Did You Know? 15 Incredible Desert Tarantula Facts

Desert tarantula facts such as, in the Sonoran Desert, the body of a desert tarantula can measure up to 4 in (10.16 cm), are interesting.

The term 'tarantula' can be traced to a southern Italian town called Taranto. The term was used to refer to a European wolf spider (Lycosa tarantula). The name 'tarantula' was further used to address some of the larger spiders found in Europe.

Desert tarantulas are a kind of large and hairy spiders. Desert tarantulas Aphonopelma chalcodes or are commonly called Arizona blond tarantula, western desert tarantula or Mexican blond tarantula. It has a concentrated distribution in the deserts of Arizona and Mexico. They are among the 50 native species of terrestrial tarantulas that are commonly witnessed in the Central and South America.

Desert tarantulas do not possess setae like spiders. Although the body structures of spiders and tarantulas are alike on many levels, tarantulas have true hairs unlike spiders. They are called blond tarantulas due to the patch of pale hairs on their carapace. The hairs strikingly contrasts the dark body and legs of the tarantula.

Contrary to the common belief and notion that tarantulas are harmful and dangerous, desert tarantulas are, in fact, docile, calm and reclusive. A desert tarantula could come across as fearsome and harmful due to the fangs on its body.

You will find in this article desert blonde tarantula facts, information like desert tarantula's Aphonopelma urticating hairs, desert tarantula Aphonopelma chalcodes abdomen facts, desert tarantula hairy predators, how desert blonde tarantula escape from predators, Arizona desert tarantula males characteristics, desert tarantula sting results, and so on.

For more relatable content, check out these yellow sac spider facts and Brazilian wandering spider facts for kids.

Desert Tarantula

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Small Spiders, grasshoppers, beetles

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.06-0.18 lb (28-85 g)

How long are they?

4.5 -11 in (11.4 -28 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown, Golden, Gray

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Lizards, snakes, spider-eating birds, foxes, coyotes

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Dry, drained soils, deserts, grasslands


Africa, Southern Europe, Southern Asia, Middle-East, Australia, Central and South America





Scientific Name

Aphonopelma chalcodes





Desert Tarantula Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a desert tarantula?

A desert tarantula is a kind of large spider seen mostly in desert regions. Desert tarantulas are nocturnal creatures; they get out of their burrows to hunt when it is cooler outside. During the day, they spend their time inside the silk-lined burrows or under the rock. They are adept at stalking and ambushing their prey out of nowhere. They are skilled hunters and stalkers. Some other tarantula spiders are Mexican red-knee tarantula, Indian ornamental tarantula and curly hair tarantula.

What class of animal does a desert tarantula belong to?

It belongs to the class of Arachnida and the family of theraphosidae.

How many desert tarantulas are there in the world?

Desert tarantulas are not an endangered species. They are seen in plenty in the regions where their population is concentrated. They are largely spotted in the arid desert regions of Central and South America.

Where does a desert tarantulaa live?

Desert tarantulas live in arid and dry regions like deserts, dry and drained soil, sparse grasslands, shrub lands. The species is typically seen in shrubbery and vegetation containing saguaro cactus plants. The population of desert tarantulas is concentrated in the desert and sandy areas of North Mexico, Arizona, west of the Mississippi River, and north and central California. More than four dozen species of desert tarantulas are seen across the United States and Mexico.

Apart from the United States, desert tarantulas are seen in certain regions of the Middle East, almost in all parts of Indonesia and other regions of South Asia, South Europe and Australia. Almost 850 species of tarantulas are found across the globe.

What is a desert tarantula's habitat?

Desert tarantulas are spotted in sultry, dry and arid desert regions, particularly where saguaro cactus grows. North American tarantulas dwell on the ground. Some other species inhabit trees, caves, cliffs and some crops. Joshua trees forest and shrubs like creosote bushes set the excellent ecosystem for desert tarantulas' habitat.

Desert tarantulas are spotted in the crevices of rocks at the foothills of mountains ranges, loose barks of trees, large roots of trees of forested desert regions. They can dig burrows as deep as 6 in (15.24 cm). Ordinarily, tarantulas are burrowing creatures. They use their fangs to dig out a burrow to stay in, or they occupy an abandoned burrow.

Who do desert tarantulas live with?

A desert tarantula is a solitary creature. It does not lead a communal life. It digs a burrow and lives on its own, unless it is time to mate.

