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Tarantulas In Oklahoma

There is currently only one known species of tarantula in Oklahoma, and this species is the most widely distributed in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, tarantulas are very docile creatures, and they make excellent pets.

With the proper care, they can last almost half a century. These spiders only need to eat once every few days, and when they become fully grown, they can go as long as three weeks without needing food.

Tarantulas are non-aggressive, and it’s unlikely for one to bite you. If they feel threatened, a tarantula will stand up on its back legs to let you know.

They are more likely to flee rather than attack. Most tarantula species have hairs on their abdomen that they kick at threats as a defense mechanism.

In some cases, these hairs can cause an allergic reaction but are more likely to cause skin irritation. Always be careful when handling tarantulas, even a dop from a short distance can be fatal for them.

Tarantulas In Oklahoma

1. Texas Brown Tarantula

Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) in dry grass near French Lake at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Comanche County, Oklahoma, USA
A Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) in dry grass near French Lake at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Comanche County, Oklahoma, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma hentzi
  • Other Names: Missouri tarantula, Oklahoma 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 found throughout Oklahoma can thrive in many different habitats and sometimes even in metropolitan areas. These spiders are known to exhibit a variety of burrowing habits.

Depending on their habitat, they like to make their homes in abandoned rodent burrows or tree trunks and other natural crevices or make freestanding burrows. Tarantulas of this species breed in late spring and early summer from April to August.

During this time, males abandon their homes and wander for over a mile looking for a potential mate.

Females of this species generally have larger bodies and shorter legs, while males have smaller bodies with long thin legs. These tarantulas are brown with a light brown head and dark brown or black legs, and they are covered in short black or dark brown hairs with long red/orange hairs interspersed on their abdomen.

These spiders have been observed to exhibit different physical characteristics at different elevations. They tend to be larger and thicker in lower elevations, and in higher elevations, they have smaller bodies with long thin legs. 

Texas brown tarantulas eat various insects like beetles, cockroaches, crickets, and grasshoppers.

They have many predators, including coyotes, large lizards, birds, and a wasp called the tarantula hawk. This species is a nocturnal hunter; they wait until prey crosses their path, then bite and inject it with venom to subdue and liquefy it.

Their venom is not harmful to humans, and their bite has been compared to the pain of a bee sting.


How common are wild tarantulas in Oklahoma?

Though there is currently only one species of tarantula found in Oklahoma, it is the most abundant species in the U.S. They are found in suitable habitats all over the state and can be seen regularly during the breeding season.

Is it safe to handle tarantulas found in Oklahoma?

It is safe to handle the species of tarantula found in Oklahoma if done carefully. Even though tarantulas are relatively large spiders, they are still fragile creatures and should be handled with care.

Are tarantulas in Oklahoma endangered?

The species found in Oklahoma is not currently listed as endangered.

Wrapping up

Though there is only one tarantula species in Oklahoma, they can be found all throughout the state.

Tarantulas are insectivores do they are great for farmland and crops. If you’re out looking for tarantulas and come across one or two, there are likely over a dozen burrows in the area.

Tarantulas aren’t dangerous though some can get agitated quickly. Their venom is harmless, and their bite is similar to a bee sting.

When keeping tarantulas as pets handling them can irritate the eyes and nasal passage, so it’s best to hold them away from your face and only for short periods.

Tarantulas can make fantastic pets because they are low-maintenance creatures perfect for beginner pet owners.

If you find yourself in suitable habitats for these spiders, be sure to keep an eye out for one. They can be fun to observe and carefully handle in the wild.

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