Where do tarantulas live in the world?

Where do tarantulas live in the world?

Last updated on February 1st, 2023 at 10:06 am

Where do tarantulas live in the world? Well, they have a global distribution, living in any region where the weather is warm enough. Let’s take a closer look…

You may wonder: Where do tarantulas live? As far as we know, tarantulas are found on every continent asides from Antarctica. While most people associate tarantulas with deserts and steamy jungles, you will find them in any tropical or subtropical climate zone and even in California! Read on to learn more about the world’s largest spiders.

What countries do tarantulas live in?

There are many different types, and they inhabitat almost every country with some tropical or subtropical climate zones.

For example, in Africa, Baboon spiders are widespread accross many countries. They are also known as the world’s meanest tarantulas. Common species include the Ornamental baboon and the King baboon. These are so-called because baboons like to eat them, which is why they are so quick to defend themselves by biting.

The Amazon region is a hotbed for tarantulas, and it is also one of the most diverse and specious habitats for these amazing creatures.

The nation of Brazil, that is home to most of the Amazon rainforest, has the world’s largest tarantulas, including the Goliath Birdeater and the Giant Tawny Red Tarantula.

where does the Goliath Tarantula live?
The Goliath Birdeater hails from Brazil and is the heaviest tarantula recorded so far

Do tarantulas live in North America?

In a word, yes. Tarantulas are a common sighting in the American southwest. They are common there, but few people actually see them most of the year.

Generally, they only venture out at night, and it is usually wandering males that are encountered. They are of course harmless. Further south, in Mexico, there is a great number of tarantula species, including some that are popular as pets, like the Mexican Red Knee.

Some people are scared of spiders, so they have a fear of them. However, these spiders are hugely beneficial for pest control in the countries where they live. 

Anywhere you encounter tarantulas, you can be sure that they are helping to control pest species like cockroaches, grasshoppers and locusts.

Texas Brown Tarantula
Texas Brown Tarantula

Are there tarantulas in Europe?

Most European Tarantulas aren’t real tarantualas. In fact, they’re a species commonly referred to as wolf spiders and inhabit the Southern European region. They are usually about 4cm in length, and the effects of their bite are known as tarentism. It is from this that the folk dance Tarantella was born, a fast, upbeat version of a classical ballet.

In ancient Italy, people believed that the bite was deadly, and that only the Tarantella dance would save them. This is where the name tarantula came from, despite the fact that Wolf spiders are completely unrelated to real tarantulas.

European “Tarantulas” live in colonies sometimes under rocks, where they are often littered with the remains of invertebrates. While the male does not aggressively pursue the female, she lays up to 300 eggs, which are then retained by the adult female until moulting. The adult female will then disperse with her spiderlings. 

When it comes to true tarantulas – meaning those in theraphosidae family – there are only a couple of species that occur in extreme southern Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and (probably) Portugal. The most common is Chaetopelma olivaceum that is often encountered in Cyprus and the Levant.

Are there tarantulas in California?

If you live in California, you may have seen a tarantula. These spiders are common in residential settings, but you may not have seen them in the wild. They typically  fall into pools and get trapped in the filter systems.

Tarantulas leave burrows when prey passes by, and they only emerge to feed when they see a potential meal. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are more than 850 species of tarantulas in the world, and there are about 18 species in California.

Unlike other spider species, tarantulas rarely eat their mates. Instead, they will use their pheromones to attract their mates, then usually let them go after mating (though accidents do happen!). During the mating season, male tarantulas may be seen in overgrown areas, so keep your yard free of clutter and trash if you do not wish to see them.

Arizona Blonde Tarantula Care Guide
Male Arizona Blonde Tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes). This species is often called the Western Tarantula or Desert Tarantula and is one of many species to inhabit southern California

Does Florida have tarantulas?

Tarantulas aren’t native to Florida, but they have made their way there through importation and the pet trade. Florida has two types of tarantulas.

The Mexican red rump tarantula, which grows to 6.5 inches in length, is the most common one. These critters live in the brushy hillsides of Florida and often turn abandoned rodent holes into habitat. Despite their size, they are not aggressive or lethal.

In the wild, tarantulas do not disperse very far, but in Florida, they have abundant food and proper soil for burrowing. This gives them the potential to become widespread. Unfortunately, Florida has been plagued by destructive invasive species for years.

Mexican Red Rump Tarantula
Mexican Red Rump Tarantula – a species found in southern Mexico, Central America, and now Florida

Other resources related to tarantulas in the world:

Tarantula Fact Sheet – Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Where do tarantulas live?

Tarantulas | National Wildlife Federation

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