Is It A Boy or a Girl?

Many people are confused when it comes to guessing the gender of a tarantula, and for good reason- it can be quite difficult at times.  But unless you’re a breeder, why is it so important to determine your spider’s gender? 

Perhaps the number one reason for this is that female tarantulas live five to six times as long as male tarantulas.  Male tarantulas, once they reach maturity, have only another six months to two years to live.  Their sole purpose during this short time is to wander and find mates. 

Female tarantulas are known to reach lifespans of over 30 years for some species.  They tend to be less hyperactive than the males.  Unless you intend to breed tarantulas, you’ll want to stick with females for the most part. 

It is fairly easy to tell an adult female from an adult male, if you know how and are able to take a close look at the spider.  Below is a photograph of the front legs and feelers of an adult male tarantula:


Pets 017


If you look close, you’ll notice a “hook” on the underside of the first leg.  The males of most species have these once they reach maturity.  These serve the purpose of restraining the female’s fangs during mating.  Please note that immature males do not have these.  So, telling an immature male from an immature female using this method is impossible.

Also look at the feelers (the short appendages near the fangs.)  They end in round “bulbs.”  Here the male has the organs with which he mates.  Mature females and immature tarantulas of both sexes lack these bulbs, but instead have feelers that end in toes that resemble those on the legs. 

But what if your tarantula is not yet mature?  There is another way to tell its gender…but you have to wait for it to molt (shed its skin.)  When it does molt, you’ll need to grab the shed skin while it is still moist.  If you wait until it dries (and sometimes you have to because it’s not reachable) the skin will most likely tear and crinkle when you attempt to examine it.  Note that this method will only work if your tarantula isn’t too young or too small.

Carefully open the shed skin at the abdomen.  There will be four white spots near the top of the abdomen- these are the old linings of the spider’s lungs.  Now look between the two top white spots.  There will be a crease running between them. 

In female tarantulas, mature and otherwise, this crease will have a roundish protrusion sticking up from it.  It may be hard to see in smaller specimens, but using a toothpick to prop it up will help confirm that it’s there.  Here is a photo of the shed skin of my Rose Hair, Fuzzy.  The yellow arrow is pointing at the protrusion that proved I had a female:



Now here is the photo of the shed skin of an immature male tarantula.  (Species: Columbian Giant Redleg.)  Note the lack of the telltale protrusion:




Well, there you have it!  Hopefully you will now be able to tell if your tarantula is a boy or girl.  Be aware, however, that you are always taking a risk when you buy immature tarantulas.  The pet store will rarely know if it’s a boy or girl, unless you’re lucky enough to find one that employs tarantula enthusiasts.  And it’s impossible to tell if you get immature tarantulas using mail-order (something I’ve done.)  All you can do then is cross your fingers and hope for a female (or a male if you intend to breed.)

The Petco where I got Fuzzy told me she was probably a male, due to her skinny abdomen.  Though sometimes accurate, telling a tarantula’s gender by the size of the abdomen (large/round for females, small/skinny for males) is a bit shaky.


45 Responses to “Is It A Boy or a Girl?”

  1. whiteEagel Says:

    great info,tysm

  2. Thanks,that realy helped a lot!!!

  3. thx

  4. Favnin the dire wolf Says:

    Another question: I don’t have a shed from my rose hair and don’t know if it’s an immature male or a female, but I think it has an extra pair of spinnerets if that means anything.

    • iluvspidrs Says:

      That can’t really tell anything. It sounds like you’ll need to wait for a molt. Good luck!

  5. keith sewrey Says:

    Where is the picture?

  6. Martin Gray Says:

    Thanks that help me a lot i think my T is molting the joints of my chille rose are cracking i think he/she is about a year old but i have only just got him/her a week ago and he/she has laid a molting patch lime you said (i think) just out side his/her cave could you pos give me a bit mor advice on how to deal with him/her please

    thanks martin

  7. Martin Gray Says:


  8. daleen pretorius Says:

    Thanks for all the info. I was just wondering I got a curly hair at about 6 cm and I’m still I bit afraid to touch it. How commen will it be for him/her to bite me when I try to hold it? I’ve only had spiderlings so doent know them well at what size. Please help

  9. My rose hair hasn’t spun a web in about 8 months, is something wrong with her?

  10. Taitontbm Says:

    I’ve got a Goliath tarantula is finding out boy or a girl the same as the pictures and information above

  11. Andrea Douglas Says:

    I’ve had my rose haired since 2009. Think it became an adult shortly after, 3 molts and much bigger. Now it’s 2014 and it’s still here, so Ive assumed its a female bc males only live 2 years as adults. Mine recently molted for the first time in over a year. Now I’ve confirmed I have a female. Thanks!

