Tarantulas don’t have ears that they’d use to hear things around them, but they use the hairs on their legs to detect sound waves. Tarantulas can hear through feeling vibrations pretty well, even through walls.
Tarantulas have hairs all over their legs, which are sensitive to sound waves. And they can also hear pretty well over several meters, thanks to their highly sensitive hairs that enable them to detect sounds well. According to Paul Shamble, an arachnologist, tarantulas can even hear you from another room in your home.
Are Tarantulas Deaf?
No, tarantulas are not completely deaf, even though they don’t have ears. They are still able to detect sounds thanks to the sound-sensitive hairs on their legs.
It showed that jumping spiders have a very good ability to hear sounds from afar, and even when the distance between the sound source and the spider was around 3 meters.
That study was also crucial for the discovery of the hearing capabilities of tarantulas. It’s widely believed that tarantulas carry the same (or at the very least, similar) capacity to hear sounds thanks to the hairs on their legs. Tarantulas too can hear sounds from another room, so they might be able to recognize your voice.
It’s believed that this relatively strong sense of hearing (considering that spiders don’t have ears or eardrums) stems from the need to hear animals of prey and potential threats around the spider.
They’re good at detecting airborne sounds as well, which is crucial when dealing with insects and other animals of interest from the air.
So to the surprise of some people, tarantulas are not fully deaf, they just detect sounds in a different way than we humans do.
How Do Tarantulas Hear?
Tarantulas use the hairs on their legs to detect sounds around them. These hairs are sensitive to sound waves and the vibrations that come with them, allowing the tarantula to detect sounds and noises around it.
These hairs on their legs will pick up sound waves that are coming from around the tarantula’s body. They’re able to pick up sounds that come from up to 5 meters away, and they’re particularly good at detecting sounds that come from above.
After the sounds have been collected by the hairs, they’ll travel through the tarantula’s nervous system and into its brain, which is located at the bottom of its cephalothorax. The sounds are then processed by the brain, and from there, all further actions by the spiders are “commanded” by the brain itself.
If necessary, the tarantula will hide if it senses danger through its sound receptacles, which are believed to be located in the deepest portions of the tarantula’s brain. If the sounds resemble something like a sound that a predator would make, then this would ring the alarm bells to the spider and prompt it to hide ASAP.
Can Tarantulas Hear All Sounds?
Spiders can hear most sounds, but they can hear low-frequency sounds better than others, which is crucial for their survival.
Because the vast majority of their predators, such as spider wasps, will make sounds of lower frequencies. The sounds that tarantulas detect best are sounds with frequencies of between 80 and 130 Hz, which is right around the type of sounds that wasps make with their wings as they fly by.
So while tarantulas do have the capacity to hear and detect most sounds around them, they will prioritize low-frequency sounds because they’re crucial for their survival. If they hear such sounds, they’ll feel alarmed and might be more alert as they start to sense danger around them.
From the study done by Shamble and other researchers we’ve mentioned above, we can see that the spiders in the study responded to the squeaking of the chair less than they did to clapping, for instance. The clapping is of a slightly lower frequency, so the spider was able to detect it from farther away.
A male’s voice is also at around 80 to 130 Hz in frequency, meaning that the tarantula that you have might be able to hear your voice (if you’re a male) much better than most people believe.
Related Article: Do Tarantulas Need Light?
Can Tarantulas Recognize Their Owners by Their Voice?
Tarantulas do hear the sounds that their owners make, and it’s likely that they can recognize the voice of their owner to an extent. However, their hearing is still not developed well enough to fully recognize their owner just using their hearing.
The hearing of a tarantula is better than most people believe, but still not good enough to act as the hearing in humans, for example. We’re able to instantly tell that someone is talking just by listening to their voice – well, tarantulas don’t have the same capacity to recognize humans by their talking voice.
It’s also believed that tarantulas can hear the male voice slightly better than a female voice because the male voice is lower in frequency.
Scientists also believe that tarantulas don’t have a good memory, so they might not be able to recognize you by your voice, even if they can detect it pretty well.
As for other senses, tarantulas can’t detect their owners by using their scent (they don’t really have it), so it’s not very likely that a tarantula would recognize you that easily.
However, there still needs to be more research done on this.
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Tarantulas don’t have the best hearing in the world. Yes, they are able to detect sounds around them using the hairs on their legs, but their hearing capacity is aimed more towards survival than other means. It’s also not likely that tarantulas would be able to recognize their owners by just their voices.
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