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How to Tell If a Tarantula Is Male or Female

Learn how to tell if a tarantula is male or female from Jungle Bob in this Howcast video.


The question I hate to answer most about tarantulas. Jungle Bob, is that a male or a female? I could throw an answer out but it's probably 50 50 just by looking at the it. It's extremely difficult to tell the difference between tarantula genders just by looking at the animal.

Certainly the length of the pedipalps, which are the two extensions in between the legs, sometimes in certain species might be an indicator but really isn't. You could look at the end of those pedipalps and in the mating season the males will have a little bulbous nature to them. They use those to grab onto the female during mating. So during mating season you might see a little extension on those pedipalps. That's a good indicator.

If you have two next to each other that might have been born the same time, one might be larger than the other, that could be an indicator. But none of them really are 100 percent when you're looking at the animal so it's a very difficult thing for the novice or even the intermediary keeper or pet store owner for sure, to understand which gender that tarantula is.

The only way to really do it is to have someone who's in the know, who has a molt. Tarantulas have an exoskeleton. When they get bigger they molt. That skin comes off. It's a perfect replica of the animal. And it's actually a better indicator from a sex point of view because you can see the female sex organs in the molt. You have to wet them, you have to stretch them out a little bit and sometimes you have to actually get a microscope and look really close to try to see where the female parts of the animal is.

So for the untrained eye you're not going to guess. It's 50 50. But the trained eye can be 100 percent if you have a molt in your possession. That's the only way you're really going to know. If you see of them mate, then you can be pretty sure which one's which but then you have to have two and you have to witness that type of event.

So do the best you can. Go to an experienced shop or experienced tarantula breeder if you want to know the difference. Because they have a better chance of telling you. And then you kind of wait and see what you get.

Like a box of chocolates. You'll see what you get when they grow up. You'll see if you have a male or female. Hopefully you'll have a female because they're much more lived than their male counterparts.

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