Tarantulas generally do not make noise. They represent a big, tasty meal for many predators and use stealth to avoid being detected wherever possible. This means that tarantulas spend most of their lives silent. Most but not all…
The reality is that tarantulas can make some noises, though these are few and far between.
Some tarantulas make a “hissing” noise. This is known to scientists as “stridulation”. The noise is produced by rubbing together specially-adapted hairs.
Generally speaking stridulation is a warning sign from a tarantula that feels scared or threatened. You can imagine a predator sniffing around a burrow, wondering if there is anything inside to eat. A sudden hiss from deep underground might lead the predator to assume a large snake is nearby, and so it is best to leave the burrow well alone.
Examples of tarantulas that can audibly stridulate include:
- King Baboon (Pelinobius muticus)
- Horned Baboons (Ceratogyrus spp.)
- Goliath Birdeaters (Theraphosa spp.)
Adult tarantulas often produce a drumming sound as part of their courtship ritual. This is most common in males, but may be observed in both genders. The drumming sound is produced by rapidly “tapping” their legs on the ground.
It is most common for male tarantulas to drum with their first pair of legs, sometimes accompanied by the second pair. In some instances a tarantula may drum with all their legs in unison, seeming to be doing a dance.
Tarantulas spend most of their lives hidden away from sight. When they sense a suitably-sized prey item nearby they will dash out to catch it. This drumming therefore is likely a way for the two tarantulas – which typically have poor eyesight – to signal to one another that they are not on the menu tonight!
Even if kept alone, some male tarantulas will be heard occasionally to drum the ground with their legs, hoping to attract the attention of any females within earshot.
Moving Around Their Cage
While tarantulas are silent for the vast majority of their lives, producing no songs, whistles or other noises, they can of course make noise when moving around their cage.
You may be able to hear a large arboreal tarantula climbing around on the glass of it’s cage for example.
When tarantulas catch their prey it is often quite common to hear a “crunching” as the fangs pierce the tough exoskeleton of the unfortunate feeder insect.
However for all intents and purposes tarantulas are more-or-less silent. They’re unlikely to keep you awake at night if kept in your bedroom (unless you’re scared of them!).