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Do Tarantulas Hibernate? (Yes But Not in Captivity)

Tarantulas will hibernate when temperatures get below 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) because their bodies need to conserve energy. However, most tarantulas kept in captivity will not hibernate, because the temperatures are almost always above the hibernation mark.

tarantula

In the wild, tarantulas will hibernate, especially if they live in a climate that has slightly harsher winters. They will hibernate to conserve energy and refocus all their energy into survival and ensuring that their bodies are warm enough during the colder months. They also do this because there is not a lot of food around.

Read here about other spiders that hibernate.

Do Tarantulas Hibernate?

blue tarantula

In the wild, tarantulas will enter a state that is close to hibernating. In captivity, it is not very common to see a tarantula hibernate.

That’s because, in captivity, tarantulas are often kept in areas where temperatures don’t get below the hibernation mark, which is at 65 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18 degrees Celsius. Once temperatures start dropping below that point, tarantulas will start to hibernate.

If you’re a tarantula pet owner and you don’t want to see your tarantula hibernate, then you’ll want to make sure that the temperatures don’t get too low during winter, or you might not see that much of your beloved spider. This can be done by simply placing the tarantula tank near a heat source.

tarantula tank

Tarantulas will also not fully hibernate when they are in colder habitats. Instead, they will enter the mode of diapause, which is a state of reduced metabolic activity that is meant to conserve energy. However, it’s also a bit more active than true hibernation, so the tarantulas will not hibernate fully throughout the winter.

In the wild, when the tarantula enters the state of diapause, it will plug up its burrow to conserve the heat inside the burrow, and conserve as much energy as possible. The animal won’t need that much food because its body enters into a mode of reduced metabolic activity.

In some areas of the world, like South Texas, tarantulas will never enter hibernation at all. That’s because the temperatures stay warm enough year-long, which allows the spider to remain active at all times.

Related: Old World vs New World Tarantulas

Do Tarantulas Hibernate in Captivity?

tarantula spider

Very rarely, and only if the temperatures are too low for them to function.

It is not very common to see a tarantula pet hibernate, but it does happen occasionally. There are two big reasons why that does not happen very often, or at all:

  • The temperatures in captivity are high enough to prevent the tarantula the need to hibernate. This means that the tarantula can stay active throughout the entire year provided that you ensure the spider has high enough temperatures to function normally.
  • They don’t get cues from their environment telling them to hibernate as they do in the wild. In captivity, tarantulas are not forced to hibernate because they’re not conditioned to do so as much as they are in the wild. That’s because they will still get enough food when they’re in captivity, so they don’t need to reduce their metabolic rates.

If you don’t want to see your pet tarantula hibernate in captivity, then there are a few things that you can do to prevent this behavior.

tarantula

The first thing you’ll need to do is ensure that the temperatures are high enough throughout the entire winter. Aim for at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit or around 20 degrees Celsius, which, most of the time, you can achieve by ensuring that the spider tank is near a heat source to prevent the temps from sinking lower than that.

The other thing you’ll want to make sure of is that they get enough food to keep their metabolic system running.

So in the vast majority of cases, it will be more about basic maintenance of the spider rather than taking any special measures to prevent hibernation from happening. If you take good care of the spider and provide it with high enough temps, then you should be able to prevent them from going into hibernation.

Related: 24 Examples of Animals that Hibernate 

Why Do They Hibernate?

tarantula

Tarantulas hibernate to conserve energy and to survive the colder temperatures in their habitat.

Like most other animals that hibernate, tarantulas do it for a few different reasons to help them ensure their survival.

The first big reason is that they need to conserve energy when they hibernate. This is crucial for their survival because they don’t get as much food in the winter as they would normally get, so they also won’t have the same amount of energy as they normally would. This means they’ll need to save up energy to survive.

The other big reason why tarantulas hibernate is that they need to stay warm during winter. Their bodies don’t have a natural ability to adjust the temperature of the body, so they need to find other ways to stay warm. The best way for them is to conserve as much energy as possible and prevent heat from escaping their bodies.

When they are about to go into hibernation, they will prepare a safe spot where they can safely retreat. Usually, that will be their burrow or an underground area where they will feel safe. They’ll also prepare food if necessary. After that, they will seal up their burrow and prepare for the long winter ahead.

This is one of the key mechanisms that tarantulas use to survive long and harsh winters. However, even this might sometimes not be enough, especially if temperatures get lower during the winter. A portion of the tarantulas that hibernate in the wild might never wake up again.

Conclusion

Tarantulas are a hibernating species that might enter hibernation if the temperatures get too low. This ensures their survival even in the coldest of the months, which is necessary for them to stay alive when it’s cold.

Not all tarantulas will do that, though, especially not the tarantulas that are kept as pets. They might live in habitats where the temperatures are high enough to stay awake throughout the year, as they don’t feel the need to hibernate.

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