Do Tarantulas Make Webs? (Answered)

One of the most interesting spiders in the world is the tarantula, or Theraphosidae. They are also one of the largest spiders in the world, with plenty of unique aspects and features. One of the most interesting things about tarantulas is their webs, which is what we’ll be learning about in this article.  Let’s dive right in to this topic and answer the question, do tarantulas make webs?

Do Tarantulas Make Webs?

Oklahoma Tarantula
Oklahoma Tarantula By Danny de Bruyne from Pixabay

Tarantulas create webs, but not for the reason other spiders do. These insects use webbing for lining their burrows and holding prey they catch. Females also use the webs of their burrows to hold the eggs they lay.

Tarantulas also shoot web from spigots on their feet which helps them climb certain surfaces where it’s hard to get traction. Other spiders are limited to shooting web only from spinneret glands located at the tips of their abdomens.

Tarantulas and Their Webbing

Tarantulas are massive spiders that can be found all around the world, except for in Antarctica. They create silk webbing but do not spin the traditional webs that most other types of spiders do. Instead of using a web for shelter and catching prey, tarantulas actually dig burrows in the ground. These burrows are then lined with webbing for a number of reasons.

Burrowing

a tarantula digging a burrow
A tarantula digging a burrow with web lining credit: Willem Van Zyl from Canva Pro

Tarantulas dig underground burrows to live in, and they will then use their silk webs to line these burrows. They can also burrow in trees or between rocks.

Webbing is also used to create doors to block out predators. In some parts of the world, there are species of tarantulas that create funnel-like webs in trees for their shelters.

Holding Prey

When tarantulas line their burrows with webbing they use it to hold prey they kill and drag back to their homes. These giant spiders spend the night hunting and prefer to ambush their prey.

They will then use their jaws to crush them and take the prey back to the burrow. Tarantulas will commonly prey on spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, small snakes, small lizards, or even mice.

Laying Eggs

The web lining of tarantula burrows serves another important function for the females of the species. They will lay their eggs in this webbing, and they stay there until hatching. Young tarantulas will then spend the first few weeks of life in the burrow with their mothers.

They can lay between 2 and 100 eggs at one time. Female tarantulas will fiercely protect their eggs. Males actually seek out females during the mating season, and females stay in their burrows until a male comes along. This is why males are often seen moving through their habitats long distances and crossing roads.

Spending The Winter Inside

Both male and female tarantulas use silk webs to cover the entrance of their burrows during the winter. This allows them to survive the harsh season and is helpful in keeping predators away. The thick webs at the entrance, and the rest lining the burrow, keep these spiders from freezing to death.

Other Interesting Facts About Tarantulas

Tarantulas are one of the few spiders that don’t live in webs and burrow instead. There are plenty of other interesting facts to learn about these giant spiders, from their wide-ranging habitats and diets to how long they can live.

Their Range

Tarantulas
Tarantula | image by Tydence Davis via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Tarantulas can be found on every continent, save for Antarctica, and live in a variety of habitats. These spiders like in forests, mountains, deserts, and even more residential areas. In the United States, tarantulas are commonly found in Arizona, California, Texas, and other southwestern regions.

What They Eat

Tarantulas have a wide-ranging diet that includes multiple preys, from insects to small mice and snakes. What tarantulas eat depends on what can be found in their environments.

They will sit in wait for prey to wander close and then ambush them. These spiders have strong legs and large fangs used for hunting and killing their prey. They also have a small amount of venom that can stun prey but does not hurt humans.

Popular Pets

Arkansas Chocolate Tarantula
Arkansas Chocolate Tarantula by Christopher Cassidy via Unsplash

Since tarantulas are such interesting and docile creatures, they have become popular pets around the world. They are not aggressive and can be handled if done so carefully.

They rarely bite, and when they do it is about like a bee sting. For this reason, many people enjoy keeping tarantulas in aquarium tanks as pets.

Natural Enemies

Brown snake
Brown Snake | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Despite the fact that tarantulas are such fearsome hunters, they have plenty of natural enemies to worry about. Predators that may go after tarantulas in the wild include coyotes, foxes, snakes, birds, and lizards. They have more than one way to deal with these threats.

While they will often run and hide in their burrows, tarantulas can also use their fangs to defend themselves. They will also use their legs to throw their thick hairs into the predator’s face. This can cause some attackers to flee, or at least give the tarantula time to run into their burrow.

Lifespan

Tarantulas have one of the longest lifespans of any spider, both in the wild and in captivity. Males have been known to live for up to a decade while females are known to get twice as old.

In the wild, the spiders may only reach a few years old due to predators and other threats. As pets and in captivity they can live for much longer.

Conclusion

Tarantulas might spin webs, but not the way most types of spiders do. However, these webs are still important for shelter, holding prey, and laying eggs.