There are a few things that comes to everyone's mind when they think about spiders: 8 legs, many eyes, creepy-looking, and webs. It's likely that you personally have run into a spider web, seen a fly caught in a web, and even observed a spider spinning its intricate silk hammock.
Now, tarantulas aren't your typical everyday spider. However, you may still be wondering whether they share this characteristic with other spiders and create intricate webs. Can you expect to observe your new pet tarantula creating a web within its enclosure? This post will go into detail about everything that you need to know about tarantulas and their webs.
Do Tarantulas Make Webs?
Yes, tarantulas do possess the ability to make webs, and there's a very good chance that your tarantula will start decorating their pristine enclosure in webbing of some shape or form.
Now, it isn't as simple as tarantulas making webs. Instead, there are a bunch of different factors that come into play for tarantulas and their webs. A tarantula may create a web for an entirely different reason than another tarantula makes theirs. Also, some species are a lot more prone to creating webs than others! Arboreals will almost always create webs to some degrees, while heavy-webbing terrestrials aren't nearly as common.
So, since you can now expect your tarantula to start creating webs, it's important that you know exactly why they're doing so in order to better gauge their behavior. It's also way more enjoyable when you know exactly what your tarantula is doing and why it's doing it!
Why Do Tarantulas Web?
While it's true that tarantulas create webs, they do so for several different reasons. It's common knowledge that spiders create webs to catch prey, but that's not true for tarantulas! In reality, there are a few different kinds of webs that they can make -- all of which have unique purposes and utilities for the tarantula.
This is a very common reason behind tarantula webbing, and a method you'll likely observe with your tarantula. Tarantulas will use webs as a type of structural support for their enclosure, holding together all of their hard work and making sure that it can stand the test of time.
It's important to remember that tarantulas are wild animals and have millions of years of history behind them. In the wild, tarantulas may be subjected to a wide array of different environmental conditions -- conditions that could entirely ruin all of their hard work!
This is most commonly observable within the tarantula's burrow and around the opening of it. Since tarantulas spend so much time within their burrow, they'll reinforce it with a layer of silk to add strength and durability. This will keep the burrow usable even after a particularly wild feeding session or a little too much moisture.
Easier Footing / Comfort
Although tarantulas have 8 legs, they still can struggle to get around their enclosure. A layer of webbing coating different surfaces provides a great surface for tarantulas to climb and have a more stable grip on things. This allows for faster movement which comes in handy while hunting down prey.
These spiders also like to have a little bit of down time every once in a while. Some species can be observed creating hammocks that they'll lay on when they don't feel like being in their burrow or hide. Sure, tarantulas can be quite simple and lazy creatures, but they also have a taste for class and comfort within their home.
One key difference between tarantula webs and the webs of other spiders is that tarantulas don't use it to catch prey! The webs of other spiders are placed to catch insects and keep them in place until they're eaten. Tarantulas take a much more active and interesting approach to feeding by subduing and killing their prey themselves.
This doesn't mean that webs aren't utilized in the hunting process, though! Despite the fact that tarantulas have 8 eyes, they don't have very good eyesight. Because of this, they use their webs to assist them in their hunting. An insect walking on the web will send tiny vibrations through it, alerting the tarantula to its presence and specific location within the enclosure.
This can cause some tarantulas to lay a fine layer of webbing down across the entire floor of their enclosure.
Sperm webs are something very unique that tarantulas create, and not many owners are aware of their existence. These webs are created by mature male tarantulas with the intention of transferring sperm from the epiandrous fusillae to the palpal bulbs. Essentially, this is what the male tarantula does when it's preparing to mate.
These sperm webs are usually tubular, but can really be any shape. Regardless, they're typically not very big and are easy to miss. In fact, tarantulas are very secretive about making these webs, making them quickly and destroying them right after they're made. You may see the remnants of these webs as small, balled-up pieces of web, but you also may entirely miss it.
Molting mats are another glance into just how advanced tarantulas are as a creature. These are sections of webbing that are made and laid out on the ground where a tarantula plans on flipping over to molt. Unlike the sperm webs, these tend to be left even after the molting process has completely finished.
Molting mats severe several purposes for tarantulas. First of all, they provide a nice soft area for a tarantula to undergo the uncomfortable molt process. This is very important since a tarantula is very sensitive once it comes out of molt. Additionally, it will alert the vulnerable tarantula to any creatures that happen to wander near it during the molting process.
If you see your tarantula start to construct a molt mat, that means a molt is coming very soon and that you should start preparing for it.
What Tarantula Species Web The Most?
Every tarantula is different. While there are species that are well-known for behaving in a certain way, that doesn't mean that every single specimen of that species will behave the same way.
There are owners of some of the most active webbing tarantula species that say they've never seen their tarantula make a single web. Defining characteristics of species is more so about saying what you're most likely to experience with that particular species. Regardless, below are some species that are very well-known for their extensive webbing.
Other Tarantula Web FAQs
Hopefully by this point you understand the importance of webs for tarantulas. This importance can raise some questions about the webs, though, regarding care and the overall health of your tarantula. Below we've answered a few of the most commonly-asked questions regarding tarantula webs.