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Tarantulas In New Mexico

There are six different types of tarantula in New Mexico. These species are found throughout New Mexico but mainly in the southern portion.

Tarantulas are incredibly docile creatures and would rather flee a threat than attack. Most species are easy to handle and are unlikely to bite. The venom from tarantulas is harmless to humans.

Tarantulas are helpful arachnids as they are insectivores and help keep pests off of farmlands and crops. Every species found in New Mexico has a diet consisting mainly of insects and other small invertebrates.

Tarantulas don’t need to eat very often, only about once every few days, and some only need to eat once every few weeks when they reach full maturity.

Tarantulas in New Mexico tend to live in desert habitats or habitats with dry soil. They are mainly found in underground burrows but can often be seen wandering through the desert.

It can be challenging to identify the different species of tarantulas even with expert knowledge, but here is our list of tarantulas in New Mexico:

Tarantulas In New Mexico

1. Texas Brown Tarantula

Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) on sand and rocks near Rattlesnake Canyon Trailhead at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Eddy County, New Mexico, USA
A Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) on sand and rocks near Rattlesnake Canyon Trailhead at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Eddy County, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma hentzi
  • Other Names: Missouri tarantula, Oklahoma brown tarantula
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 20 to 40 years/Males 5 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $30 to $100 

The Texas Brown tarantula is found in most parts of New Mexico but most commonly in the Eastern portions. They have been spotted in the following counties; Bernalillo, Dona Ana, Eddy, Hidalgo, Luna, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, and Taos.

This tarantula species prefers habitats like short grass prairies, desert grassland, and desert scrub communities. They make their homes in abandoned rodent burrows or under rocks and logs.

Texas brown tarantulas usually have dark brown bodies with light brown or tan heads and black legs. They have been found to be different sizes at different elevations.

They tend to be thicker and larger in lower elevations, while in higher elevations, they are smaller with long legs. Females are noticeably larger than males and usually lighter colored.

The males of this species can be found outside of their burrows during their breeding season. Unlike most tarantula species, the texas brown has exhibited two different breeding seasons, April to August or September to October, sometimes in the same areas.

2.  Chiricahuan Gray Tarantula

Chiricuhuan Gray Tarantula (Aphonopelma gabeli) on arid land near Florida Mountains Wilderness Study Area, Deming, New Mexico, USA
A Chiricuhuan Gray Tarantula (Aphonopelma gabeli) on arid land near Florida Mountains Wilderness Study Area, Deming, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma gabeli
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5.5 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 20 to 40 years/Males 5 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $25 to $100 

The Chiricahuan Gray tarantula is mainly found throughout the Chihuahuan desert in Southern New Mexico and the New Mexico mountains. They can be found in desert habitats with loose soil.

These spiders tend to only live in abandoned rodent burrows but will sometimes make their home out of webbing under rocks or in tree trunks. This species breeds during late spring/early summer, and you can find males outside of their burrows looking for a mate during this time.

This species is typically dark or light brown with some black spots on the lower legs. They are covered in short dark or light brown hairs with a few long red/orange hairs interspersed on the abdomen.

The female tarantulas are bigger and have much larger abdomens than the males, and males are usually darker and have much smaller bodies and longer legs.

Chiricahuan Gray taratulas are a very docile species. They are non-aggressive and are more likely to flee if threatened.

If they don’t escape and assume a defensive stance where they stand on their hind legs, they are likely to kick urticating hair from their abdomen as a defense mechanism. These hairs can cause skin and eye irritation.

3. Grand Canyon Black Tarantula

Grand Canyon Black Tarantula (Aphonopelma marxi) on rocky terrain by Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, New Mexico, USA
A Grand Canyon Black Tarantula (Aphonopelma marxi) on rocky terrain by Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma marxi
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 20 to 40 years/Males 5 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $250

Grand Canyon Black tarantulas can be found all over the Northwestern areas of New Mexico. They prefer habitats like sagebrush steppes and deserts but can occasionally be seen around metropolitan areas.

Like most tarantulas, they prefer to live in underground burrows but can also be found living under rocks and in natural crevices found along mountains or hills.

This species of tarantula is one of the larger ones found in New Mexico. They are generally black or dark brown and coated in short black or dark brown hairs with numerous long red/orange hairs on the abdomen.

The Females of this species are larger with more prominent abdomens and are much hairier, while males have smaller bodies and longer legs.

The Grand Canyon Black tarantula breeds during the fall from September to November, and during these months, males abandon their burrows to look for a potential mate.

These spiders are non-aggressive, and it’s unlikely to be bitten by one but if bitten their venom is harmless to humans and does not require medical attention.

4. Aphonopelma Parvum

Aphonopelma parvum (Aphonopelma parvum) on rocks at Cave Creek Visitor Information Center, San Simon, Arizona, USA
A nAphonopelma parvum (Aphonopelma parvum) on rocks at Cave Creek Visitor Information Center, San Simon, Arizona, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma parvum
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 20 to 40 years/Males 5 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $300

The Aphonopelma Parvum can be found in the southern portion of New Mexico. They are most commonly found in the Chihuahuan Desert.

