, California
June 3, 2017 11:05 am
Hello,
A few days ago my sister brought me a spider to identify. She lives in a wooded area above Georgetown, Ca. She thought it was a tarantula and I thought it was a wolf spider. **I did not kill the spider** It escaped the container it was in and I found her(?) body today. I had originally wanted my sister to take her(?) back to the mountain area where originally found. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Signature: Jen

Tarantula

Hi Jen,
This looks to us like a male Tarantula.  We suspect your sister encountered him when he was searching for a mate.  Male Tarantulas are much shorter lived than females.

Letter 6 – Tarantula

 

Subject: looks like a spider
Location: Henderson, NV
August 16, 2017 11:15 am
Good morning!
I spotted this spider on my street Monday night. I have no idea what it is.
Please let me know if it is a tarantula or some other species.
Thanks!
Signature: Michelle

Tarantula

Dear Michelle,
Wow, that is a handsome male Tarantula.  We cannot locate an image on BugGuide of a Tarantula in the genus Aphonopelma with an abdomen as light as that in your individual, but we don’t even know if that is diagnostic.  Perhaps one of our readers can help with a species.

Letter 7 – Tarantula

 

Subject:  Unknown large spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Western Sierra Nevada foothills
Date: 09/30/2017
Time: 03:06 PM EDT
Could you tell me what this spider is?
How you want your letter signed:  Jesse

Tarantula

Dear Jesse,
This Tarantula might be
Aphonopelma eutylenum, a species found in California and represented on BugGuide.  This Reddit image is described as a “California Ebony Tarantula (Aphonopelma eutylenum).”

Tarantula

Letter 8 – Tarantula

 

Subject:  tarantula
Geographic location of the bug:  las vegas nevada
Date: 01/02/2018
Time: 01:21 AM EDT
Hello, my name is Amadeus and i was wondering if you knew if you knew if this is a barbarian tarantula or something else
How you want your letter signed:  Amadeus Robinson

Tarantula

Dear Amadeus,
We have not heard of a Barbarian Tarantula.  This is a Tarantula, and based on this BugGuide image, it might be
Aphonopelma iodius.

Authors

  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
Tags: Tarantulas

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