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Tarantulas In Texas

There are 6 different types of tarantulas in Texas. These spiders are very secretive and live most of their life in burrows or trees. It’s easy to identify tarantulas if spotted due to their large size.

However, it may be difficult to identify the different types of species, even with proper knowledge and experience. 

Tarantulas can be found all through texas in many different habitats. They prefer semiarid regions like grasslands, shrub forests, desert areas, and sometimes cities.

They tend to live on the ground, but some species can be found living in trees or caves. These spiders don’t live in typical webs instead, they live in silk-lined burrows.

They tend to use pre-existing burrows but will sometimes create their own. These can occur in dead trees, piles of wood, and other natural crevices. 

At the end of a hot summer, when monsoon season hits providing cool moist conditions, these spiders come out of hiding. July to October is when fully mature males start looking for females to mate with.

This is the best time to go looking for tarantulas. 

Whether you are a tarantula owner or enthusiast living in Texas, you might want to know what you can find around your area. Here are the 6 tarantulas of Texas:

Tarantulas In Texas

1. Texas Tan Tarantula

Texas Tan Tarantula (Aphonopelma anax) spotted on the road near Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge's Nature Store in Cameron County, Texas, USA
A Texas Tan Tarantula (Aphonopelma anax) spotted on the road near Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge’s Nature Store in Cameron County, Texas, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma anax
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 5 to 6 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 20 to 40 years Males: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $30 

The Texas tan tarantula is one of the largest tarantulas in the United States.

This species is commonly found in Southeastern Texas. They have been spotted in Cameron County and Kleberg County.

This tarantulas body is typically tan or brown with black or dark brown legs. Like most tarantula of this genus, they mature very slowly.

It takes them between two to seven years to become fully grown. It is easy to differentiate between males and females. Females are a fair bit larger than males and the males tend to have smaller bodies and longer leg spans.

These spiders are very docile and tend to avoid confrontation. The tan tarantula is a non-aggressive species, but if provoked will kick the small hairs from its hind legs at the potential threat.

These hairs can cause mild swelling or a rash. Females tend to only show aggression while protecting their eggs after mating.

2. Texas Black Spot Tarantula

Texas Black Spot Tarantula (Aphonopelma armada) on the sandy desert floor somewhere in Happy, Texas, USA
A Texas Black Spot Tarantula (Aphonopelma armada) on the sandy desert floor somewhere in Happy, Texas, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma armada
  • Other Names: Texas Black Spot
  • Adult Size: 5.5 to 6 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 20 to 40 years Males: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Aphonopelma Armada can be found in Central and Western Texas. Specifically around San Angelo, Midland, and West Dallas.

Like other tarantulas, they tend to live in silk-lined burrows found within the ground, dead trees, and natural crevices.

This species has a light tan-colored head and gray body. Their legs are gray with a small portion closest to the body being black.

Like other tarantulas, this species eats mice, small birds, reptiles, and various insects.

They are considered lurkers, they will sit and wait until their prey gets close and then grab it with their jaws. Once they grab ahold, they bite and inject their prey with venom that starts to break down its body and then continue to eat it.

3. Chiricahuan Gray Tarantula

Chiricahuan Gray Tarantula (Aphonopelma Gabeli) on some dry desert rocks near Big Bend Ranch State Park, Alpine, Texas, USA
A Chiricahuan Gray Tarantula (Aphonopelma Gabeli) on some dry desert rocks near Big Bend Ranch State Park, Alpine, Texas, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma Gabeli 
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 5 to 5.5 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 30 years Males: 5 to 15 years 
  • Average Price Range: $25 to $100 

The Chiricahuan Gray tarantula is commonly found in Western Texas and occasionally in Carson County. They can be found living in old silk-lined rodent burrows.

These spiders are easy to care for and can be kept similar to other Aphonopelma. Though they are more skittish and slightly more aggressive than the other species found in Texas.

This species looks almost identical to the Aphonopelma armada. They have tan heads and dark brown bodies. Like most tarantulas, the males have long dark legs and the females are much larger, with slightly smaller legs.

An easy way to distinguish this species from others found in Texas is its large pincer-like appendages called the chelicera.

4. Texas Brown Tarantula

Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) on some rocks at Big Bend National Park, Alpine, Texas, USA
A Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) on some rocks at Big Bend National Park, Alpine, Texas, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma hentzi
  • Other Names: Oklahoma brown tarantula, Missouri brown tarantula
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 30 years Males: 5 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The Texas Brown tarantula is one of the most common tarantulas found in the Southern United States.

These spiders can be found in Central Texas and East Texas. This is the only species found in Eastern Texas. 

Texas brown tarantulas are a non-aggressive species, though when disturbed will kick the small hairs on their hind legs at the threat.

This species, like most Aphonopelma, is not harmful to humans, except for possible allergic reactions. Their bite may be painful due to their large fangs but not deadly.

These spiders use their webbing to line the entrance of their burrows to detect any prey. Like other species in the area, they feed on small birds, mice, and insects.

Like most spiders, they use their venom to subdue their prey and help digest it. Their venom is not harmful to humans. Most consider it similar to a bee sting. 

5. Rio Grande Gold Tarantula

Rio Grande Gold Tarantula (Aphonopelma Moderatum) on rocky ground somewhere in Calle V, Monclova, Coah, Mexico
A Rio Grande Gold Tarantula (Aphonopelma Moderatum) on rocky ground somewhere in Calle V, Monclova, COAH., Mexico. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma Moderatum
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 4 to 5 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 30 years Males: 5 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $100 to $150

The Rio Grande gold tarantula is most commonly found in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. They have been seen in Maverick County and along the southern Texas/Mexico Border.

This species typically makes its home in burrows under rocks or in dead trees. 

This species makes excellent pets. They are very docile, and bites from these spiders are rare.

Like most Aphonopelma, these tarantulas may flick the hairs from their hind legs if frightened.

These tarantulas are commonly light brown and the ends of their legs become black as they mature. They are known for their beauty and docile nature. 

6. Aphonopelma Moellendorfi

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma Moellendorfi
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 5.5 to 6 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 30 years/Males: 5 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

Aphonopelma moellendorfi is only found in West Texas. There have only been a few sightings of this spider.

This tarantula was only recently discovered in 2016 by David Moellendorf in Val Verde County.

There is very little information on this species, and it is unlikely you’ll come across it. It is said to have a brassy green thorax and black legs. 

This tarantula may be hard to distinguish from others in the area due to its similar size and color.

Like most Aphonopelma, these spiders are generally pretty docile and only become aggressive when threatened.

There are very few being sold today and typically only in storefronts in the area it was discovered. 

Wrapping up

There are only 6 species currently known in the state of Texas, but Aphonopelma Moellendorfi is proof there could be more to be discovered!

These spiders are good for farmlands as they are insectivores and eat agricultural pests. In the wild, there can be up to 200 tarantula dens per acre. 

If you go to populated areas during the mating season, there’s a good chance of spotting one. Be careful looking into burrows during mating season, females can get aggressive protecting their eggs.

These spiders can live for decades and are known to be non-aggressive.

Tarantulas make very good pets for beginners looking to have their own pet spiders. They are large and usually very docile.

Like any pet, it’s always good to research and provide the proper habitat for your new friend. 

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