Tarantulas and other invertebrates can live for several decades. Unfortunately, many tarantulas are irresponsibly released into the wild because owners underestimate how long they live.
Before getting a new pet tarantula, you must understand how long they will live and how long you’ll have to commit to caring for them.
The lifespan of a tarantula varies depending on its sex and species. Females of most species can live for around 20 years, while males usually reach about ten years old. The longest documented lifespan of any spider is 43 years, which belonged to an Armored Trapdoor Spider (Gaius villosus).
In this article, you’ll learn about different tarantula species and how long they live, what characteristics influence the maximum age of a tarantula, and how tarantulas can live so long compared to other spider species.
Table of Contents
- How Long do Tarantulas Live?
- What Tarantula has the Longest Lifespan?
- What Tarantula has the Shortest Lifespan?
- Do Large Tarantulas Live Longer?
- Do Female Tarantulas Live Longer Than Males?
- Do Tarantulas Live Longer than Spiders?
- Summary – Tarantula Lifespans Explained
How Long do Tarantulas Live?
Most female tarantulas live for around 15-30 years, while most males live for between 7-10 years. The tarantula with the longest lifespan is the Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) which can live for up to 40 years, and the tarantula with the lowest natural lifespan (Male Trinidad Dwarf Tarantula) has a lifespan of only two years.
A tarantula’s lifespan depends on its sex and species. Female tarantulas live longer than males, but some species live longer than others.
Male tarantulas live only for a couple of years after reaching sexual maturity. For this reason, tarantula keepers prefer to keep females. New keepers should try to get confirmed females.
Male tarantulas are also smaller than females, so they are more susceptible to predation in the wild.
Read More: What Animals Eat Tarantulas?
What Tarantula has the Longest Lifespan?
The Tarantula species with the longest lifespans are the Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) and the Texas Tan Tarantula (Aphonopelma anax), which can live for up to 40 years. There is one spider that can live longer, a species of Armored Trapdoor Tarantula (Gaius villosus) found in the deserts of Australia lived for 43 years. However, it’s not considered a tarantula.
Research into tarantula lifespans is limited. However, we know the Texas brown tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) and Texas tan tarantula (Aphonopelma anax) can both live to reach 40 years old, and the Armored Trapdoor Spider (Gaius villosus) can live to 43 years old.
Tarantula Species Lifespan Table
|Tarantula Species||Lifespan (Females)||Lifespan (Males)|
|Texas Brown |
|40 Years||10 Years|
|Texas Tan |
|40 Years||10 Years|
|Armored Trapdoor Spider* |
|43 Years||5-20 Years|
|Mexican Red Leg Tarantula |
|30-35 Years||6-8 Years|
|Mexican Red Knee |
|25-30 Years||10 Years|
|Brazilian Black Tarantula |
|25-30 Years||4-6 Years|
|Goliath Birdeater |
|15-25 Years||3-6 Years|
Sources: Chinati Foundation, Australian Museum, Pacific Conservation Biology Journal, National Geographic
Long-Term Studies on Tarantula Longevity
Research into tarantula longevity is limited, but scientists know that the Texas brown tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) can live for around 40 years. In reality, they might be able to live past 40 years because scientists can’t observe every individual animal.
The longest-running study of any spider’s longevity was started in 1974 by Barbara York Main and ended in 2018 with the death of Number 16, a female Armored Trapdoor Spider who lived for 43 years.
Most female tarantulas will live for at least 15 years, assuming no complications, making it difficult to study them in the wild.
What Tarantula has the Shortest Lifespan?
Trinidad Dwarf Tarantulas (Cyriocosmus elegans) has the shortest known lifespan of all tarantulas, with the females living for seven years and the males living for only two years.
Dwarf tarantula species often have a shorter lifespan compared to larger species. For example, the pumpkin patch tarantula (Hapalious sp. Colombia) has females that only live for around ten years, while males usually live three years.
The Trinidad dwarf tarantula (Cyriocosmus elegans) has males that live for two years and females that only reach seven years of age.
The shortest lifespan for any non-dwarf species belongs to the Pink Toe Tarantula (Avicularia Avicularia). The females typically live for only 6-9 years, while the males live for up to three years which is one of the shortest lifespans of any male tarantula.
Do Large Tarantulas Live Longer?
Physically larger tarantulas usually live longer than smaller tarantulas within the same species, but physical size is not a good indicator of lifespan when comparing spiders across different species. Instead, specific environmental and evolutionary factors unique to each species and its habitat determine the lifespan.