  12. CHERYL TURK Says:


  13. Says:

    I have a pink toe and idk how old it is… I picked it up for free. My question is simple. Will a male tarantula have (tusks) on its front walking feet before it’s hit its final molt. (Will it molt again if it has tusks)

  14. I’m the proud owner of two P. Irminias. I have a large 5.5” what I suspect is female, and then a small 2”. As of my knowledge I know males can have they mature molt at 3″, but not always, sometimes later. I also know that 6″ is the largest these species can grow. So if my T is not yet mature I could almost be certain that the next molt would be the mature molt. I can’t really take a good look at her since she is extremely aggressive in a serious devilish evil way, lol. But I love her anyway (her as it looks like a female). I tend to try and have a good look at her whenever she’s up against the glass. I don’t see tibial hooks or bulbous pedipalps.. also, no white spot of manlyhood.. But I know the female P. Irminias is very bright in colouration, and the males more pale and sometimes rarely has any orange colouration on their abdomens. She has nice abdominal colouration, but she’s pale when it comes to the rest of the body. So do not know lol. My sling molted a few days ago, he hides in his webbing most of the time so I rarely see him, the only time he’ll emerge is when he’s looking for food, then I know whoop feeding time lol. It was my first time observing a molt and it went well, he molted within an hour, and within another hour he was moving around, so all went well. Sorry got carried away, anyhow, I don’t know what to expect with the larger one as I also know the males and females looks alike before the mature molt.. but since she’s almost 6″ I think if there is a next molt it would be the mature molt if not already mature and it’s female. Looking forward anyway lol.

  15. My rose hair scooter just molted for the first time I think scooter is a he but I will know more here in an hour but what I have looked up says not to feed them for a week is that true and when will I be able to handle my rose hair?

    • You’ll want to wait about a week or so, just until his new exoskeleton and fangs harden. Until then, you shouldn’t handle him and he will be unable to eat.

  16. This was helpful. But I have have my rose hair for about 4 years now. When she molts she usually hides, but this morning I found her flipped over(no big problem) but she was still moving around like she was stuck. I flipped her back over and nkw she is not moving at all. What is wrong?

    • I don’t know about everyone else….but it is a major no no to touch a tarantula which is shedding, they are very vulnerable and can bleed to death if moved while molting I hope your T is ok……praying it is not damaged.

  17. I’m waiting on a molt from a Chilean rose hair, this is super helpful! thankyou so much!

  18. ha dry

  19. Our Rose Hair has been upside down for a couple days now… I THOUGHT she may be molting, but I THOUGHT something would have happened by now. How long can this take? Is she dead? 😦

    • iluvspidrs Says:

      Hopefully she was only molting. I always add water to the corners of the tank if they take too long. Sorry for the late reply.

      • Devon Smith Says:

        I just got a Goliath bird eating spider, and it seems like its eye area is covered in a Grey film. I have two pink toes, that don’t have the same thing. but I don’t know if it’s just natural, or something I need to look into to get fixed.

  20. Jordan lewis Edwards Says:

    I cannot tell whether mine is male or female it lies round most of the day but has a very fast response to movement. Chilean rose tarantula.

  21. Thanks! Easiest article to understand 🙂

  22. This helped me figure out that my rose hair was a girl. Thank you for your help.

  23. Richard Hudson Says:

    I’m wondering if you can help me?
    I have a copper chillie tarantula, she is 18 months old to my knowledge as the pet shop I got her from said she was 1 year, iv had her 8mths and she hasn’t moulted yet! She eats fine, is in a perfect habitat and very well cared for, I’m aware she’s a dwarf species and don’t know if this is normal.???

  24. Hunter Elrod Says:

    Great info! really helped me out

  25. Amy rhoden Says:

    I have a mexican redrump that is runni g and hitting the ddors of her inclosure and she comes after me when i open it to feed and water her and she rears up at me. I have never had one act like this what should i do?

  26. My female rose hair just molted today. She’s mature and has the protrusion in the abdomen of her molt. But after molting her abdomen is less than half the size it was before molting. So abdomen size is not a good way of telling.

  27. This video was very helpful..I own a Indian ornamental it’s about 3in long. I was told that the white band if it goes all the way around the body it was a female..I personally think Thay all have the white band.. Guess I will get a molt and find out what sex I have… Thanks for your video…

  28. Doreen Short Says:

    Your information was very helpful to me! My son’s white kneed tarantula is molting for the second time we’ve had her. The first time she molted in her hidy hole so we really couldn’t tell what was going on. This time we first noticed her on her back almost 24hrs ago. We both were becoming worried something had gone wrong. Hopefully she is just a slow shedder! Thank you! 🕷

  29. My son just got a striped knee tarantula can you give me some info on it I can’t seem to find much info on its breed ?

  30. Phily Coombes Says:

    Great Info Thanks ✌

  31. What would happen if I put my make curly hairs tarantula (mature) in with my females Chilean rose (mature) ?

  32. Hi my Chaco golden knee mooted a month ago and now a mature male. Started with his sperm web. How long does he have left before he passes. And if I breed him how long do I have for him to breed and could I breed him with a zebra pink beauty or only a Chaco. Thanks

  33. Hi! My Mexican Red Rump Tarantula turned out to be a male, and he is pretty skinny. Are males thinner than females, or is there some way I can get him to eat more? Thank you!

  34. Alvin clark Says:

    Your Information was very helpful thank you!

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