How Long Do Tarantulas Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 15 – 25 Years

Tarantulas, popularly known as nocturnal hunters, live in dry, well-drained soil in deserts and open areas of the grassland regions. They can be seen all through the world, occurring in different sizes and colors. Tarantulas are nothing but big hairy spiders commonly found in the southwestern states of the United States, Mexico, and tropical America.

Tarantulas are often kept as exotic pets by many people across the globe. There are numerous species of tarantulas present in the world. Among them all, the largest species of tarantulas belong to the genus Theraphosa and are known to be found in South America. Tarantulas are borrowers that make their homes deep inside the soil.

A tarantula is an invertebrate that has to rely on its exoskeleton for support. Its body consists of two parts. Its size can range from as small as a pea to as big as a giant dinner plate. The average length of a tarantula is about 5 to 11 cm with its legs spanning across 8 to 30 cm. Some of the largest species of tarantulas are said to weigh even more than 85 g.

How Long Do Tarantulas Live?

Just like most spiders, tarantulas shed their exoskeleton in their process of growing. This process is known by the name molting. Tarantulas are known for living for many years. Most of the species of tarantulas take about 2 – 5 years to reach adulthood. However, certain species even take as long as 10 years to reach maturity.

Male tarantulas are generally known to have a shorter life span than female tarantulas. Females are known to live twice as long as compared to their male counterparts. Tarantulas live longer when they are out in the wild rather than if kept in captivity as pets at home.

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The Mexican Redleg tarantula is said to be the longest-living species of tarantula with a lifespan of about 30 – 35 years. The main reason behind this substantially huge lifespan is the fact that tarantulas don’t have many predators. It has also been noticed that the higher is the temperature of the environment, the shorter is the lifespan of a tarantula.

Male tarantulas only have a few years to live after they have reached their maturity as opposed to female tarantulas who continue to have a long life. female tarantulas can live even up to 30 – 40 years depending on their living conditions, health, and also the type of species they belong to.

TypeDuration
Male tarantulas10 – 15 years
Female tarantulas20 – 40 years

Why Do Tarantulas Live This Long?

On average, female tarantulas kept in captivity can live for decades-long whereas the male ones might survive only for 5 to 8 years. However, with proper care and attention, females can live up to 30 years while males up to 15 years, depending on their species.

Tarantulas are known as bird-eaters for a very long time. Though this behavior is rarely observed. The most primary prey of tarantulas is generally earthworms. However, tarantulas are capable of killing and consuming small vertebrates such as snakes, lizards, frogs, bats, rats, young birds, etc. Thus, they are typically safe from an aggressive predator which is a contributing factor to their long lifespan.

Tarantulas are harmless to humans although a bite from a tarantula can be quite painful. The venom of a tarantula is known to be weaker and milder than that of a bee’s venom. Tarantulas are widely popular among arachnid enthusiasts and are kept as pets by them.

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A tarantula does not use a web to catch its prey. Instead, it grabs the prey with its appendages, injects paralyzing venom in its body, and captures its victims with its fangs. It should be remembered that the more the food, the shorter is the lifespan. Thus, tarantulas must engage in a moderate diet to ensure their longevity. Also, the genetics of tarantulas could influence and can determine the lifespan of tarantula, just as it has for all living things.

Conclusion

Tarantulas, the world’s biggest spiders are both feared and loved. There are more than 800 different species of tarantulas currently in existence. They primarily live in the tropical and deserted regions of the world are majorly found in South America. In the case of tarantulas, females have a longer lifespan as compared to males. A male tarantula can survive for about 10 years while a female can live as long as up to 30 years.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550857906801981
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.3109/15563659809162586
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