Are there Tarantulas in the UK? (What Types and Where?)

Tarantulas live all over the planet and some are also found in mainland Europe. When thinking about tarantulas, they’re commonly found in rainforests and deserts alike. They can be found living in a wide range of conditions but they all have one similarity, the area stays mostly warm all year round.

The UK is also home to a lot of invertebrates including arachnids and can support some invasive species too such as the European yellow-tailed scorpion and huntsman spiders. Sadly, the UK isn’t one of the places where tarantulas live due to the climate. There are lots of captive tarantulas but no wild ones.

While tarantulas are living in the UK, none of them live in the wild. However, there are still spiders living in the UK that are closely related to tarantulas and are probably the closest we’ll get for quite some time. There are some very good reasons why tarantulas can’t survive for long in the UK.

Are there Wild Tarantulas in the UK?

In short, no. There are no wild tarantulas in the UK or at the very least, there are no wild tarantulas in the UK who are adapted to live in this climate. Pet tarantulas who escape or accidental imports don’t survive for long in this country. The UK has no native wild tarantulas because the country just isn’t well suited for them.

Does the UK have any native large spiders?

This really depends on the definition of ‘large spider’. The UK does have some native spiders who can grow quite large by British standards but they are still spiders and not tarantulas. Cardinal spiders are the largest spiders in the UK and despite their small bodies, their legs are approximately three times the length of their body. However, these spiders are relatively rare in the UK.

In 2020 it was discovered that a spider that was assumed to be extinct is still alive and they’re one of the biggest in the UK. The great fox spider is critically endangered and was spotted in Surrey, they’re a species of wolf spider from the Lycosidae family. Females can reach a 2-inch leg span making them one of the largest spiders in the UK and the largest native wolf spider.

However, the giant house spider is relatively common across the UK and can reach a 12cm leg span. They also live in sheds, houses, and all kinds of buildings making them easier to find than the other large UK spiders

Why are there no Tarantulas in the UK?

1. The UK is too wet for Tarantulas

While many tarantulas do require some humidity, the UK is too wet for tarantulas. The county can be prone to flooding which is bad for tarantulas and the ground can become waterlogged during the rainy season.

Tarantulas are not strong swimmers and too much humidity can cause health problems for them such as fungal infections. Fossorial tarantulas who live on the ground would also have trouble with their burrows due to all the rain making the ground very wet, harming the structure of their burrow and potentially drowning them if the burrow floods.

2. The UK is Too Cold for Tarantulas

Tarantulas don’t need lots of heat but they still require it to be consistently warm enough for them to survive. The UK doesn’t meet its temperature requirements due to the big fluctuations throughout the year and while the winters might not be extremely cold, it’s still too cold for tarantulas.

They do best at around 24-27 Celsius which is not the regular temperature for the UK. While the temperature range can vary according to species, this is the most consistent requirement. Most British houses will be heated close to this range but for tarantulas outside, it would be too cold for them.

While it’s currently too cold for tarantulas in the UK, climate change could make the UK more habitable to tarantulas over the coming decades. The current research shows that hotter and drier summers along with warmer wetter winters are predicted in the future for the UK due to climate change. The increasing temperatures would make it more likely for tarantulas to survive in the wild.

3. The UK is too urbanized for Tarantulas

The UK is a very urbanized country with a small landmass compared to the human population which means humans live quite close together. It also means that there are fewer woodlands and ‘quiet’ areas between cities. This results in a lot of vibrations in most of the UK which is bothersome to tarantulas.

Very few areas in the UK are truly wild, most woodlands are surrounded by housing and motorways which are distressing for tarantulas. These areas are too loud for tarantulas to comfortably live in the UK. There are some areas where tarantulas might feel comfortable but there are not many.

Tarantulas usually avoid built-up areas such as towns and cities due to all the vibrations they cause from all the movement. Areas, where fewer humans live, are still usually full of vibrations due to roads and airports.

Could Tarantulas Survive in the Wild in the UK?

While tarantulas could survive in the wild in the UK, this would depend on the time of year and it should be a short life. Wild tarantulas cannot survive for long in the UK so while one can live for a few months they would ultimately die to the conditions.

Over the years, humans have ‘released’ many pets into the wild for different reasons. While some of these animals might be able to survive in the UK, most of them cannot. Introducing any species to a region they don’t belong to also causes ecological or biodiversity trouble in that area which can harm native wildlife.

If you have a tarantula or other non-native invertebrate that you can no longer keep, please seek out charities that will accept them. There are a small number of animal charities in the UK who will accept them, the RSPCA should be willing to take them, however.

Where can I see Tarantulas in the UK?

While you can’t find wild tarantulas there are plenty of places you can go to see captive tarantulas in the UK. Here are some good places you can go to see tarantulas up close in the UK:

  • Zoos
  • Reptile and Invertebrate pet stores 
  • Some other pet stores may also have tarantulas but this is less likely
  • Reptile and Invertebrate pet shows
  • Tarantula and Invertebrate experiences

For many of these places you don’t need to pre-book a visit in advance but if you want to avoid disappointment, it might be a good idea depending on what you want to do. Many pet trade shows such as the Doncaster Reptile Show don’t require you to buy the ticket in advance but it’s still a good idea. Attending pet shows is a great way to see a lot of different species of tarantulas but it can be difficult to resist the temptation to buy one!

It’s possible to book slots on different ‘experiences’ to see tarantulas up close and even handle some of them. These are commonly children’s events but there’s no harm in adults volunteering or asking if they’ll do an experience aimed at adults. Some zoos also host special events and experiences with invertebrates such as tarantulas.

How can I find accidentally imported tarantulas or spiders?

Sometimes animals can find their way to countries they shouldn’t due to human activities and supply lines. Many of these animals are killed or ‘destroyed’ when they’re found, others will be sent to animal charities so they can become adopted pets. Most accidentally imported invertebrates are destroyed but not all of them. Most animals who are accidental imports are killed, including reptiles, though it is possible to adopt some of them through charities.

It may be possible to find accidentally imported tarantulas or spiders through specific charities in the UK. This includes the RSPCA, you can register your interest with them for an accidentally imported tarantula but it may take time before they come back to you.

Are there any Tarantulas Native to Europe?

Some species of tarantula are native to Europe and can typically be found in the warmer countries and regions across the continent. The Chaetopelma olivaceum or Black Tarantula is native to Cyprus and the Middle East with others within the Chaetopelma family can be found in Cyprus and Greece.

The original tarantula can also be found in Italy. Lycosa tarantula is very different to what we call tarantulas now, the spider is actually better called the tarantula wolf spider. This Italian tarantula is a species of wolf spider that only grows to the typical spider size. They are not part of the Theraphosidae family which means they are not a true tarantula species.


Tarantulas are not native to the UK and escaping into the wild is a death sentence for that animal due to the conditions of the UK. While tarantulas may be unable to thrive here, true spiders are everywhere and non-native species have also done well in the UK. As climate change progresses and the UK becomes warmer, tarantulas may be able to call the UK wilds home in the future.

Written by:


Stuart is the editor of SpiderAdvice.