Choosing your first tarantula
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Tarantulas will only reproduce if they are sexually mature.

Mature males are easy to differentiate from females because their legs are thinner, their bodies are generally smaller and males have two distinguishing features: a spur under the two front legs next to the pedipalp and the last segment of the pedipalps are swollen like boxing gloves. The last segment of the pedipalp is modified in males and is used in the process of reproduction.

Males spin a web on the ground onto which they release semen from glands in the abdomen. They then dip their pedipalps into the semen and it is absorbed into the last segment of the pedipalp. The pedipalp is then inserted into the genital opening of the female.


1. The male is sexually mature when he has spurs on the two front legs next to the pedipalps and the pedipalps are swollen. A female tarantula is mature when adult size is reached.

2. Wait until female has shed her skin.

3. Ensure the male and female are well fed before you try to mate them.

4. Place the male into the female’s enclosure. Pay careful attention to see if the female is being aggressive toward the male and is therefore not receptive. Have a container ready to place over female if she is too aggressive toward the male. Remove the male if this is the case and try again a few days later.

5. If the female is receptive, mating can take place in a few seconds to a few hours. Both male and female may display ritual courtship behaviour before they mate (rubbing of legs, drumming of ground etc). Don’t let these peculiarities bother you. The male will make every effort to push the female backward/upright in order to gain access to the epigastric furrow. Once the abdomen is exposed, he will insert his pedipalps. If things get confused, you can usually distinguish the male as being the more brightly coloured specimen.

Male (front) meets female and both tarantulas lift bodies upright.

Male moves closer to insert pedipalp into epigastric furrow.

 6. Once copulation (mating) is complete, the male usually makes a run for it. In some instances, the male might get killed by the female in the process of mating. Remove the male from enclosure once he has successfully inserted his pedipalps into the female’s epigastric furrow.

7. You might want to repeat the process of mating a few times spread over a couple of weeks to ensure a successfully breeding.

8. Eggs are produced in the ovaries. Fertilized eggs are then released through the genital opening into a cocoon that is spun, called an egg sac. An egg sac should be produced in just over a month from copulation. Females have been known to eat their egg sac if disturbed, so best leave her alone for a while.

You can leave the egg sac with the female and let her incubate the eggs or you can incubate the egg sac artificially.  Temperatures of between 27 and 28 degrees C (80 – 82 F) are ideal. Humidity is also important. Keep the humidity at between 60 and 70%. The other important thing is to turn the egg sac on a regular basis
The egg sac should hatch in 45 – 90 days (but can take as long as 200 days).

9. If breeding is successful, be prepared to house a few hundred to a few thousand spiderlings (depending on the species).