Area of zoo
Enclosure status
IUCN status
Scientific name
Brachypelma hamorii
A Mexican red-kneed tarantula crawls over a Day of the Dead skull at London Zoo

Love spiders? Visit our Mexican red-kneed tarantulas in our Tiny Giants area at London Zoo.

What do Mexican red-kneed tarantulas look like?

When fully grown, these spiders have a dark-coloured body with orange patches on the joints of their legs, giving them the name of a red-kneed tarantula. Like other arthropods, the red-kneed spider must shed its skin in order to grow as its exoskeleton can't stretch.

What do Mexican red-kneed tarantulas eat?

Red-kneed tarantulas are carnivores and prey on other animals, including insects, small mammals, birds and reptiles.

A Mexican red-kneed tarantula on scales being weighed at London Zoo

Where do Mexican red-kneed spiders live? 

The Mexican red-kneed tarantula is native to the western faces of the Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre del Sur mountain ranges in Mexico. 

What threats do Mexican tarantulas face?

 Mexican red-kneed tarantulas are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list of threatened species, and they are poached unsustainably for the pet trade.  A study made in collaboration with ZSL, also found they are threatened by habitat loss, mostly due to urban development. The growing number of roads being built presents a deadly obstacle for wandering males looking for a partner, and is contributing to population fragmentation. 

Using technology to protect tarantulas

ZSL has been part of a project using new technologies to track male tarantulas so we can learn more about how far they travel, and for how long, so that they can be better protected. 


Spider facts:

  • Female Mexican red-kneed tarantulas can live for up to 30 years, but the males tend to only live to around five. 
  • These spiders are extremely docile, preferring to avoid conflict with intruders. If harassed, the tarantula will kick urticating hairs at the threat, causing irritation in the eyes and throat.
  • Tiny Giants logo, with a clownfish, locust, coral and praying mantis illustration.
    From minibeasts to coral reefs

    Tiny Giants

    Journey through the habitats of the planet’s smallest but mightiest animals. From our coral reef aquarium, to our spider walk-through.

  • FSP logo
    Ease or eliminate the condition of arachnophobia

    Friendly Spider Programme

    Join us for a session with a hynotherapist and zookeeper, and let us help you overcome your fear of spiders.

  • Golden orb spider at London Zoo Spider walk-through
    Nephila edulis

    Golden orb weaver

    Male golden orb weavers can be tiny, with the females being up to 50 times his size.  

  • Madagascar Orb Weaver in a web
    Nephila inaurata madagascariensis

    Madagascar orb weaver

    One of the largest orb weaving spiders, which can spin webs up to 1 metre wide. The female spiders are six times bigger than the males.

  • Visit London Zoo
London Zoo newsletter
Get the latest updates about exciting animal news from the Zoos, upcoming events, experiences, offers