Marine & Reptile

CAN TARANTULAS SWIM AND FLOAT?

CAN TARANTULAS SWIM
Written by Ukwadia Matthew

When it comes to arthropods that can swim, a spider doesn’t come to mind. Tarantulas, a group of large and hairy  spiders belonging to the Theraphosidae, can get the creep out of some people because of its setaes, but it’s just a cute and harmless spider and kept as pets in most homes. If you remove the painful bites, it’s venom is ineffective than that of a typical bee.

They are different species of tarantula found across the arid, tropical, and subtropical regions of the world. Their color and behavior vary depending on their specific environment.

CAN TARANTULAS SWIM

Tarantulas have been a popular pet for several years now; they are quiet, unique, and need little space. Tarantulas are the largest species of spider on earth. They are available in all types of environments, from tropical rain forests of the Amazon to the deserts of Africa.

In fact, they are among the lowest maintenance exotic pets you will find; keeping tarantulas as pets can make an interesting hobby. Like other spiders, tarantulas have 8 eyes close together and 8 legs; they are known to live for about 30 years.

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Tarantulas are native to lots of areas and climates in the wild. They have the ability to adapt quickly to any environment, and this has helped them to survive and even live in harsh terrains. So can tarantulas swim? Yes,  they can swim.

CAN TARANTULAS SWIM?

Tarantulas aren’t exceptional swimmers but can swim when they fall accidentally into the water or are hounded by predators. They use their legs to glide across the water, while the air pocket created between their abdominal hair keeps them floating.

CAN ALL TARANTULAS SWIM?

About 800 documented species of tarantulas around the world, can swim, but it’s not their preferred means of transportation. Although their skills vary according to their species, some are capable of diving into the water; for example, the Maningrida diving tarantulas that live in burrows are capable of diving underwater.

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They accomplished this by coating themselves with a waxy secretion that keeps it dry while protecting its book lungs. They are also capable of coating themselves with air bubbles, which they use to breathe.

CAN TARANTULAS DIVE UNDERWATER?

Tarantulas can swim, but all can dive underwater. The Hysterocrates Gigas(H gigas) is the known tarantulas that can stay submerged underwater for about 2 hours. Other tarantulas have been seen oaring across the surface film of the water.

Another specie of spider known for diving underwater is the Burrow-dwelling spiders.  They are known as diving tarantulas because they cannot get drowned. During raining  seasons, when they are underwater, they create air bubbles to survive.

HOW DO TARANTULAS SWIM?

Few animals are capable of using their motor movement on land to hurl themselves through the water. Sadly, a tarantula isn’t one of them.

A tarantula has a different adapted style to hurl itself through the water. The main difference lies in the use of it pair of hind legs. On land, these hind legs give them a locomotive force. But while swimming, this pair is trailed and pulled along with them and serves as an insignificant role. The anterior 3 pairs of legs, do most of the swimming job. The ability for it to change its limb movement in the water enables swimming.

The legs are slightly angled and act as crude pedals. By angling its legs, the tarantulas make use of more surface space of their legs to hurl forward rather than moving their legs up and down, similar to how they walk.  They are capable of changing their swimming pattern to compensate for the absence of 1 or 2 legs, making it possible for them to swim, even if they lack a leg or 2.

HOW DO TARANTULA BREATHE IN WATER?

Typically, spiders have a pair of lungs called”book lungs” it’s called that because it appears to have soft plates-structure which resemble that of the pages of books. This book lung expands and closes like that of humans.

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A tarantula is lucky to have hydrophobic hair around them. It coats its abdomen with water bubbles, and it slits the book lung open up to bubbles, and gaseous exchange takes place. This creates a bubble of air that keeps them dried and allows them to breathe underwater.

CAN TARANTULAS SWIM

 

CAN A TARANTULA SURVIVE A FALL INTO A WATER?

Due to their fragile exoskeleton,  depending on the height and specie most tarantulas, if they fall on land or water, might not survive. Even a fall from the height of an adult human waist can risk tarantulas rupturing their abdomen.

However, the arboreal tarantulas due to its lighter body can survive even falling from a treetop.

CAN A TARANTULA FLOAT?

Tarantula setae are generally used for sensing, on other animals, it is used for gripping. A tarantula uses its setae to get air bubbles that allow them to have floating abilities, and are completely dry when they arrive on land using their front legs to float due to the bubbles.

Inherently, a tarantula spreads its legs apart on the water to aid floating. The increased surface area from the spreading and the hair (setae) helps it stay afloat while using its 2nd and 3rd legs to row. They can spread their weight on water and float.

CAN TARANTULAS SWIM?

The layer of air trapped by the dense coat of hairs(setae) on their legs and body, makes floating easy and possible. The hairs are primarily sensors, but they can also trap air between them. Due to the presence of trapped air between the setae, the tarantula floats with ease. These air bubbles also aid breathing underwater.

These tarantulas can keep their setae dry due to the waxy cuticles that can effectively serve as waterproof to them. When coming out of the water, a tarantula will still be dried due to the waxy cuticles.

Some tarantulas are large and weigh extensively. You can’t predict the big tarantulas to float in water, only with the help of these trapped water bubbles, which can cause a hard or almost impossible floating. Even if they are capable of floating, they can’t float for longer periods. The bigger ones’ curl in its legs and stay still in the water.

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CAN TARANTULA DROWN?

To answer this; Yes, they can drown in water dishes or bowl. However, Spiders naturally have microscopic hairs on their bodies called setae, which has smaller hairs on it. Tarantulas breathe using their book lungs, found on the underside of their abdomen, so unless that part of the tarantula is in water, it won’t be possible for drowning. The book lungs have narrow openings that the surface tension of the water will keep any water from entering its lungs.

Also, the hair(setae) in its abdomen traps air close to the surface lungs, allowing them to breathe in water so long as the bubble lasts.

A tarantula has a minimal effect on the surface of the water; hence that’s why their legs don’t sink into the water.

Since tarantulas dosen’t have enough weight, water can’t break through their coating and sink them quickly.  When a tarantula is in the water, the water bends below its coating, making it hard for it to sink, especially for the less weighted tarantulas.

CAN TARANTULAS SWIM

HOW LONG CAN A TARANTULA STAY IN WATER?

Tarantula uses a very low rate of oxygen that is pumped throughout their bodies and their guts. They are covered with a thin layer of air around the body so they can’t get wet. It also means that they always float, while some can survive underwater for hours.

They can hold their breaths or retain oxygen for hours or days. They use their air bubbles to trap air and then breathe underwater. A tarantula can stay as long as possible underwater until its oxygen in the bubble depletes.

SUMMARY: CAN TARANTULAS SWIM?

Even though they are not exceptional swimmers, tarantulas can swim and, if not properly looked after, can get drown in a bowl. That’s all for this short article,  please, if you enjoy it, help us in sharing it.

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About the author

Ukwadia Matthew

I am Ukwadia Matthew. Pets and Lifestock Blogger and Author. I have a Farm where I get lots of inspirations from!!!