how fast do tarantulas move?

How Fast Do Tarantulas Move?

Last updated on May 3rd, 2023 at 02:07 pm

How fast do tarantulas move? Actually, most of time not very fast at all. But a predator threatens them, they are capable of short bursts of speed…

If you’ve ever wondered, How fast do tarantulas move?, you’re not alone. Tarantulas are exceptionally fast over shorter distances. While they’re not the most efficient runners over longer distances, their short-distance travels make them very difficult to track with the naked eye. In fact, short bursts of speed are one of their main strategies for escaping predators.

How fast is a tarantula in mph?

The average tarantula can reach a speed of eight to twenty-one inches per second, depending on its size, surface, and temperature. To find out how much this in mph you do the following calculation: inches per hour/17.6. So at the low end, slower tarantulas reach 8 inches per second/17.6 = 0.45MPH. The fastest tarantulas reach 21 inches per second/17.6 = 1.19MPH.

This might not sound fast to us, but for a tiny animal like a tarantula, 1.19MPH is extremely fast! It’s not surprising that they can only do this for very short sprints.

Their hydraulic legs help them move quickly and in several directions. This is important because tarantulas depend on their speed to capture their prey, rather than powerful venom.

Even though they run far over distances, tarantulas are still fast enough to catch other animals with their legs or escape predators.

There are several types of tarantulas, each with different speeds. For example, a green bottle blue tarantula can run extremely fast accross a room, but a zebra tarantula can only move dartingly at high speed.

Tarantulas have eight eyes, with two large eyes in the middle and three pairs on each side. The larger eyes are used to see far away objects and map distances. The smaller eyes are used for detecting movements. Unsurprisingly, scientists agree that they aren’t made for long-distance travelling.

Some of the fasted tarantulas include:

  • Gooty Saphire (Poecilotheria metallica)
  • Green Bottle Blue (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens)
  • Togo Starburst Tarantula (Heteroscodra maculata)
  • Socotra Island Blue Baboon (Monocentropus balfouri)
  • Caribbean Diamond Tarantula (Tapinauchenius rasti)

If you’d like to learn even more about tarantulas in the wild, I suggest checking out some of the following books:

How Fast Do Tarantulas Move?
Green Bottle Blue Tarantula

Can tarantulas jump?

Although it is rare to find footage of a tarantula jumping, some of them do jump surprisinly quickly. In fact, they can seriously hurt themselves by trying to jump off of your hands.

Some owners have reported seeing their spider leap up to a foot in the air. It is difficult to find video proof of this, but most commonly, tarantulas will leap off a raised surface, like someone’s hand, and then land at a lower surface. While this may seem harmless, a tarantula can sustain considerable damage from a simple fall.

Tarantulas have an extremely delicate abdomen. Instead of being covered by tough exoskeleton like the rest of the body, it is covered by a thin membrane which ruptures easily.

Following a fall, tarantulas will often rupture their abdomen, and their version of blood – hemolymph – quickly leaks out. In this situation, it is almost impossible to save them. If you handle your tarantula, always do it on the floor, and never raise it more than a couple of inches in the air.

How Fast Do Tarantulas Move?
Arboreal tarantulas, like the Common Pink Toe Tarantula (Avicularia avicularia) are often particularly fast, and good at jumping.

How far can a tarantula jump?

The answer to the question, “How far can a tarantula hop?” may surprise you. In fact, tarantulas can jump up to eleven inches.

However, their jumping abilities vary considerably across species. Some species are adapted to jumping from low levels, while others have evolved to jump higher than their bodies are comfortable with.

Nevertheless, the truth remains: tarantulas can jump very high – and sometimes this is dangerous to them. In all likelihood, jumping high is probably a last-ditch defense strategy to escape predators.

The logic here is: even if you have a delicate abdomen and jump could kill you, it’s better to risk possible death from a jump rather than certain death from a predator.

How Fast Do Tarantulas Move?
Chilean rose tarantula – even chunky species like this can run fast if they have to, and jump

How fast would a spider run if it was human size?

Unlike humans, spiders move by using hydraulics, which means they do not have internal skeletons. Instead, they use an exoskeleton, or shell, made of overlapping strands of silk. Spiders also lack the muscles that vertebrates have, like the heart and lungs.

Their exoskeletons are also fairly heavy, meaning that it’s not certain how well they could move if they were much more than a foot or so accross. That said, in proportion to their size, they are much, much faster than a human.

If a spider was human size, and wasn’t limited by its anatomy, it would be several times faster than a human over short distances. It would be able to pounce on you before you had even started to run.

Realistically, it’s impossible to give a precise estimate, but it’s not hard to imagine that a tarantula capable of running at 1.19mph – despite being a tiny animal – could run at 60 to 70mph if it were as large as a human.

Arizona Blonde Tarantula Care Guide
Male Arizona Blonde Tarantula.

How fast can a tarantula kill you?

If you’re trying to figure out how fast a tarantula can kill you, consider a few things:

  • tarantulas aren’t venomous enough to kill you that way! They are only dangerous if you have a specific allergy to them (rare)
  • they prefer to run, rather than bite
  • many of them are docile
  • tarantulas are less venomous and less dangerous than many other spiders, insects and arachnids

If you come into contact with a tarantula, the most likely outcome is that it flicks a cloud of urticating hairs at you (if you live in the Americas, that is – in the Old World they don’t do this).

This cloud is especially irritating if the hairs get into your eyes, but it’s not particularly dangerous. In fact, most tarantula’s bites aren’t that dangerous either. There are a few species that give very painful bites accompanied by illness, but these are the exception, not the rule.

Notwithstanding, it’s important to remember that any venomous animal can cause an allergic reaction! If you get stung by a wasp, bee, spider, jellyfish or fly – always look out for signs of an allergy. These include symptoms like shortness of breath, hives, or swelling of the lips and face.

Symptoms like this can be anaphylaxis, and very severe and dangerous type of allergic reaction. It doesn’t matter what bit you – tarantula or not – you should always seek medical attention immediately if you suspect this is happening.

FAQ related to how fast tarantulas move

How fast can a tarantula walk?

Tarantulas walk at a slow pace unless they are in danger. This slow, meandering pace is often dependent on temperature too: the cooler it is, the slower the tarantula. Nonetheless, they can run – or run – extremely fast for their size when threatened. Some have even been clocked at twenty-one inches per second.

Are tarantulas faster than humans?

Tarantulas are not faster than humans on open ground because of how much larger we are. All things in proportion, running down the block for us would be like running a few miles to them. For their size though, they are much faster than humans. If we were the same size as them we would have no chance whatsoever of outrunning one.

How fast can spiders run?

Spiders are hugely variable in weight, legspan and agility. Some are relatively slow, and much more adapted to life hanging in a web than running. Others, like tarantulas and wolf spiders, are more adapted to life on the open ground and regularly run to catch prey or avoid predators. Species such as these can run at a minimum of 8 inches per second.

Can a tarantula paralyze a human?

There is no species of tarantula known to science that can paralyze a human. They just have enough venom, or strong enough venom. That said, some species can cause illness and very painful reactions. One example is the Gooty Saphire Tarantula, whose bite can cause sever stomach cramps.

Other resources related to how fast do tarantulas move:

How Fast Can a Tarantula Run? – Fauna Facts

How fast can a tarantula be? – Arachnoboards

Tarantula fact sheet

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