Tarantulas San Diego: A Beginner’s Guide and Care Sheet

San Diego, with its diverse habitats, is home to some fascinating wildlife, including tarantulas. These large spiders and hairy spiders often evoke a sense of wonder and sometimes fear. If you’re curious about these tarantulas and where to find them in San Diego, this article on “Tarantulas San Diego” is for you.

What Are Tarantulas?

Tarantulas San Diego

Tarantulas are a group of large spiders, hairy spiders that belong to the family Theraphosidae. They are known for their impressive size, with some species having a leg span of over 10 inches. Despite their daunting appearance, tarantulas are generally harmless to humans and are often kept as pets.

Tarantula Species in San Diego

San Diego is home to several species of tarantulas, each with its unique characteristics. Here’s a table highlighting some of the species from san diego region you might encounter:

Species NameDescriptionHabitatRegion
Aphonopelma eutylenumDark brown, burrowing tarantulaChaparral and desert areasSan Diego
Aphonopelma iodiusDark coloration with orange-red hairsCoastal sage scrubSan Diego
Aphonopelma reversumBrown with a metallic sheenOak woodlandsSan Diego

1: Aphonopelma eutylenum

Tarantulas San Diego

The Aphonopelma eutylenum, commonly known as the California Ebony Tarantula, is a fascinating species that captivates the hearts of arachnid enthusiasts. Found primarily in the grasslands and deserts of California, this tarantula is known for its docile nature and striking appearance. This San Diego tarantula belongs to San Diego city. Let’s dive into the world of the Aphonopelma eutylenum and uncover what makes this species so unique.

Species Information Table

Common NameCalifornia Ebony Tarantula
RegionSan Diego
Scientific NameAphonopelma eutylenum
Size5 to 6 inches in leg span
ColorDark brown to black with a velvety texture
HabitatGrasslands, deserts, and foothills in California
LifespanUp to 30 years in captivity
DietInsects, small lizards, and rodents
BehaviorNocturnal, docile, and slow-moving
ReproductionFemales lay 50-2000 eggs in a silk cocoon

Key Characteristics

The Aphonopelma eutylenum tarantula is easily recognizable by its velvety dark brown to black coloration, which provides excellent camouflage in its natural habitat. It has a robust and stocky body, with a leg span that can reach up to 6 inches. Despite its intimidating size, this tarantula is known for its gentle demeanor, making it a favorite among pet enthusiasts.

Habitat and Lifestyle

Native to California, the Aphonopelma eutylenum tarantula thrives in grasslands, deserts, and foothills. It is a burrowing species, creating deep burrows in the ground to escape the heat and predators. This tarantula is nocturnal, emerging at night to hunt for prey such as insects, small lizards, and rodents.

Captive Care

In captivity, the Aphonopelma eutylenum tarantula requires a spacious enclosure with a deep substrate for burrowing. A hide and a shallow water dish should also be provided. This species is low-maintenance and can live up to 30 years with proper care, making it a long-term commitment for any tarantula keeper.

2: Aphonopelma iodius

Aphonopelma iodius

The Aphonopelma iodius tarantula, also known as the Great Basin Tarantula, is a captivating species that resides in the deserts of the western United States. This tarantula is known for its gentle nature and striking appearance, making it a favorite among arachnid enthusiasts. In this section, we’ll explore the unique characteristics of the Aphonopelma iodius tarantula and what makes it stand out in the animal kingdom.

Species Information Table

Scientific NameAphonopelma iodius
Common NameGreat Basin Tarantula
HabitatDeserts of the western United States
SizeBody length of 2 to 3 inches
ColorDark brown to black with a coppery sheen
LifespanUp to 30 years in captivity
DietInsects, small lizards, and rodents
BehaviorNocturnal, burrowing
Conservation StatusNot currently listed as endangered

Key Characteristics

The Aphonopelma iodius tarantula is a medium-sized spider with a body length ranging from 2 to 3 inches. Its coloration is typically dark brown to black, with a distinctive coppery sheen on its abdomen. This tarantula is a burrowing species, creating deep burrows in the desert soil where it spends most of its time.

Habitat and Behavior

Native to the arid regions of the western United States, the Aphonopelma iodius tarantula thrives in desert environments. It is a nocturnal creature, emerging from its burrow at night to hunt for prey. Its diet consists mainly of insects, but it can also feed on small lizards and rodents.

