Can Tarantulas Smell?

Tarantulas can smell but in very different ways than humans. They will use their urticating hairs to detect chemical stimuli from the environment, which will give them an elementary understanding of the smell of an object.

Can Tarantulas Smell

Tarantulas don’t have noses or olfactory cavities, so they also detect the smell in very different ways to how most of us are familiar. They ‘feel chemicals in the air’ rather than smelling per se.

The most important organ for smell detection is the urticating hairs on their legs. These hairs have the ability to distinguish between airborne chemicals and tell the tarantula’s brain what ‘smells’ are around.

Can Tarantulas Smell?

Yes, tarantulas can smell, just in a very different way than humans can.

They can sense smells from the urticating hairs on their bodies. These hairs are located mainly on their legs, but also their abdomen. When these hairs sense a smell that comes from a chemical substance, this information is then relayed onto the brains, which then process the smells.

The hairs that are located on their front legs and pedipalps are more effective at detecting smells than the rest of the legs and hairs on the tarantula body. The reason for this is that these hairs are crucial for their mating and eating habits, which is exactly where the tarantula will need its sense of smell.

For example, the hairs on the front legs and pedipalps are more suitable for detecting smells of the food they’re about to eat, which can help the tarantula determine the quality of the food through the smell.

Another use of these hairs is to find partners that are willing to mate. With the help of these hairs, they can sense and smell which potential partners are ready to mate. This sense is particularly important for males because it can give them a better idea of whether the female is ready to mate or not.

Can Tarantulas Smell Prey?

Yes, tarantulas can smell their prey if they are located close to the prey.

In an experiment done by scientists at the Journal of Zoology, they tested whether the tarantula can smell objects close to it.

The results were interesting – the study found that the tarantula was able to smell a live cockroach close to the tarantula, which shows us that the tarantula can indeed smell their prey.

In the same study, the researchers also found that the tarantula (a male tarantula) was able to detect the smells of a potential female mate.

These results help us better understand how the tarantula can interact with its surroundings, and how it is able to survive the world without the same elements that give us senses.

The tarantula will use its sense of smell for survival. It will mostly use the sense of smell to detect prey and potentially to find predators and detect them, taste food, and acknowledge the quality of food.

It’s also useful for mating since it allows the male tarantula to learn if the female is ready to mate.

Of course, the sense of smell with tarantulas is not as strong as the smell of other animals. They have a much weaker sense of smell than humans, and it’s also much weaker than the sense of smell of other animals. They rely on other senses instead, which are mostly done through the urticating hairs.

There still needs to be more research done on this matter, though. This study shows that smell can indeed be important for the tarantula when spotting prey, but it doesn’t tell us that the spider will also heavily rely on other senses at the same time.

Related Article: Can Tarantulas Eat Hornworms?

How Well Can Tarantulas Smell?

Tarantulas use their smell for finding food and prey, but their smell isn’t very strong – their smell is only able to detect smells from chemical elements around the tarantula.

Because tarantulas detect smells using their hairs, the hairs will need to be close to the object that they’re trying to smell.

For this reason, tarantulas are not able to smell smells from far away – but only the smells that are close enough to the spider so that the hairs can pick it up.

This means that tarantulas can mostly smell things that are quite close to the front legs and the pedipalps of the spider. This is where the hairs are most sensitive to smells, and the tarantula will mainly rely on these hairs to detect smells.

As for the kinds of smells that tarantulas can detect, there is not a lot of research done on this. The current evidence shows that tarantulas are particularly good at detecting smells of other animals and foods. That’s because these smells are crucial for their survival and allow them to find foods that would keep them healthy.

What Smell Do Tarantulas Hate?

It is said that tarantulas hate the smell of citruses, such as oranges, lemons, and grapes.

Spiders supposedly hate the smell of citrus, so, likely, it is also the case for tarantulas.

These smells are particularly off-putting for the spiders if they are placed near the location where the spider is. Many people who are worried about spiders entering their home can use this method to turn them away (although, it’s not super effective).

If you own a pet tarantula, you can try it for yourself to see results. You will need to place the fruit near the tarantula’s front legs, though, if you would want to see the best results possible for this experiment to work.


Tarantulas cannot smell like humans, but they sense airborne chemicals in very different ways than you might imagine. They will use their urticating hairs to detect smells. Through these hairs, they will detect the quality of food, potential mates, and other things in their environment.

Their sense of smell is not very strong, but good enough to help them survive. Their front legs and their pedipalps are full of hairs that enable them to sense smells, which is why the most smells that they’ll detect will come from these areas.

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