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Tarantulas In Utah

Utah is home to 3 different species of tarantula. These tarantulas are found all over the state but are most common in southern regions.

Tarantulas found in Utah typically aren’t seen during the day except during their breeding season. All three species’ breeding season occurs during the fall months, so you are most likely to see males wandering around during this time.

The species found in Utah prefers dry, arid habitats with loose, well-drained soil. They are most often found in underground burrows but can be found in silk-lined natural crevices or under rocks, logs, and other natural debris.

Every species of tarantula found in Utah can make a wonderful pet due to its calm, docile nature. They are easy to care for and don’t mind being handled.

If you decide to handle a tarantula, it’s best to do so carefully and infrequently because, despite their larger size, they are very fragile creatures.

Table of Contents

  1. Tarantulas List
    1. Desert Tarantula
    2. Grand Canyon Black Tarantula
    3. Aphonopelma Prenticei
  2. FAQ
  3. Conclusion

Tarantulas In Utah

1. Desert Tarantula

Desert Tarantula (Aphonopelma Iodius) on red desert sand and rocks in Kane County, Utah, USA
A Desert Tarantula (Aphonopelma Iodius) on red desert sand and rocks in Kane County, Utah, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma Iodius
  • Other Names: Fresno county blond, Great basin blond, Salt Lake City brown, Bay Area Blond
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 5.5 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 20 to 40 years/Males: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $30

The Desert tarantula can be found all through Utah in places like Zion National Park, Sardine canyon, and Wah Wah Springs. These spiders are nocturnal, and they spend most of their time in underground burrows.

The males leave their burrows during late summer early fall in search of a mate and can be found wandering roads and grasslands during the day. Otherwise, seeing this species during the day is rare.

This species of tarantula is typically light brown or tan with darker brown bodies, and females usually have black spots on the legs. Females grow to be considerably larger than males and are usually much lighter shades of brown, while males have smaller abdomens and longer legs than females.

It’s pretty easy to identify this spider from others in the area by its lighter colors and larger size.

Desert tarantulas like to make their homes in abandoned rodent burrows underground but can also be found living under rocks, logs, and other natural debris. This species burrow can be identified by the quarter-sized entrance and the silk webbing found covering it.

This webbing is used to detect passing prey. These spiders are nocturnal hunters and prefer to eat things like small lizards, beetles, small rodents, grasshoppers, and other tiny spiders.

2. Grand Canyon Black Tarantula

Grand Canyon Black Tarantula (Aphonopelma marxi) on desert ground in San Juan County, Utah, USA
A Grand Canyon Black Tarantula (Aphonopelma marxi) on desert ground in San Juan County, Utah, 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

The Grand canyon Black tarantula is mainly found in the southeastern corner of Utah. They are most commonly seen in higher elevations of the four corners region.

Like most tarantulas, this species is nocturnal and is rarely seen during the day.

They make their homes in underground burrows, but unlike other tarantulas, this species doesn’t surround the entrance to their burrow with small hills of dirt and webbing, and they don’t cover their entrance with webbing either. Because of the lack of webbing and mounds of dirt, it’s hard to identify this species’s burrows.

This species of tarantula is typically all black, with the exception of long red/orange hair found on their abdomen. Like most tarantulas, the females of this species grow much larger than males and have lighter coloring.

Male spiders of this species tend to have much smaller abdomens and longer legs. They can be easily identified by their large size and intense black color.

Though this species is rarely seen, male Grand canyon Black tarantulas can be found outside of their burrows in the daytime during their breeding season. This species breeding season occurs from September to November.

These tarantulas are nocturnal hunters with a diet consisting of small insects, spiders, and invertebrates, as well as small lizards and rodents.

3. Aphonopelma Prenticei

Aphonopelma prenticei (Aphonopelma prenticei) in desert sand and rock at Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Washington County, Utah, USA
An Aphonopelma prenticei (Aphonopelma prenticei) in desert sand and rock at Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Washington County, Utah, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Scientific Name: Aphonopelma prenticei
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 3 inches
  • Lifespan: Females: 20 to 40 years/Males: 5 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: N/A

The species A. Prenticei is most commonly found in the southwestern corner of Utah in the Beaver Dam Mountains. They prefer to live in underground burrows that can be identified by distinct mounds of dirt and webbing surrounding the entrance.

Like other species found in the state, this tarantula spends most of its life in its burrow.

This species can be differentiated from others in the state by its small size. They are typically thinner than most tarantulas, with both the females and males having small abdomens, though, like most tarantula, the females are larger than males.

Males tend to be black or dark brown, while females are brown, light brown, or tan.

Like most tarantulas, this species is nocturnal, so they hunt for their food at night. Their diet consists of things like beetles, grasshoppers, crickets,  and other small insects and invertebrates.

Their breeding season typically takes place from September to November. After about seven years, the males reach maturity, and they leave the burrow to find a mate.

Males don’t usually live more than six months after they’ve successfully mated.

FAQ

Are tarantulas common in Utah?

Tarantulas are most commonly found in national parks and desert regions. They aren’t frequently seen during the day unless during their breeding season in the fall.

Are tarantulas in Utah dangerous?

The species of tarantula found in Utah are not harmful to humans though their bites may hurt. There are no seriously dangerous spider species in the state.

Are tarantulas in Utah endangered?

Currently, no species found in Utah are considered endangered.

Wrapping up

The species of tarantulas found in Utah aren’t often seen, but if you’re lucky enough to find one, they’re beautiful, gentle creatures that are fun to observe.

These spiders are very docile and don’t mind being handled though you shouldn’t handle a tarantula close to your face because they have small hairs on their abdomen that can cause skin and eye irritation. It’s best to wash your hands after handling them as well.

Tarantulas are nocturnal predators that eat things like small insects, rodents, lizards, and even other spiders. They have quite a few predators like coyotes, large lizards, snakes, foxes, birds, and a type of wasp called the tarantula hawk.

Even with all these predators, tarantulas are an abundant species that thrive in desert regions.

The three species located in Utah are non-aggressive and harmless to humans. Their venom has no medical significance to humans, but a bite from one may hurt due to their large fangs.

They have urticating hairs on their abdomen that they use as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened. These hairs can cause skin and eye irritation, a rash, and possibly an allergic reaction.

Tarantulas are amazing spiders that are fun to observe, handle, and learn about. If you stumble upon one in the wild, if they don’t run, you may be able to handle it.

Make sure to be gentle with tarantulas, and don’t forget to put them back where you found them to keep local populations thriving.

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