Spiders rear their front legs up because they enter a defensive stance this way. This will happen when they feel threatened and they want to make themselves look bigger.
Most spiders are defensive in nature. They will only attack if they are provoked or when they are hunting their prey.
Spiders have developed a series of defensive mechanisms that are meant to keep them protected from other spiders and potential predators. This is the case even for hunting spiders.
Why Do Spiders Rear Up Their Front Legs?
Spiders will raise their front legs when they feel attacked, which they will do to make themselves look bigger.
It is a defensive strategy for spiders that are attacked when they are provoked by other predators or spiders. There are two main purposes of the raising of their front legs:
- To make themselves look bigger
- To prepare their fangs to strike back the attacker
For many spiders, rearing their front legs up is one of the more important defensive mechanisms, but there are also many other.
When a spider raises its front legs, the spider aims to make itself look more menacing. This will happen particularly if the spider faces an enemy that is larger than itself. However, it can also act as an advantage over other smaller spiders or of the same size, to instil a fear factor.
The raising of the legs might also happen if you try to approach it. For example, if you touch a spider, it might rear up its front legs, which is a sign that the spider is getting defensive against you. If that happens, it might be best if you don’t touch the spider again, because it acts as a warning that it might bite you the next time.
What Does it Mean When a Tarantula Lifts its Legs?
When a tarantula lifts its legs (one or more legs), it means that the tarantula is getting ready to defend itself. It is entering a defensive stance, so it means that it feels threatened.
Tarantulas can’t run very quickly, so they will have to use other mechanisms for defense.
One of the main mechanisms will be the urticating hairs, which act as a special weapon that tarantulas use to stun their targets and make them unable to chase them. These hairs are shot from the abdomen of the tarantula as it raises its front legs.
As you may see, the raising of the front legs for tarantulas can have a special, practical meaning. It might help the tarantula shoot the hairs from its abdomen, which is particularly helpful when the spider feels like it’s attacked.
These urticating hairs are coated with poison, so the tarantula aims to shoot this poison into the eyes of the enemy, which might blind it.
So, if you mishandle a tarantula, you might want to be mighty careful if it raises its legs – that is when it is preparing to shoot the urticating hairs towards you.
The tarantula will also raise its legs when it feels attacked to make itself look bigger. This movement will give it an advantage over predators that are slightly larger than the spider.
It’s also effective when they square up against predators or enemies of a similar size, as it makes them look more threatening.
When Will a Spider Raise its Front Legs?
A spider will raise its front legs if it feels attacked, when it enters a defensive stance, or when it is fighting with another spider or animal over territory.
Many spiders are not very fast movers, and when they feel like they’ve got no other choice, they will run away. However, they will use that as a last resort, as they prefer to use other mechanisms to defend themselves.
The most common instance when a spider would raise its front legs is when it feels attacked and it enters a defensive stance. In this case, the raise of the front legs will act as a defensive mechanism that would aim to deter attackers away.
Also, some spiders, like the tarantula, will use this mechanism to shoot their urticating hairs.
Sometimes, spiders will also raise their front legs if they are attacking another spider or species. It is not that common to see spiders that attack other species, however, it does happen.
And when it happens, it is likely that the spiders will raise the front legs to make themselves look bigger.
Another instance where a spider would raise its front legs would be right before it strikes. It is preparing its fangs for an attack this way, so when the front legs are raised, it will be easier for the spider to attack.
What Defensive Mechanisms do Spiders Have?
Spiders have many other defensive mechanisms in addition to the raising of the front legs. The most important ones include their venom, their web, urticating hairs, speed, as well as their hard shells.
These are the most important defensive mechanisms of spiders.
- Venom – most spiders have venom, although there are also some spiders that don’t have it. Those that do have it will use their venom both to defend themselves and to attack when they capture their prey.
- Webs – for many spiders, their webs are meant to provide them with some cover. These webs act as a safety net when they move around as it will keep them safe and protected.
- Urticating hairs – as we’ve already mentioned, the urticating hairs are an important defensive mechanism for tarantulas.
- Speed – some spiders are too fast to be caught, so they will use their agility and speed to run away from threats.
Spiders will usually rear their front legs up when they feel threatened or attacked. This mechanism is commonly observed with most spiders, and it acts as a warning to the attacker to stay away from the spider. The aim of the mechanism is to make the spider look bigger, which can help it in its cause.