Can Tarantulas Live With Other Animals?

Tarantulas are impressive predators, capable of catching and eating not just insects but also small reptiles, amphibians and even rodents. This means that tarantulas cannot really live with other animals. 

If you try to keep a tarantula with an animal that is smaller than it is, the other animal is most likely to end up as tarantula food soon enough. Sadly, the reverse is also true. Keeping a tarantula with a much larger animal may result in the tarantula getting eaten. Either way, the end result is not good. 

Mutual Relationships in the Wild

There are a few reported cases of tarantulas living with other animals in the wild. The classic example often shared is of some tarantulas sharing their burrows with small frogs. It seems that the frogs are toxic for the spider, so they are not eaten. 

Over time some form of mutual relationship has evolved. The frog gets a nice, safe burrow to live in, protected by a large hairy tarantula. The tarantula, in turn, benefits from the frog hoovering up small insects and parasites that could otherwise attack the tarantulas’ eggs. 

All the same, these mutualistic relationships are very rare, and any attempts to try and replicate this in captivity are likely to end in tears. In almost all cases tarantulas should therefore be considered pets to keep on their own.

Can Tarantulas Live Together?

Interestingly, when it comes to tarantulas living with other animals, some tarantulas seem to display a measure of communal living. 

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The Socotra Island Blue Baboon – latin name Monocentropus balfouri – is a tremendously popular pet tarantula species. Numerous specimens of this species will often live together happily with little or no predation occuring. For this reason some keepers release a group of M. balfouri into a large cage. Great pleasure can be taken from watching them going about their daily lives.

Some of the Ornamental tarantulas from the Poecilotheria genus have also been kept together successfully. Indeed, I’ve managed to rear a group of Poecilotheria regalis together without issue. Once again, having a small group of tarantulas living together can prove quite a fascinating display. 

Note however that keeping two or more tarantulas together will always come with risks. For this reason may tarantula keepers choose never to keep tarantulas together.

Can a Scorpion and a Tarantula Live Together?

One question that crops up from time to time is whether a scorpion and a tarantula can live together.

Just because the two animals appear quite similar in habit does not change the overall message that keeping tarantulas with other animals is a bad idea. The tarantula will sooner or later either become predator or prey. 

It is therefore not advisable to try keeping scorpions and tarantulas together. 

Do Tarantulas Get Lonely?

While there is no scientific study on the matter, it seems very unlikely that tarantulas get lonely.

Tarantulas in the wild spend most of their lives alone, deep within their burrow or within a silken lair high up in the trees. They do not socialise. They do not band together. Quite the opposite – most tarantulas steer well clear of one another unless absolutely necessary – such as the process of breeding. 

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Therefore it is fair to say that tarantulas have evolved as loners. It’s their default, and therefore it is highly unlikely that they feel anything like loneliness.

Lastly, of course, one could argue that tarantulas are pretty simple creatures, so they may not even be able to experience what we know as being “lonely”. 

Richard Adams

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