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How Can Tarantula’s Climb Walls? Full Explanation

How Can Tarantula's Climb Walls_ Full Explanation

Tarantulas Climb Vertical Walls in this manner

  • Ooze Silk as they Climb / Fibrous Glue
  • Spinnerets
  • 500,000 Hairy Setules / Tiny Magnets
  • Electrical Charge / Van der Waals Force
  • Hair Tufts
  • Climb Dry Rough or Slick Surfaces

Tarantulas comprise a group of large and hairy spiders of the family Theraphosidae. Currently, about 1,000 species have been identified. The term tarantula is usually used to describe members of the family Theraphosidae, although many other members of the same infraorder (Mygalomorphae) are commonly referred to as “tarantulas” or “false tarantulas”.

Some of the more common species have become popular in the exotic pet trade. Many New World species kept as pets have urticating hairs that can cause irritation to the skin, and in extreme cases, cause damage to the eyes.

Tarantulas can climb walls because they ooze sticky silk through their feet.

Scientists have shown how spiders made to scale vertical glass surfaces will secrete a fibrous “glue” to anchor themselves down and prevent a fall.

Arachnids are known to use claws to negotiate difficult terrain, and they also have tiny hairs that can form weak electric attractions with a surface. But the silk represents a previously unrecognized climbing technique.

Tarantulas Climbing Glass

The tarantula has a third attachment mechanism, which depends on fibers exuded from nozzle-like structures on its feet. These fibrous secretions function as silken tethers and, when laid down on glass plates, appear as ‘footprints’ that consist of dozens of fibers with diameters of 0.2-1.0 [millionths of a meter].

Tarantulas are Like Spiderman Controlled Adhesion / Spinnerets

Generally, spiders will extrude silk from abdominal structures known as spinnerets. This fine thread is used in a range of activities from capturing prey to providing protective shields for developing young.

The team wonders which of the adaptations foot silk or abdominal silk came first; or, indeed, if they evolved completely independently. It is incredible, just like Spiderman. If the stuff is so good, he can pull a train around, how does he get it off

And that is the thing for the spiders: first, they must glue themselves down, and then they must get themselves off again. It is very clever.

The attraction of Tarantulas Hairy Legs / Setules

While small spiders do not look hairy to the naked eye, their feet are covered in tiny hairs. The little hairs on their feet are covered in even smaller hairs called setules. A tarantula has more than half a million of these setules, all of which end in a triangular tip.

These are flexible hairs, though, not pickaxes, so tarantulas do not actually dig into the wall as they climb. Rather, their setules trigger a scientific reaction that helps them adhere to a flat surface.

Showing Hairy Legs

Tarantulas Electrical Charged Connection

A phenomenon known as the van der Waals force, produced by tarantulas’ setules, gives them a sort of magnetic hold with the surface. Essentially, oppositely charged molecules within microscopical proximity of each other create attraction.

Think of the tips of a tarantula’s setules as tiny magnets, that allow him to stick to a surface with just more than 600,000 of them all over his body, he enjoys a firm grip on the wall.

Tarantulas Size and Volume

The effectiveness of the tarantulas’ setules and the van der Waals force effect they create are conditional on two things: Their size and their volume. If you blew up tarantulas to 50 times his actual size, he wouldn’t be able to climb walls the way he does now, because he would be too large and too heavy for the attraction to keep him adhered to the wall.

The only reason it works at his natural size is that he is so small and so lightweight that the adhesion is more powerful than the force of gravity.

The Alternative Sticky Glue Adaptation for Tarantulas to Climb

While not all spiders can climb using their setules, that does not mean they cannot climb at all. For example, the tarantula — too big and heavy to climb using setules alone, secretes a small amount of a silky adhesive substance from each of his eight feet. The adhesive acts like a temporary glue, and as he climbs, he leaves the microscopic “footprints” of the solution in his wake.

How Tarantulas Cling

Tarantulas do not need to swing from wall to wall by spinning a web. They can just crawl right up the side and across the ceiling to get where they want to go. It does not even matter if the wall is lined with granite or ceramic tile. Tarantulas can cling to any dry surface .

Tarantula Hair Tufts

Tarantulas have small tufts of hair on their legs that are the base structure for microscopic hairs that allow them to cling to objects. These microscopic hairs, called setules, cover every single hair. They are so small that hundreds of thousands of setules are on each hair.

The close spacing of these hairs, their sheer number, and their microscopic size give them the ability to create a molecular reaction that helps the tarantulas walk on any surface.

Climbing and Molecular Force

The setules on a tarantulas’ leg do not actually grab the surface. Instead, they apply enough force to create a temporary molecular bond. This is referred to as the van der Waals force, a type of molecular bond.

To put it in the simplest of terms, the setules are so small and so close together that the molecules of any surface they touch are essentially forced to squeeze between and adhere to the setules. This bond is rather weak and only temporary, allowing the tarantulas to move freely.

