5 Cool Facts & Care Tips for Red Trapdoor Spiders

Learn five cool facts about Red Trapdoor Spiders and how to take care of them from Jungle Bob in this Howcast video.

Another amazing arachnid is the red trapdoor spider, closely related to tarantulas, but a true spider, not a tarantula. We find these little guys in Africa. And the reason they’re interesting is how they hunt their prey. They literally make a hole in the ground. Their front fangs, which are normally designed to kill their prey actually have the ability to do a little digging, a little burrowing. And they’ll go down to the ground.

They’ll make a little hole. And then they spin their web up over the top of that hole and literally make a door out of it, make a hinge on the back. They then put a couple of trip webs up in the front so when an unsuspecting insect comes along, the spider stays down the hole, the insect will walk along and hit those trip wires, much like they do in the army movies, right? Hit the trip wires and the spider explodes out of the ground, the top opens up, he grabs his prey, bites it, pulls it back into the bottom of his burrow where he usually just sits on it, puts it on the bottom, and waits for the next one. He will go along and eat that whenever he feels like it because his venom is going to liquefy that insect and he’ll have meal when the need arises. But an interesting way, very clever way to hunt prey.

Talk about an ambush predator. You can’t get more ambushing than a trapdoor spider. They’re found throughout the world. There’s not that many species of them, but they all do the same thing. This one I have here in front of me is the red trapdoor spider who is an aggressive little guy just by the vibration on the tweezers here is actually rearing up his pedipalps, the two little feelers in between the eight legs, the two right there.

And underneath that is the business. That’s where his fangs are. And if he is nervous he will actually lift up those pedipalps and he’ll say, check out these fangs. Look at that formidable bite I can give to you and try to scare off a potential predator. But for the most part, he is safe by staying down in his burrow. The trapdoor mechanism is really one of the wonders of nature, I think, that an animal could engineer something with a hinge on it that he can actually, with one strand of his web, pull it shut when he wants to keep himself safe inside. You can’t make this stuff up. The red trapdoor spider. Awesome creature.