This species makes their homes in abandoned underground burrows, or they make homes out of webbing that can be found under rocks or in crevices. A. Parvum is a newly found tarantula species and is not seen very often. This species is considered rare in the tarantula trade.

These tarantulas tend to be black, dark brown, or brown. Males are usually all black, while females are typically dark brown or brown. The females have large, round abdomens, while males have long legs and small abdomens.

They are coated in small black or dark brown hairs with a small amount of long red/orange hairs on the abdomen. This is the smallest tarantula species found in New Mexico.

A. Parvum is a very docile species, and it’s rare to be bitten by one. They are more likely to flee than to bite or kick urticating hairs.

The urticating hairs found on their abdomen are used as a defense mechanism and can cause skin and eye irritation like itching or rash and, in some cases, allergic reaction. Their venom is harmless to humans, and their bite is similar to a bee sting.

5. Peloncillo Tarantula

Peloncillo Tarantula (Aphonopelma peloncillo) on arid rocky sand at Coronado National Forest, Lordsburg, New Mexico, USA
A Peloncillo Tarantula (Aphonopelma peloncillo) on arid rocky sand at Coronado National Forest, Lordsburg, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma peloncillo
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 20 to 40 years/Males 5 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $200 to $300

Aphonopelma Peloncillo is found in the Peloncillo Mountains in the southwestern corner of New Mexico. This species is rarely seen and is considered rare in the tarantula trade.

They prefer to live in rocky habitats with dry, well-drained soil. These spiders are very secretive though it’s possible to find males out during the breeding season. Their breeding season occurs during summer, from July to August.

This species is found in many colors like black, brown, dark brown, light brown, and tan. The females of this species have much larger bodies and are usually brown or light brown, while the males are typically dark brown or black.

These spiders are covered in short black or brown hairs on the legs and head and long red/orange hairs on their abdomen. They can be differentiated from other tarantulas in the area by the greater amount of long red/orange hairs on their abdomen.

A. Peloncillo is extremely docile, and it’s rare to be bitten by one. Though these spiders are non-aggressive, they have urticating hairs on their abdomen that can cause skin and eye irritation.

It’s recommended to hold these spiders away from your face when handling them due to these hairs.

6. Tucson Bronze Tarantula

Tucson Bronze Tarantula (Aphonopelma vorhiesi) on dry rocks near Animas High School, Animas, New Mexico, USA
A Tucson Bronze Tarantula (Aphonopelma vorhiesi) on dry rocks near Animas High School, Animas, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma vorhiesi
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 20 to 40 years/Males 5 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $50 to $100

Tucson Bronze tarantulas are a very common species in New Mexico and are widely distributed in the southern portion of the state. They are located in the Chihuahuan Desert and across the southern mountain range.

The males of this species can be found outside their burrows during their breeding season, which takes place from July to October. This species is very secretive and will stay in their burrow most of their life, only leaving to hunt or mate.

Females of this species are often larger, while males have smaller bodies and longer legs. Males are typically velvet black, while females are brown or light brown.

These spiders are covered in short black or brown hairs with long red/orange hairs interspersed on the abdomen. These tarantulas are one of the more sought-after species as they are considered attractive species.

The Tucson Bronze tarantula likes to live in underground burrows or natural crevices. They line the inside and entrance to their home with webbing, and they use this webbing to detect any passing prey or threats.

This species is very docile and would make an excellent pet.

FAQ’s

Are tarantulas in New Mexico dangerous?

None of the species in New Mexico are dangerous neither their venom nor the urticating hairs they use as a defense mechanism are harmful to humans. The urticating hairs on their abdomen can cause itching, rash, and, in rare cases, allergic reactions but are generally harmless. 

Is it common to see tarantulas in New Mexico?

Though there are only six tarantula species in New Mexico, they are abundant throughout the state. The desert terrain makes perfect habitats for these spiders. Every species has a specific breeding season, usually in fall, spring or summer, so it’s likely you’ll see some tarantulas through most of the year. 

Wrapping Up

Tarantulas can be found all over New Mexico, especially in the southern parts of the Chihuahuan Desert. They are very gentle spiders and will usually let you pick them up. If you decide to handle a tarantula, it’s important to be careful because a fall from even a small height could be fatal for them.

Tarantulas make excellent pets for beginners because they are non-aggressive and relatively easy to care for. With the proper care, these spiders can live from 10 to 40 years, depending on their gender.

It’s always essential to research a species before making it your pet. Just like any other animal, tarantulas need an adequate environment and specific care to thrive.

 Most tarantulas found in New Mexico are big and hairy, and some of these hairs can irritate the skin and eyes. Its recommended to handle these spiders away from your face and eyes and always wash your hand after touching them. In some cases, these hairs can cause allergic reactions.

There are more than 850 species of tarantulas on earth, and even though New Mexico only has 6, they are still exciting to observe and learn about.

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