Tarantulas are able to grow back legs. This means that a tarantula that has lost a leg due to a difficult moult or having been attacked by a predator are able to make themselves whole once again in the future.
Tarantulas are also capable of regrowing their pedipalps, fangs and chelicerae if they can manage to eat enough to complete the process.
How Do Tarantulas Grow Back Legs?
If a tarantula loses one or more legs, these do not immediately start to grow back. Instead the regrowth happens next time they moult.
As the tarantula splits open their old skin, and gently slides out with their shiny new skin, it will be noticed that the missing leg(s) have regrown.
When Do Tarantulas Grow Back Legs?
Tarantulas legs only regrow when they moult, so the period of time taken to regrow legs will depend on how often tarantulas moult. This period can depend on a range of factors such as the size/age of the tarantula in question, together with the species in question.
It is perfectly normal for younger tarantulas in the rapid growth phase of life to moult every few months, at which point missing legs should be regenerated.
For adult specimens, of course, it is more typical to moult once every year or so. As a result it can take far longer for adult tarantulas to grow back any missing legs.
Note that adult male tarantulas rarely survive for more than a year, and even if they do then moulting can be complicated. As a result, any adult male tarantula that loses a leg is unlikely to grow them before nature takes its course.
What Do Regrown Legs Look Like?
Regrown tarantulas legs look just like the lost appendage. Given enough time it will be impossible to tell visibly which leg was lost and then grown back. However there is an important proviso here – how long this process takes can depend on the size of the tarantula.
Spiderlings and juvenile tarantulas will often manage to regrow a leg entirely during a single moult. The day after the moult the tarantula will look as good as new.
For larger tarantulas, however, the full process can take a few moults to complete. Initially the regrown leg may appear shorter, spindlier, and may not fully match the original colour. Sometimes you’ll see a tarantula for sale in a pet store that seems to have one leg much smaller than the rest – this is exactly what has happened in these cases.
Over subsequent moults, however, the leg will regrow each time, getting bigger and stronger until it finally matches the original legs. This process typically only takes 2-3 moults even in large tarantulas.
Do Regrown Legs Work Properly?
Regrown legs in tarantulas are typically fully-functional. Your tarantula will be able to do everything it could before with it’s regrown leg.
Can a Tarantula Survive With Missing Legs?
Tarantulas can cope surprisingly well with one or more missing legs. Of course, the more legs that are missing, the more the difficulty it is likely to cause your tarantula.
It is not unheard of for tarantulas to lose two or more legs during a difficult moult. However if the tarantula recovers successfully from the moult then there is no reason it shouldn’t go on to a long and healthy life.
If your tarantula has lost one or more legs then it may be worth paying them extra attention, to ensure they’re able to thrive until they have the opportunity to regrow the missing legs. For example you may want to offer slower moving prey items to them, as they may not be as quick on their feet.
Tarantulas may moult sooner than they normally do in order to regrow their lost legs, so don’t be surprised if the period between moulting is far shorter next time around.