Captive Care

The Aphonopelma iodius tarantula is a popular pet due to its docile nature. When kept in captivity, it requires a dry, warm enclosure that mimics its natural desert habitat. A substrate of sand or soil allows for burrowing, and a hide should be provided for shelter. This species has a long lifespan, with some individuals living up to 30 years in captivity.

3: Aphonopelma Reversum

Aphonopelma Reversum

The Aphonopelma reversum tarantula is a captivating species that intrigues both arachnid enthusiasts and those curious about the natural world. This section will introduce you to this fascinating creature, providing insights into its characteristics, habitat, and behavior.

Species Information Table

Common NameAphonopelma reversum Tarantula
SizeMedium-sized, with a leg span up to 5 inches
ColorGenerally dark brown or black
HabitatArid and semi-arid regions, often in burrows
DietInsects, small lizards, and rodents
LifespanFemales: up to 30 years; Males: shorter
DistributionPrimarily found in North America
ReproductionThe female lay eggs in silk cocoon

Key Characteristics

The Aphonopelma reversum tarantula is known for its robust build and calm demeanor. It has a dark coloration, which helps it blend into its surroundings, providing camouflage from predators. This species is medium-sized, making it a popular choice for tarantula enthusiasts looking to add to their collections.

Natural Habitat

These tarantulas are native to North America, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. They are burrowers, meaning they create and live in burrows to protect themselves from predators and harsh weather conditions. Their habitat preferences make them well-suited to environments with sandy or loamy soil.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Aphonopelma reversum tarantulas are carnivorous, feeding primarily on insects such as crickets and beetles. They are also known to occasionally prey on small lizards and rodents. In captivity, they can be fed a diet of live insects to mimic their natural feeding habits.

Behavior and Temperament

This species is docile in nature, making it a good option for those new to keeping tarantulas. They are generally slow-moving and prefer to retreat rather than confront potential threats. However, like all tarantulas, they can exhibit defensive behaviors if provoked.

Where to Find Tarantulas in San Diego

Tarantulas typically belong to natural habitats away from urban areas of San Diego. Some places in San Diego County where you might spot them include:

  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: A great spot for desert species like Aphonopelma eutylenum.
  • Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve: Coastal sage scrub areas here may host Aphonopelma iodius.
  • Cleveland National Forest: The oak woodlands are a potential habitat for Aphonopelma reversum.

Tarantula Season in San Diego

The best time to see tarantulas in San Diego is during their mating season, which usually occurs from late summer to early fall. During this time, male tarantulas venture out of their burrows in search of females, making them more visible. Read more on Tarantulas in Arizona

Safety Tips

Safety Tips

If you encounter a tarantula, it’s essential to respect their space and observe them from a distance. Avoid handling them, as they can become stressed and may bite if they feel threatened. It’s essential to follow some safety tips to ensure peaceful coexistence:

Respect Their Space: If you encounter a tarantula in the wild, maintain a respectful distance. These creatures are not aggressive by nature and will only bite if they feel threatened.

Avoid Handling: While tarantulas can be handled with care, it’s best to avoid handling them unnecessarily, especially if you’re not experienced. Their bites are not typically dangerous but can be painful.

Use Caution in Mating Season: In San Diego, tarantulas are often wandering in search of mates during the fall. Be cautious during this time as they are more likely to be encountered.

Secure Your Home: To prevent tarantulas from entering your home, ensure that screens on windows and doors are intact and seal any cracks or gaps.

Be Gentle if Relocating: If you need to relocate a tarantula, gently coax it into a container with a lid and release it in a suitable outdoor area away from your home.

Wear Gloves: If you must handle a tarantula, wearing gloves can protect you from potential bites and prevent the transfer of oils or chemicals from your skin to the spider.

Educate Yourself and Others: Learning about tarantulas and educating others can help dispel myths and reduce fear. Understanding that these creatures are not dangerous can promote a more harmonious relationship between humans and tarantulas. Read more on Tarantulas Handling


Tarantulas are an intriguing part of San Diego’s natural wildlife. By understanding where and when to find them, you can safely appreciate these remarkable creatures in their natural habitat. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or just curious about local wildlife, discovering tarantulas in San Diego can be a fascinating experience. 

They usually don’t harm people and help by eating bugs. It’s good to be careful around them and let them live peacefully in their homes. If you see a tarantula, it’s a chance to learn about these cool creatures.

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