Do Tarantulas Jump?

Tarantulas can jump, but this is almost-exclusively confined to arboreal (tree dwelling) tarantulas.

Some of these specimens can be surprisingly adept at jumping. Most common terrestrial species of tarantula are too heavy and chunky to jump. It is therefore very unlikely that these tarantulas will jump very much at all. 

Should I Worry About My Tarantula Jumping?

The most common reason for people asking whether tarantulas jump is down to fear that they will jump at them. If you go near a tarantula will it jump at you? If you open a tarantula cage will it quickly jump out at you, or attempt to bite?

Tarantulas very rarely jump, and are even less likely to jump at you. You therefore shouldn’t worry about tarantulas jumping when you go near them. 

The only real concern when it comes to tarantulas jumping would be when handling certain species of tarantula. Whilst uncommon, if a tarantula can jump, you’ll need to take precautions if you opt to handle your tarantula. You won’t want it jumping from your hands and potentially harming itself. 

Which Tarantulas Can Jump?

Arboreal or tree-dwelling tarantulas are most likely to jump. This is because they have evolved to live a more acrobatic lifestyle, climbing around off the ground. Such tarantulas are usually slighter, leggier and faster moving than their ground-dwelling cousins. 

The best-known jumping tarantulas are those from the genera Avicularia, Ybrapora and Caribena. This means that the Antilles Pink Toe – Caribena versicolor – one of the world’s most beautiful and popular pet tarantulas – is capable of jumping if it so desires. 

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Which Tarantulas Won’t Jump?

Most ground-dwelling tarantulas don’t jump. The only minor exception here is a very hungry tarantula which may “launch itself” at any potential prey item within a reasonable distance. If feeding from forceps these spiders can occasionally seem to jump a short distance into the air to grab a roach or locusts from your tweezers. 

In general though ground-dwelling tarantulas are too bulky and stocky to really be capable of jumping properly. 

You shouldn’t have to worry about jumping when it comes to most of the more popular species of pet tarantula including:

How Far Can Tarantulas Jump?

While some tarantulas can jump, even those that do will only cover a modest distance. Even a fully-grown adult tarantula is unlikely to jump much more than 30cm or so, and generally considerably less. 

When a tarantula jumps it tends to jump towards an object, rather than away from one. The tarantula may sense a potential perch or landing area, targeting it in the jump. For this reason it is unusual for a tarantula to just randomly launch itself into the air, such as when being held. 

Richard Adams

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