Do Tarantulas Die After Mating or Laying Eggs?

Many invertebrates have a regular annual cycle of mating, laying eggs and then dying before the next generation appears. Tarantulas are typically long-lived spiders, with females of some species able to live for a decade or more. As a result, they typically don’t die after either mating or laying eggs. 

Instead, female tarantulas invest time and effort into caring for their eggs, waiting for them to hatch. A female tarantula may even succeed in laying multiple eggsacs as a result of a single mating; something often known as “multi-clutching” in the tarantula hobby. 

In general sense, therefore, tarantulas do not die after mating or laying eggs. 

However, the story can be rather different for male tarantulas. Male tarantulas are far shorter lived, and may be attacked or even killed during the mating process. 

Do Tarantulas Die After Mating?

Mating is a risky time for tarantulas, especially the males. Female tarantulas can be aggressive towards males, and may try to attack them before, during, or after mating. 

Most tarantulas live alone for most of their lives, and as many tarantula keepers have discovered, attempting to keep two or more tarantulas together in the same cage often results in one single fat tarantula. 

Introducing two tarantulas to one another – even for mating – can therefore be fraught with difficulty and risk. Some tarantula species – such as the Greenbottle Blue – are famous for being aggressive towards other tarantulas, and stories abound about plucky male specimens being quickly picked off by a large, hungry female. 

Even if mating goes well, it is not uncommon for the female tarantula to grab the male as he attempts to exit the area. Unless the tarantula keeper intervenes she may well make a tasty meal out of the male. 

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So while the actual process of mating doesn’t directly lead to tarantulas dying, the males are at significant risk of being caught and eaten during the mating process. 

Do Tarantulas Die After Laying Eggs?

Once tarantulas have mated, the males’ role is at an end. He will typically continue to search for other females in his local area. He will continue this process of exploration and mating until either old age, a hungry female or a predator ends his life. 

Most male tarantulas will live for roughly a year after reaching maturity. They eat very little, and have one sole focus on their minds. As a result, over time they become older and weaker. Eventually they will die. However, it is not the specific process of mating that leads to their demise, but simply time itself.

Females, in contrast, can live long and healthy lives. Some females may mate and produce eggs year after after. Unless there are any complications, therefore, laying eggs certainly doesn’t result in the death of tarantulas. Instead, many female tarantulas will carefully tend their eggs, ensuring they receive the right temperature and humidity for development. 

Do Tarantulas Eat Their Babies?

Tarantulas aren’t just carnivores; they can also be cannibals. While female tarantulas will carefully tend their eggs during development, once the babies hatch things can be rather different. 

Every baby tarantula can represent a tasty meal. This doesn’t just apply to the mother tarantula, but also the other baby tarantulas. With many tarantulas laying over 100 eggs at a time, this is a lot of mouths that might be interested in eating each other. Kept together for too long, numbers will typically start to dwindle. 

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In the wild, baby tarantulas will stay with their mother for a short period after hatching. Once they are ready for the world they will venture out of the burrow or hide, travelling en masse to find somewhere new to live. There they will primarily live a solitary life, away from other tarantulas, and their hungry mother. 

Do Baby Tarantulas Eat Their Mother?

While tarantulas are happy to eat almost any invertebrate prey they can catch, fortunately their mother is far too big for any baby tarantula to eat. So while the mother tarantula is at no real risk from it’s spiderlings, the spiderlings themselves can be at risk of being eaten by the mother. 

For this reason baby tarantulas will disperse soon after hatching, and will go their own way in the world.

Richard Adams

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