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.
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.
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.
- 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.