Mexican Redknee Tarantula Facts For Kids & Adults: Pictures, Information & Video

This page contains Mexican redknee tarantula facts for kids (and adults). This animal is part of the Active Wild Online Zoo: information, pictures and videos of the world's best-loved animals!

Mexican Redknee Tarantula Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Brachypelma smithi
  • Type of Animal: Arachnid
  • Animal Family: Theraphosidae
  • Where Found: Pacific coast of Mexico
  • Size: Body length 4 in (10cm), leg span 6 in. (15 cm).
  • Weight: 15 to 16g
  • Life span: Males: 10 years; Females: 25-30 years
  • Conservation Status: Near threatened
  • Top speed: 29 km/h (18 mph)

The Mexican Redknee Tarantula: Introduction

The Mexican redknee is a large and distinctive spider found in Central America. It's one of the most common species of pet tarantula and the tarantula most often used in movies!

Mexican Redknee Tarantula Video

Would you like to hold a redknee tarantula? Get a close-up view of this big spider in the video below: 

How to Recognize a Mexican Redknee Tarantula

The Mexican redknee tarantula has a hairy, black body. The orange-red patches on the joints of its legs give the species its name.

Like all arachnids, the Mexican redknee has eight legs. The male and female are similar in appearance, but the male usually has a smaller body and longer legs.

At the end of each of the spider’s legs are two small claws, which enable it to climb smooth surfaces.

This large arachnid is nocturnal, hunting at night and sleeping during the day.

Mexican Redknee Tarantula
Mexican Redknee Tarantula Facts: They are easily identifiable by their red knees.

Where Does The Mexican Redknee Tarantula Live?

The Mexican redknee tarantula is found on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It mainly lives in dry areas such as deserts and mountainsides, and is also found in forests. It digs deep burrows in soil banks, which provide protection from predators. The Mexican redknee tarantula is a solitary animal and lives alone.

What Does The Mexican Redknee Tarantula Eat?

Young Mexican redknee tarantulas eat crickets and small insects. Adults eat crickets, insects, small frogs, small lizards and mice.

Eyesight & Touch

The Mexican redknee tarantula has eight eyes, and can see forwards and backwards at the same time. However, the redknee’s eyesight is poor, and it relies more on its excellent sense of touch when hunting.

Sensitive hairs on the Mexican redknee’s legs can pick up the tiniest vibrations. A small area at the end of each leg is sensitive to smell, taste and touch.


The Mexican redknee tarantula is an ambush predator. It lies in wait in its burrow for prey to pass, before leaping out to subdue its victim with a venomous bite. The prey is then dragged back into the burrow.

The tarantula has two hollow fangs, through which it injects its prey with venom.

The venom has two purposes. First, it paralyses the victim. Then, chemicals in the venom liquidize the victim, allowing the spider to suck the juices up through its straw-like mouth parts.

After a large meal, the tarantula might not eat again for a month.

Are Mexican Redknee Tarantulas Dangerous To Humans?

The Mexican redknee tarantula is generally docile, easy to handle and harmless to humans. It will only bite if threatened, but its venom is not fatal. Its bite is equivalent to a bee sting.

Why do Mexican Redknee Tarantulas Molt?

Mexican redknee tarantulas shed their external skeleton (hard outer skin) in a process called molting. All tarantulas must go through the molting process a few times a year in order to grow.

During the molting process, the spider renews its outer cover and can even slowly regrow a lost leg! The molting process takes several hours, during which time the spider usually lies on its back.

The Breeding Process

Mexican redknee tarantulas mate between July and October. The female makes a silk pad, onto which she lays between 200 and 400 eggs. She then covers this with a sticky substance, and wraps the whole bundle with silk, making an egg sack.

The females guard the egg sack closely, carrying it between their fangs, and only leaving it in secure areas. The eggs hatch on average 9 weeks later. The young tarantulas spend two weeks in the burrow, before becoming independent and leaving home.

Males reach maturity at about four years of age; females at about six or seven years.

Mexican redknee Tarantula Predators & Defense Mechanisms

Although thought of as a powerful predator, the Mexican redknee tarantula is just as likely to be preyed on by animals such as birds and lizards.

Apart from its powerful bite, the tarantula can also brush hairs from its abdomen at its attacker. These hairs are barbed, and can cause severe irritation and even blindness.

Is The Mexican Redknee Tarantula Endangered?

Mexican redknee tarantulas are classified as "near threatened" by the IUCN, and measures are now in place to protect them in the wild.

The spider’s natural habitat is being destroyed by local farming and climate change. Mexican redknee tarantulas are also illegally captured and sold to the pet trade.

The Mexican redknee Tarantula is the most common pet tarantula in the world. In the USA, only captive-grown spiders are allowed to be sold.

Mexican Redknee Tarantula Questions

Q1. Where is the Mexican redknee tarantula found in the wild?

  • a) Pacific coast of Mexico
  • b) Northern Europe
  • c) North America

Q2. How many eggs does the female Mexican redknee tarantula lay?

  • a) 20 to 40
  • b) 80 to 100
  • c) 200 to 400

Q3. How many legs does the Mexican redknee tarantula have?

  • a) 10
  • b) 8
  • c) 6

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Mexican Redknee Tarantula Facts For Kids: Answers

Q1) a, Q2) c, Q3) b

8 thoughts on “Mexican Redknee Tarantula Facts For Kids & Adults: Pictures, Information & Video”

    • Hi,

      That’s a great question.

      The “fifth” pair of legs, which are shorter than the other legs and positioned nearest the head, aren’t legs at all; they’re “pedipalps”. They’re used for feeling, gripping food, and (in males) reproduction.


      The Active Wild Team


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