Of course, more complicated actions are at work, but the result is that the setules create molecular force, which in turn allows a tarantula to cling to surfaces.

How does Surface Contact for a Tarantula Work?

Just a single leg can hold a tarantula on any surface. In fact, the force generated by one leg is so strong that it could suspend 21 times the spider’s weight from a ceiling.

When all eight legs are in contact with the surface, the force created could suspend up to 173 times the spider’s body weight. This means that the tarantulas need only a very small point of contact with only a single leg to cling to a surface. Of course, contact with more legs is necessary to move.

How Tarantulas Climb Slick Surfaces

Since the method used to cling to a surface is molecular force, rather than gripping, hooking, or grabbing, a spider can stick to any dry surface, whether it is slick or rough.

For example, a slippery glass tank keeps most climbing animals and insects near the bottom since it offers nothing to cling to. A tarantula, however, can walk right up glass, ceramic, polished wood, metal, or any other slick surface that might cause other animals to slip.

What Are Habits of Tarantulas

Some genera of tarantula’s hunt prey primarily in trees; others hunt on or near the ground. All tarantulas can produce  silk; while arboreal species typically reside in a silken “tube tent”, terrestrial species line their burrows with silk to stabilize the burrow wall and facilitate climbing up and down.

Tarantulas mainly eat large insects and other arthropods such as centipedes, millipedes, and other spiders, using ambush as their primary method of prey capture. Armed with their massive, powerful chelicerae tipped with long, chitinous fangs , tarantulas are well-adapted to killing other large arthropods.

The biggest tarantulas sometimes kill and consume small vertebrates such as lizards, mice, bats, birds, and small snakes.

How do Tarantulas Move?

Tarantulas have eight legs just like other spiders, and they use them to propel themselves forward. They have tiny claws on the ends of their legs that allow them to climb and cling to walls and ceilings, but most species of tarantula are ground dwellers and even live in burrows beneath the ground.

Tarantulas coordinate their movements among their eight legs. Their first and third legs on one side of their body will move and at the exact same time, on the other side of their body, their second and fourth legs move. This propels them forward in the characteristic slow, plodding way they have often been seen walking.

Due to the way the muscles are arranged in the tarantula’s legs, their legs are usually bent at the leg joints. To extend their legs, tarantulas increase the pressure of a fluid within their body called haemolymph which allows the legs to extend.

How Fast Are Tarantulas?

Tarantulas can move quite quickly when they want to. Most of the time, however, tarantulas move in a very slow, plodding sort of way. This is because tarantulas do not have very good eyesight and sense the world through vibrations they pick up via their legs and hairs on their body.

Moving slowly allows them to sense the world around them more easily. Tarantulas tend to move more quickly during the warmer months. If they are threatened, they will also move very quickly to get away from the threat. However, studies have shown that when the tarantula moves faster, they tend to lose their coordination. They may stumble a bit or appear to move almost in a drunken fashion as they dash to getaway.


Tarantulas are very apt at climbing walls and slick surfaces, even though they have large body Mass. They are truly very amazing Creatures

Tarantula's Habitat / Facts / Prices

Tarantula's TypeFoodsAdult SizeVivarium TypeEggs / LiveTemperament
Aggressive - Eat Young
Country OriginPrice
Mexican Red Kneed TarantulaInsects2.5"Savannah100-400AggressiveMexico$ 120
Pink Toed TarantulaInsects1.5"Tropical Woodland100-400AggressiveSouth America$ 24.95
Chilean Rose TarantulaInsects1.5"Tropical Rainforest100-400AggressiveChili$ 29.99
Goliath Bird EaterInsects4"Tropical Rainforest100-400AggressiveSouth America$ 79.99 - $ 500
Mexican Blond TarantulaInsects2.5"Desert100-400AggressiveMexico$ 29.99 - $ 40
Zebra TarantulaInsects2.5"Savannah100-400AggressiveCosta Rica$ 17.95
Indian Black and White TarantulaInsects2"Tropical Rainforest100-400AggressiveAsia?
Baboon SpiderInsects7.9"Tropical Rainforest100-200AggressiveAfrica$ 39.95
Asian Bird Eater Trantula'sInsects3"100-200Very AggressiveThailand, Southeast Asia$ 24.95
Greenbottle Blue Tarantula Insects5-6"100AggressiveVenezula$ 79.95
Orange Baboon Tarantula Insects6"75-100AggressiveAfrica$ 44.95

Trinidad Olive Tarantula
Insects3"Multiple Eggs SacsAggressiveTrinadad$ 29.99

Indian Violet Tarantula
Insects2"100-200AggressiveIndia$ 42.00
Costa Rican Tiger Rump TrantulaInsects4.7"AggressiveCosta Rica$ 16.95
Tarantula's Type ( 800+ Species)
Adult Size

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