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Tarantula Eyes: How Many and Are They Blind?

Tarantulas have eight eyes, like the majority of other spiders. However, they don’t use their eyesight prominently as it is not very good. Instead, they rely on other senses such as touch, which is the most important sense for the tarantula.

are tarantulas blind

Like most other spiders, tarantulas have eight eyes. They have two bigger eyes in the middle of their head and four smaller eyes beneath these two larger eyes. Additionally, they also have two eyes on the sides, which provide them with some additional insights about their surroundings.

Their eyesight is not the best though, and they’ll use other senses in nature to survive and hunt.

How Many Eyes Does a Tarantula Have?

Tarantulas have eight eyes: two larger eyes in the middle of their head, four smaller eyes beneath the two larger eyes, and additional two eyes on the side of their head.

These eyes are placed strategically so that they provide the spider with the best possible feedback about its surroundings.

However, the eyesight of a tarantula is not particularly good.

It can’t see colors as humans do. There are a lot of discussions of whether tarantulas can even see color, but most scientists agree that tarantulas don’t have very good eyesight.

The main reason for this conclusion is that they rely on other senses instead. Most notably, tarantulas rely heavily on vibrations and the sense of touch. According to some studies, tarantulas are second in the list of all animals that feel vibrations the most, only toppled by cockroaches.

Like the vast majority of other spiders, tarantulas also have eight eyes. This seems to be an evolutionary feature as most spiders come with eight eyes. However, not all spiders use these eyes to great effect.

For example, hunting spiders like wolf spiders are more likely to have sharper eyesight, while hairier spiders rely on their hairs and other senses a bit more.

tarantula walking over sand

Where Are Tarantula Eyes Located?

Their eyes are located on their cephalothorax, right above their chelicerae. They have two larger eyes and two eyes on the side of these two eyes, followed by a row of four smaller eyes beneath them.

If these eyes were fully functional, they would allow the tarantula to see in almost all directions. They are positioned strategically and it is believed that they once played a more important role for spiders than they do today for tarantulas.

However, with evolution, tarantulas don’t need to use their eyes any longer.

Because they sometimes live in grasslands and other areas where they can’t use their sight to its full extent, they have come to rely on other senses instead. Some tarantula species also live in caves and other enclosed areas where their eyes are not of much help, so they might use other senses.

The position of the eyes for the tarantula is much the same as the position of the eyes of other spiders. For most spiders, these eyes are located on the cephalothorax above the chelicerae.

Are Tarantulas Blind?

No, tarantulas are not completely blind, but they cannot see very well. Their eyes don’t offer them the possibility of seeing their environment in a lot of detail, and they can’t see colors very well, too.

Likely, tarantulas are still able to spot the difference between light and dark, and they can still see silhouettes in their eyesight.

If they have to, they will use their eyes to distinguish shapes and features around them such as larger objects, but these eyes will not be very effective.

Tarantulas also respond to light, because their eyes allow them to distinguish light from dark. And when they sense light, they will likely go to a darker corner because most of the time, they will prefer to stay in darkness rather than light.

Instead of relying on their sight, tarantulas will use their hairs to detect vibrations around them.

With these hairs, tarantulas can spot movements around them. They can spot animals and other objects for several feet, while they can also detect sounds, air movements, and even smells with these hairs.

They will also use hairs to spot prey and potential predators. They are particularly effective against flying animals because they can spot a flying animal from several feet away, helping them avoid threats even if a predator is only approaching the tarantula.

These hairs thus diminish the need for tarantulas to use their eyes to spot other animals and movements around them.

Do Pet Tarantulas Recognize Their Owners with Their Eyes?

Tarantulas will usually not recognize their owners using their eyesight.

Firstly, it is because the eyesight is simply not good enough for them to spot their owner. While they can make sense of basic shapes and silhouettes with their eyes, they’re not nearly good enough to see the facial features of humans or other distinguishing factors that would help them spot their owner.

Secondly, it is believed that tarantulas simply don’t have the intelligence needed to spot their owners.

Likely, they don’t possess enough memory for them to remember their owners, even if they stayed with one owner for a longer amount of time.

Using their eyes, tarantulas will often only recognize the shape of your body if you approach it. And because we’re much larger than the spider, it will get scared, especially if you surprise the tarantula.

So when you first buy your tarantula, don’t be surprised if it gets scared by you, especially in the beginning. As you own it for some time, it will get used to your presence and will not get scared as much, but it still won’t recognize you completely as other pets like cats or dogs.

Conclusion

Tarantulas have eight eyes, although these eyes are not very good. Tarantulas don’t see very well, as they are only able to distinguish basic shapes with their eyes, and they’re also able to separate light from the darkness. They won’t recognize their owners with their eyes, though.