How long does a desert tarantula live?

Female desert tarantulas can live up to 25 years. Male tarantulas usually live for about 10-12 years. After 10-12 years, the male species mature and leave their burrows.

How do they reproduce?

Male desert tarantulas leave their habitat or burrow in search of females when they mature. They mature at around 10-12 years of age. They search for female tarantulas who are at least 10 years of age. Upon reaching the burrow of the female tarantula, the male tarantula makes her aware of his presence stroking silk substance at the top of the burrow. The male tarantula taps the silk at the top of the burrow in a particular sequence that the female is familiar with, and she responds to it.

There are two pedipalps lateral to the jaws of a tarantula. During the process of mating, the male reaches under the female to insert his pedipalp in her gonopore. In this manner, he deposits his sperm. The pair of legs on the frontal part of a male's body has a spur behind the knees. He uses the spur to the hold the female during copulation. After the process of mating, the male tarantula hastily retreats. The female lays eggs in the burrow. Spiderlings hatch in the burrow.

The male becomes vulnerable after mating. The female tends to prey on the male tarantula after the process of mating. The male tarantula does not survive for long after his summer mating. They sometimes die to excessive exposure to heat and cold.

What is their conservation status?

Some species of tarantulas are feared to be Endangered due to the destruction of their homes or poaching. They are poached to kept as exotic pets by humans. Desert tarantulas, however, are in the Least Concern category at the moment. They are seen in abundant numbers in the regions conducive to them.

Desert Tarantula Fun Facts

What do desert tarantulas look like?

Desert tarantulas are like large spiders with certain physical differences. Tarantulas have two body parts-the abdomen and cephalothorax. They also have two pedipalps and eight walking legs. The female tarantula usually has one solid tan color. The male counterparts have black legs, red abdomen and copper cephalothorax. Their carapace and legs is covered with pale hairs that contrasts with their bodies.

Females live twice as long as the male tarantulas.

How cute are they?

Desert tarantulas do not have appealing physical features. They are members of the Theraphosidae family that contains large spiders with thick hairs and bristles over their carapace and legs. On the contrary, they could be scary and have fearsome appearance.

How do they communicate?

Desert tarantulas do not lead communal lives. They tend to live on their own, thus eliminating the need to communicate with their own. But they do have senses on their body hairs. They only communicate with the female tarantulas in their peculiar way when it is time for mating.

Desert tarantulas stroke and tap the silk lines on the top of their burrows that alerts the female tarantulas.

How big is a desert tarantula?

Western desert tarantula are bigger than Mojave desert tarantula. Mojave desert tarantula can grown up to 4 in (10.1 cm) whereas western desert tarantula can grow up to 11 in (27.94 cm).

How fast can desert tarantulas move?

Tarantulas are reasonably swift. Especially if it is chasing a prey or protecting itself from a threat, they tend to move fast. They can run up to 10 mph (16 kph).

How much does a desert tarantula weigh?

Desert tarantulas usually weigh in the range of 0.05- 0.2 lb (23-85 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no different terms.

What would you call a baby desert tarantula?

Baby tarantulas are called spiderlings.

What do they eat?

Desert tarantulas feed on small insects like beetles, spiders.

Are they harmful?

Despite their bizarre and creepy appearance, tarantulas are relatively harmless to humans. However, they can cause a painful bite and cause an allergic reaction in some. Their venom is weaker than that of a bee's.

Would they make a good pet?

Desert tarantulas are kept as an exotic pet which is causing an alarm in their conservation. However, they do not have any utility value or an appealing appearance that would qualify as being a good pet.

Did you know...

The species of desert tarantulas suffer from the condition of dimorphism. Females are bigger and stockier than the male counterparts. The males are leaner and lankier.

In the process of molting, females can shed their old internal organs. They can even regrow appendages.

Tarantulas do not have teeth. They rely on injecting venom on their fangs to prey.

The desert tarantula's habitat

The tarantulas survive in sultry desert regions by digging deep burrows. The burrows offer shady shelter in the areas that can be extremely hot.

What is interesting about tarantulas?

Females tarantula resort to sexual cannibalism after mating. They devour their mate out of hostility and aggression. Their venom is mildly potent.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these six-eyed sand spider facts and orb-weaver spider facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Tarantula  coloring pages.



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