5 Tarantula Species You Want to Know More About

Tarantulas are the most sizable spiders living on Earth and are both awe-inspiring and fear-inducing. These five species are no exception.

Sep 2, 2023By Amy Brannan
tarantula species you want to know more about

Arachnophobia is one of the most common fears among humans, and tarantulas do little to further the popularity of arachnids. To some, though, these eight-legged arthropods are simply fascinating.

From the eleven-inch leg span of the goliath birdeater to the brilliantly colored pink-toe tarantula, these five tarantula species are something to write home about whether you are a spider lover or not!

Goliath Bird Eater

goliath birdeater
Image credit: Image by wirestock on Freepik

Measuring 5.1 inches long and weighing 6.2 oz, the goliath bird eater is the most sizeable spider in the world. Native to the rainforests of northern South America, this enormous arachnid is a solitary creature that lives under tree roots in burrows lined with their silk.

The goliath bird eater has a leg span of 11 inches, a number topped only by the giant huntsman spider with its 12-inch leg span. This incredible leg span allows the goliath bird eater to snatch up prey like rodents and frogs, but despite their name, they only rarely feast on birds and eat insects.

These nocturnal tarantulas audibly hiss when threatened and are extremely fast as far as tarantulas go. If pushed, the goliath bird eater will rub together its legs and shoot hairs at predators. These hairs are irritating but not as bad as the inch-long fangs it uses to kill and consume prey!

Blue Tarantula

blue tarantula

Also called the Cobalt Blue Tarantula, this unusual spider gets its color from light-reflecting nanocrystals. Different nanocrystal arrays reflect different light wavelengths depending on their spacing and arrangement.

The Cobalt Blue Tarantula lacks stinging hairs – a feature common to many tarantula species – so it depends solely on its fangs. However, this arachnid does not hesitate to use those fangs and is known for being one of the most aggressive spiders on Earth.

This burrow-dwelling hunter paralyzes mice, lizards, other spiders, and insects with its venom, drags them to its burrow, and feeds on them there. Although lethal to prey, the Cobalt Blue tarantula venom is not fatal to humans.

Pink-Toe Tarantula

pinktoe tarantula
Image credit: anoldent Via Flickr

The pink-toed tarantula is an arboreal spider native to the South American rainforest. This tarantula got its name from its dark body and pink-tipped legs – hence the name “pink toed tarantula.”

This female of this spider species has a leg span of 4.75”, whereas the male is smaller with a leg span of 3.5”. Similarly, the female pink-toed tarantula can live between 10 to 12 years in captivity, but the male lives for half of that, dying shortly after maturation.

A nocturnal hunter, this tarantula species feeds on small insects, which it ambushes using silk traps and uses its body weight to subdue. Although a relatively non-aggressive species, this spider is known to fling feces and bite when attacked.

Mexican Red Knee Tarantula

redknee tarantula
Image credit: Image by master1305 on Freepik

One of the more popular pet tarantula species, the Mexican red knee tarantula is known for being docile and easy to manage. These slow-moving tarantulas have a laid-back personality and are the perfect species for first-time spider owners.

While the red knee tarantula rarely bites, it does react to threatening situations by launching hairs from its legs or abdomen. These hairs cause itching, irritation, and swelling in humans, and these symptoms can last for days.

In the wild, the red knee tarantula lives in hot and humid areas with very sparse vegetation. To remain cool in such an environment, this tarantula spends the hottest hours of the day inside a silk-lined burrow and ambushes mice, lizards, and insects at night.

Curly-Hair Tarantula

curlyhair tarantula
Image credit: Image by Hldrperez, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The curly-haired tarantula is native to Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua, where it lives in underground burrows. This spider has the longer hair of any tarantula species, and many people expect it to have very curly hair, but it just curls slightly.

The curly-haired tarantula is a burrowing spider living in both desert and jungle habitats. Like many burrowing spiders, this arachnid prefers to emerge from its burrow at night to hunt. The primary food sources for this arachnid are insects which the spider subdues, bites, and surrounds in webbing.

This new world tarantula species is not considered aggressive and will frequently flee from danger rather than fight! For this reason, the curly-haired tarantula is a suitable pet species for all. If forced to fight, this spider does have a painful bite, but is more likely to shoot irritating hairs from its abdomen.

Amy Brannan
By Amy Brannan

Affectionately referred to as “Snow White” by family and friends, Amy has always connected with animals of all species. In addition to being a lifelong dog mom, Amy has nursed possums, chipmunks, rabbits, and squirrels back to health - much to the chagrin of her black Labrador, Jet. When she is not caring for her animals, Amy advocates pet adoption and educates others on the joys of senior dog ownership.