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Tarantulas in Arizona: What You Need to Know

June 08, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

The desert climate of Arizona makes our state an attractive place for wildlife and insects that can’t survive in many other parts of the U.S. Tarantulas are one example. In this post, we’ll discuss the types of tarantulas in Arizona, their characteristics and habits, and what you can do about the pests.

Are there tarantulas in Arizona?

About 30 species of tarantulas live in Arizona. The large spiders thrive in the hot, arid conditions of the state and are also present in the desert regions of neighboring states like New Mexico, California, and Nevada.

Grand Canyon black tarantula crawling across a rock

How common are tarantulas in Arizona?

Tarantulas generally stay hidden, but males do leave their burrows in late summer and early fall to seek mates. When they’re active above ground, tarantulas may accidentally enter homes and other buildings through gaps, cracks, and open doors and windows. No matter where you live in Arizona, there’s a chance you may see one of the spiders at some point.

Where do tarantulas live in Arizona?

Tarantulas prefer areas with dry soil and hot weather. They’re most common in sandy desert and grassland areas. Some species live underground, while others make their homes in trees, caves, cracks in rocks, and agricultural fields. In the northern and higher elevation regions of Arizona, where the climate is cooler and more mountainous, tarantulas are less prevalent.

When do tarantulas migrate in Arizona?

As previously mentioned, male tarantulas leave their homes in late August through October in search of mates. Technically, the emergence of males isn’t a migration, which is when animals move from one specific area to another at a certain time of year. Tarantulas don’t have a fixed destination when they venture out of their burrows. They will go wherever females are in order to reproduce.

When is tarantula mating season in Arizona?

Tarantula mating season happens from late August through October. You’re most likely to see tarantulas during this period. 

Types of tarantulas in Arizona

Although many species of tarantulas exist in Arizona, only a few are common. They include the following species.

Western desert tarantula

The western desert tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes) is so common in Arizona that some people refer to the species as the Arizona blonde. They are usually around 2 to 3.8 inches long, with the females being larger than the males. Their nickname comes from the light hairs that cover their bodies. 

Western desert tarantulas live underground, digging their burrows or moving into abandoned holes made by other animals. Because they are docile creatures, western desert tarantulas are popular pets. In fact, some people try to find these tarantulas in Arizona so they can domesticate them.

A western desert tarantula viewed from above.
Western Desert Tarantula

Grand Canyon black tarantula

At up to 4 inches in size, the Grand Canyon black tarantula (Aphonopelma marxi) is the largest tarantula species. The spiders are so big that they can actually feed on small birds. The tarantulas are predominantly black but have red-brown hairs on their abdomens. Like the western desert tarantula, Grand Canyon black tarantulas tend to live in burrows underground. They usually prefer grassier areas.

A Grand Canyon black tarantula rests on a rock.
Grand Canyon Black Tarantula

Texas brown tarantula

The Texas brown tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) gets its name from the Lone Star State but is very common in Arizona. Females tend to be around 2 inches wide, while males are slightly smaller at about 1.5 inches in length. Generally, the spiders are dark brown with lighter brown patches of hair on their heads and abdomens. Like the other species discussed, the Texas brown tarantula usually lives underground and may occupy burrows once inhabited by other animals.

A Texas brown tarantula walks across gravel.
Texas Brown Tarantula

How to get rid of tarantulas

It’s important to note that although they appear intimidating, tarantulas usually aren’t aggressive. They will usually try to flee before attacking—when they bite, their venom is unlikely to cause serious health effects in humans. However, the hairs on tarantulas can cause skin irritation.

Although tarantulas are generally harmless, having them around your home or finding them in your house can be alarming. A professional pest control company can help you get rid of tarantulas using proven treatments.

To reduce the risk of finding tarantulas in your home, you can:

  • Fix cracks, gaps, and other flaws in your home’s structure.
  • Replace seals around windows and doors when they become worn.
  • Fill in empty animal burrows on your property with dirt.
  • Remove clutter inside and outside your home to give tarantulas fewer hiding places.
  • Address other pest control issues to avoid attracting tarantulas, which feed on smaller spiders and insects.

Pest control services 

Hawx Pest Control can assist you with controlling tarantulas in Arizona. Our licensed pest control technicians can thoroughly inspect your property to locate burrows and then use high-quality products and tools to address infestations. In addition, our knowledgeable technicians can provide you with customized advice on what you can do to deter tarantulas in the future.

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