Tarantulas are not very intelligent, because they mostly rely on their senses to survive. They have a small central nervous system that acts as a brain, and the brain is mostly suited to solving sensory cues from the environment.
The brains of tarantulas don’t have working memory or the capacity to solve problems. This is one major difference between the brains of humans and the brains of spiders, including tarantulas.
Because their brains don’t have a working memory, tarantulas can’t remember things, including their owners.
Are Tarantulas Intelligent?
Tarantulas are not very intelligent, but they possess enough mental abilities to navigate and survive their environment.
The brains of a tarantula do not have a working memory. This means they can’t remember things like we can – for example, places, things, or people.
But the brains of a tarantula still allow the tarantula to learn new things, especially when it comes to things that are crucial for survival.
They are capable of acquiring avoidance learning. This type of learning allows them to sense the danger around them and escape the danger while they are in those dangerous situations.
For example, studies show that they can also learn patterns that signal danger to them. When those patterns are detected by the brains of a tarantula, it will cause the spider to flee the situation.
They are also capable to retain the knowledge they’ve gained through avoidance learning, which allows them to better navigate their surroundings and avoid danger.
On the other hand, tarantulas can’t remember things very well.
They cannot remember objects and places, nor people. If you’re a tarantula owner, then you might be a bit disappointed by the fact that your tarantula will not be able to remember your face.
Because of that, the tarantula will often perceive you as a potential threat. If that happens, the spider will avoid you.
This is especially typical if you’re a new owner of a tarantula. This fear will gradually and slowly go away as spiders get used to people (that doesn’t mean they’re conscious of this, though), but their fear will never be completely gone since the spider can’t recognize you.
Related Article: Do Tarantulas Need Light?
Do Tarantulas Have Brains?
Yes, tarantulas have brains. They are located on the bottom of the inner prosoma, which is located between the head and the digestive system of a tarantula.
This brain is not like the brain of humans. Instead, it is a central nervous system of ganglia. The main role of the brain is to perceive and detect sensual stimulations from the environment.
The brain detects stimulations that with the help of setae. The setae are simple sensory organs that come in the form of hairs. These urticating hairs act as an extension of the brains of the tarantula, as they provide the spider with important information about the surroundings.
Through these hairs (urticating hairs, as we call them), tarantulas can sense their surroundings. They can spot movements of other animals, detect objects around them, sense the wind and the air around the spider, including the air that is coming from flying animals around the tarantula.
Sensory detection will be the main function of the tarantula brain. The main source of information will be the urticating hairs, although the spider also has eight eyes.
However, a tarantula cannot see very well through these eyes, and will mostly rely on the urticating hairs to get information about the environment.
Do Tarantulas Think?
A tarantula does not consciously think like humans. Thought-processing and thinking is a pretty complicated process.
Even though more and more studies are finding that some animals can consciously think, it was previously thought that thinking was unique to humans only.
Some animals that have slightly bigger and more capable brains, like chimpanzees, can process thoughts. However, this ability is still not very common with animals, and there are not many species in the world that can think the way that humans do.
Still, more studies need to be done on this topic.
One thing is for certain, though: tarantulas (and other spiders) cannot think consciously. The main reason for this is that their brains are not designed to mull thoughts over, and the brains of a tarantula also don’t have other mental capacities that would enable the spider to evolve its thoughts.
Conscious thinking is quite complex, and it requires the animal to have a brain that can memorize something and then have the capacity to apply logic to these memories.
Not many animals can do this, including tarantulas.
Can Tarantulas Learn?
Tarantulas can learn simple things like survival and hunting, although they cannot learn new things such as tricks.
Unfortunately, if you own a pet tarantula (or you’re aspiring to), then you won’t be able to teach the spider new tricks. Even though tarantulas can learn, their learning ability is more closely tied to their sense of survival.
A tarantula can learn things that are necessary for them to survive. This includes things like learning how to create webs, or how to survive attacks from predators.
It will also learn how to hunt at an early age, which gives it an opportunity to learn very early in its development and fend for itself.
However, when it comes to learning non-essential things, tarantulas will not be very efficient.
Their brains don’t have enough working memory to process and learn new things. If you were to try to teach your tarantula a new trick, the tarantula would not be able to remember what you tried to teach it.
All current evidence is showing that the tarantula’s learning ability is pretty crude and elementary.
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Tarantulas are not very intelligent, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. No two species are the same, and tarantulas don’t require a lot of intelligence to survive.
They will learn the most important things for survival early in their lives. They can learn things like building webs and hunting, which allows them to survive. Their brains are not built as the other brains you might think about, though.
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