Although the smallest tarantulas (dwarf species) tend to be the shortest-lived tarantulas, there is not much consistency regarding factors for their longevity. Some large species, such as the South American Pinktoe (Avicularia Avicularia), live for only a few years.
Within any given species, female tarantulas live longer than males. Since females are also physically larger than males, individually larger tarantulas within a species tend to live longer because they are more likely to be female.
The biggest tarantula in the world is the Goliath Birdeater (Theraphosa blondi), but they only have a documented lifespan of 25 years. However, the Texas brown tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) may live for over 40 years despite being much smaller.
Factors That Influence a Tarantula’s Lifespan
In the wild, there are a lot of factors that could cause a tarantula to live a shorter life.
- Predators in their habitat
- Environmental factors like flooding, drought, and wildfires
- Size (larger tarantulas live longer)
- Climate change (Loss of habitat/food sources)
- Sex (Females live longer than males)
- Human Activity (Hunting / Loss of habitat)
- Access to food (Some areas are more abundant in food)
- Temperament (More Docile species live longer)
Do Female Tarantulas Live Longer Than Males?
Within any given tarantula species, the female usually lives significantly longer than the male. Male tarantulas die a few years after reaching sexual maturity, while the females typically live for over 15 years, with some species living for over 40 years.
Male tarantulas have a higher metabolic rate than females and tend to be more aggressive, which may be part of the reason males die much younger. In addition, females need to live longer to be large enough to carry more eggs.
Even if a male tarantula is well cared for in captivity, it will still die sooner than a healthy female tarantula. It’s nothing that the tarantula keeper did wrong. It’s just the way tarantulas are.
Do Tarantulas Live Longer than Spiders?
Tarantulas usually live longer than true spiders. However, this isn’t always true. For example, the oldest confirmed spider in the world was not a tarantula but a female trapdoor spider (Gaius villosus). Researchers observed the trapdoor spider at 43 years old when she eventually died of a parasitic wasp sting.
The oldest spider in the world was creatively named ‘Number 16’. She was part of a study by researchers at Curtin University that followed the lives of wild spiders.
The trapdoor spider did not die from old age. Instead, a parasitic wasp killed it, so it’s unknown how long it could have lived. Unfortunately, there is a lack of individual studies into wild spiders or tarantulas’ daily lives and ages.
Captive female tarantulas usually live for over ten years, but the lifespan of a true spider is more difficult to judge. Physical size is sometimes a lifespan factor, but that’s not always true.
Huntsman spiders often only live for around two years, while the Kukulcania genus of crevice weavers can live over ten years. Huntsman spiders are much more active as they actively hunt for prey, while most other true spiders build a web and wait for prey to wander into it.
Generally, tarantulas live much longer than true spider species, although there are exceptions. For example, male tarantulas have a shorter lifespan than females in both tarantula and true spider species.
Can Tarantulas Live Forever?
Although tarantulas can live for several decades, every tarantula eventually dies. No species of tarantulas or true spiders can live forever.
Tarantulas are more likely to live longer in captivity because they are protected from predators and have a fresh supply of food and water.
Even in captivity, with diligent care from an experienced spider keeper, all tarantulas will eventually die of old age.
Do Tarantulas Live Longer in Captivity?
Tarantulas in captivity live longer than tarantulas in the wild due to a lack of predators, an abundance of food, and a generally safe and consistent environment.
Most animals live longer in captivity, not just spiders. A study of 50 different species in captivity found that in over 80% of cases, animals lived longer in captivity than in the wild.
How Long Do Tarantulas Live As Pets?
As pets, some tarantula species can live for up to 40 years. When selecting a tarantula, a female will live much longer than a male, so try to get a confirmed female if possible.
Tarantulas can live longer than people expect, especially when kept as pets.
It’s essential to know the approximate lifespan of the species when selecting a new pet since some species in captivity can live for up to 40 years while others live for only a few years.
Summary – Tarantula Lifespans Explained
Tarantulas live for a lot longer than many people realize. While male tarantulas rarely live past ten years, most females live for over 15 years, and some species live for up to 40 years.
The physical size of a tarantula doesn’t guarantee it will live a long time, but dwarf species typically have a shorter lifespan.
Tarantulas live longer as pets than in the wild, so selecting a species with a lifespan that suits you is essential.