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Mexican Redknee Tarantula in Mexico

Spot rare red-and-black tarantulas while they are roaming in the wild

Best time: July–October

Mexican Redknee Tarantula
Mexican Redknee Tarantula
Mexican Redknee Tarantula

The Mexican Redknee Tarantula, as well as the related Mexican Fireleg Tarantula, are among the most iconic spiders in the world. These spiders are often kept as pets or displayed in zoo terrariums due to their dramatic black, red, and orange coloration.

These tarantula species are native to Mexico, and both can be observed along the Pacific Coast of the country, especially in the Balsas River basin. Fireleg tarantulas are frequently seen in the states of Colima, Jalisco, Guerreras, and Michoacán. Spiders prefer dry rocky surfaces as well as deciduous tropical forests where they make their burrows under logs and tree roots. Redknee tarantulas can be easily spotted along the western faces of Sierra Madre del Sur and Sierra Madre Occidental mountain ranges. They often burrow in dry scrubland and are also seen along the highways. The best time to look for tarantulas is their mating season from July through October. That's when the males leave their burrows and wander off searching for females.

Both Mexican tarantula species are quite large, reaching 6 inches (16 cm). They have eight eyes and can flick urticating hairs when threatened. Despite a scary appearance, these tarantulas are quite harmless to humans. They have fallen victim to their own popularity as many tarantulas got smuggled out of the country to be sold for private terrariums and zoos. That's why there isn't that many of them left in the wild.

Practical info

When is the best time to search for Mexican Redknee Tarantulas in Mexico?

From July through October, male Mexican Redknee Tarantulas leave their burrows in search of female tarantulas during their mating season. As the temperature drops during nighttime, it's easier to find them wandering in the wild. Males are more active than females and are frequently seen outside their burrows during this time. Show more

Where in Mexico are Mexican Redknee Tarantulas typically found in the wild?

The Mexican Redknee Tarantula and Mexican Fireleg Tarantula are both native to Mexico and typically found in the wild on the Pacific coast, along the western faces of Sierra Madre del Sur and Sierra Madre Occidental mountain ranges. They can be found burrowing in dry scrubland, along highways, and the Balsas River basin. The Mexican Fireleg Tarantulas are frequently seen in states such as Colima, Jalisco, Guerreras, and Michoacán. Show more

How can you identify the Mexican Redknee Tarantula compared to the Mexican Fireleg Tarantula?

The Mexican Redknee Tarantula and Mexican Fireleg Tarantula are similar in appearance but have differences. The Redknee tarantulas have a black body with vibrant orange-red knees, whereas Fireleg tarantulas have a brown-black body with rusty red legs. The growth rate is varied between the species, the Redknee tarantulas grow slowly and have a longer life span, the Fireleg tarantulas grow relatively faster while have a shorter life span. Show more

What is the size of the Mexican Redknee Tarantula?

The Mexican Redknee Tarantula is a large spider species, reaching up to 6 inches (16 cm) in length. These spiders are covered in long bristles and have eight eyes that help them detect ground vibrations. Despite their appearance, Mexican Redknee Tarantulas are harmless to humans and are usually docile. They only attack if provoked or they feel threatened. Show more

How have Mexican Redknee Tarantulas been impacted by their popularity as pets and terrarium displays?

Mexican Redknee Tarantulas have faced a decline in their population due to their popularity as pets, specimens in zoos and terrariums. The over-collection of tarantulas has contributed to their decline in the wild. The Mexican government now protects the tarantulas, and it is illegal to take them out of the country. Private breeders only sell offspring bred in captivity, which has reduced the impact on the species in the wild. Show more

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