Fun Tarantula Spider Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
May 16, 2023 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
Find the most interesting tarantula spider facts for kids right here.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.4 Min

Tarantula spiders belong to the family Theraposidae. This is a family that features lots of large and often hairy spiders. The term can sometimes be used to describe members of the infra-order Mygalomorphae that they fall under as well. Tarantulas are found commonly in South, Central, and North America.

They are carnivorous and are known to go after large insects such as centipedes and millipedes. They also hunt small animals like lizards, bats, and mice. They have recently become popular as pets and thrive in captivity under specific circumstances.

New World species of tarantulas such as the bird-eating goliath tarantula have urticating hairs on their abdomen. These tarantulas can cause reactions in humans as these hairs can irritate the skin, cause damage to the mucous membranes of the nose and penetrate the cornea too.

Old World tarantulas do not have these urticating hairs on their abdomen, but the venom on their fangs is more potent.

You can also check out our fact files on the yellow sac spider and the Brazilian wandering spider too.

Tarantula Spider Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tarantula spider?

Tarantulas comprise a group of large and usually hairy spiders. Examples include the Missouri tarantula and Goliath bird-eaters.

What class of animal does a tarantula spider belong to?

Tarantulas are arachnids.

How many tarantula spiders are there in the world?

Around 1000 species of tarantula have been identified. Some of these are very rare, such as the spruce-fir moss spider (Microhexura montivaga), and are barely present in the wild. Overall, the population of tarantulas is large, though confined to certain areas.

Where does a tarantula spider live?

Various species of tarantulas live throughout North and Central America, including Mexico and the United States. They are also present in South America.

Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, southern Italy, and Turkey are the main hotspots in Europe and they are also found in Asia, throughout Australia as well as in Africa. The Ryukyu Islands in southern Japan are noted tarantula hotspots in Asia.

What is a tarantula spider's habitat?

The natural habitats of a tarantula spider range from the rainforest and scrubland, to cloud forests, deserts, and mountains as well as grasslands like pampas and the savanna. Tarantulas can live on moss on rocks, burrowing underground, or on trees, depending on their predators and prey in the area.

Who do tarantula spiders live with?

Tarantulas live a solitary existence.

How long does a tarantula spider live?

Most tarantula species take between two and five years to reach maturity, but some may take up to 10. Males tend to have just one year left to live after they reach maturity.

Male tarantulas are rarely known to molt, but when they do they risk death. Female tarantula spiders can reach anywhere between thirty and forty years of age, and they continue to molt after reaching maturity.

How do they reproduce?

A mature female tarantula is receptive to mating and laying eggs once a year. After meeting a female spider, both tarantula spiders exchange signals to establish they are of the same species before mating.

Depending on the species, females end up depositing anywhere between 50 to 2000 eggs in a silk egg sac and they guard it for six to eight weeks.

During this period, females often end up turning the egg sac, which is referred to as brooding, to keep any eggs from deforming. The young spiderlings eat the remains of their yolk sacs after hatching.

What is their conservation status?

Many tarantulas are Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Tarantula Spider Fun Facts

What do tarantula spiders look like?

Tarantula spiders are large and hairy. They are normally brown or black, but there are a few species that are brilliantly colored as well. Their fangs are prominent and look menacing and they have eight eyes. They also have not one leg, but eight legs.

A Tarantula spider on the sand.

How cute are they?

Tarantulas are typically quite scary but they can be considered very cute to people without arachnophobia.

How do they communicate?

Researchers have proposed that the vibrant colors of tarantula spiders may be used to communicate between potential mates.

How big is a tarantula spider?

The smallest tarantula spiders, such as the spruce-fir moss spider, are smaller than centipedes. The biggest, such as the bird-eating goliath tarantula (Theraphosa blondi), is bigger than small bats.

How fast can tarantula spiders move?

Tarantulas are a fast species. In tests, some tarantulas covered 5 ft (1.5 m) in a second.

A Missouri tarantula can move about 10 body lengths a second at 100 F (37.8 C), as opposed to four body lengths a second at 62 F (16.7 C). Temperature, size, and leg span all come into play when it comes to their speed and their leg span makes them fast and able to catch prey easily.

How much does a tarantula spider weigh?

Different species weigh between 1-6 oz (28-170 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female tarantula spiders do not have specific names.

What would you call a baby tarantula spider?

A baby tarantula spider is called a spiderling.

What do they eat?

A tarantula’s diet depends on how large it is. They eat insects, centipedes, millipedes, and other spiders. Larger species of tarantula have been known to eat insects too, but also species of mice, bats, smaller snakes, birds, and lizards.

Are they harmful?

Tarantulas are important to the ecosystem as they eat pests like mice. However, they are harmful to humans as their fangs and bites are venomous.

Would they make a good pet?

Some tarantulas live as pets in captivity, they cost between $25-75. Sadly, it is unlikely that tarantulas can recognize their owners.

Did you know...

Some tarantula species are preyed upon by a species of predators, known as tarantula hawk wasps. These predators can track a large tarantula to its lair, deliver a paralyzing sting, and then drag it back to its burrow to lay its egg on the prey’s abdomen.

The predator wasp then seals the tarantula in the burrow. The wasp egg hatches into a wasp larva that feeds on the non-essential bits of the spider. Tarantula species have to be aware of these wasp predators throughout their lives.

What is interesting about tarantulas?

Tarantulas do not sleep as we know it but they do have definite circadian rhythms, separating a period of rest and activity.

When it comes to the Missouri tarantula vs wolf spider, Missouri spiders are tarantulas, but wolf spiders are not! A variety of wolf spiders was called the Lycosa tarantula, but it does not fall into the same species.

Tarantula spiders and humans

While tarantulas can be venomous, their bites do not kill humans, and their urticating hairs don't either, though they can sting. They don't tend to bite as they are more docile than friendly; they are more to chase and bite lizards. They have fragile exoskeletons, and people prone to dropping things should not keep them as pets!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arachnids including the six-eyed sand spider, or the orb-weaver spider.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our tarantula spider coloring pages.

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Sources

https://ypte.org.uk/factsheets/tarantulas/breeding

https://www.thesprucepets.com/how-do-tarantulas-mate-5217504

http://www.cec.org/cites/wp-content/themes/foodwaste-theme/documents/tarantulas-iucn-red-list-assessment-en.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarantula

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/facts/tarantulas

https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=99263&page=1

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Deeti Gupta picture

Deeti GuptaBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

A detail-oriented fact-checker with a research-oriented approach. Devika has a passion for creative writing, she has been published on multiple digital publishing platforms and editorials before joining the Kidadl team. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St.Xavier's College, Deeti has won several accolades and writing competitions throughout her academic career.

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