What Happens If You Drop A Tarantula?


Curious about what happens if you drop a tarantula? This guide explains the risks of falls, how to spot injuries, and tips to keep your eight-legged friend safe.

You are cleaning your tarantula’s enclosure when, out of the blue,  the tarantula falls or tumbles.

It is scary. Worried about your eight legged friend, what happens to your tarantula? Is it hurt, or even worse? There is no need to worry; we have solutions for you.

Tarantulas have a kind of fragile outer shell (exoskeleton), especially after they molt (shed their old skin).

It is like a light eggshell that can make them prone to falls. Where they land matters too, a soft surface is better than a hard one.

To keep your eight-legged buddy safe, it is important not to handle them too much and to make sure their home is secure.

But here is some good news: even if they fall, it does not always mean something bad will happen. If they fall onto something soft from a low height, they are fine.

After a fall, watch out for signs like being really still, not eating, or having trouble shedding their skin, as these could mean they got hurt.

The key is to prevent falls by making their homes safe and not handling them too much. With the right knowledge, you can make sure your tarantula has a long, happy life without too many worries about falling.

Throughout this guide, we will unravel the mysteries surrounding falling tarantulas. We will check out why they can bounce back (or not), clear up some common confusion, and give tips to keep your eight-legged pal safe from the drop. Keep reading…!

Why Are Tarantulas Fragile? Factors and Vulnerabilities

Tarantulas are fragile creatures if dropped, particularly when contrasted with other invertebrates such as insects or certain crustaceans. This fragility is attributed to several key factors.

Firstly, their exoskeleton, unlike the rigid exterior of insects, is comparatively soft and flexible, especially on the abdomen.

While this flexibility allows for enhanced movement and agility, it concurrently renders them more susceptible to punctures and tears.

Dropping a Tarantula

Additionally, the tarantula’s delicate internal organs, housed within the abdomen, encompass vital components like the heart, lungs, and digestive system, making them prone to damage even from minor impacts.

Despite their often imposing size, tarantulas possess bodies primarily composed of lightweight muscle and tissue, heightening their vulnerability to injuries resulting from falls or collisions.

The molting process, where tarantulas shed their old exoskeleton to grow a new one, leaves them particularly defenseless as the emerging exoskeleton is initially soft and in the process of hardening.

Furthermore, the long and slender structure of tarantula legs, instrumental for climbing, is a double-edged sword, making them fragile and prone to breakage upon falls or impacts.

Specific examples of their fragility include the potential fatality of even shortfalls, susceptibility to injury during handling, vulnerability to predators such as birds, snakes, and other tarantulas, and sensitivity to environmental factors like extreme temperatures, humidity levels, and toxins.

Despite their vulnerabilities, tarantulas are fascinating creatures that have successfully thrived for millions of years, demonstrating their exceptional capacity to adapt to various environments.

Recognizing their fragilities allows for a deeper appreciation of their resilience, prompting responsible care for those who choose to keep them as pets.

The Risks and Consequences of Dropping a Tarantula:

Unfortunately, dropping a tarantula poses serious risks to the spider, with potential consequences influenced by factors such as fall height, landing surface, tarantula species, and the spider’s health and age.

The higher the fall, the greater the impact force, making even a small drop potentially fatal.

A solid landing surface, like concrete, increases the likelihood of severe injuries compared to softer surfaces.

Different tarantula species exhibit varying affecting levels and their ability to survive a fall. Young or molting tarantulas with soft exoskeletons are more vulnerable.

If a big tarantula falls, it can go really fast, and its belly might break open, causing internal damage and, in the worst case, death.

That is why heavier spiders usually stay on the ground, while lighter ones prefer living in trees to avoid serious injuries from falls.

Potential consequences of dropping a tarantula include:

Abdominal Rupture: The gravest consequence, often resulting in fatality. The tarantula’s soft abdomen houses its internal organs, and a rupture can lead to organ spillage and death.

Internal Injuries: Even without abdominal rupture, the tarantula may experience internal injuries, such as bleeding or organ damage due to the impact.

Broken Limbs: The fragile legs of a tarantula can easily break upon landing on a hard surface.

Stress: The act of dropping, even if it does not cause physical injury, can induce significant stress. This stress may weaken the tarantula’s immune system, increasing susceptibility to diseases.

It is crucial never to intentionally drop a tarantula. When handling one, exercise caution and provide support from below.

In the event of an accidental drop, gently retrieve the tarantula and return it to its enclosure.

If signs of injury emerge, such as a ruptured abdomen or difficulty moving, seek prompt veterinary attention for the tarantula’s well-being.

Can a Tarantula Survive a Fall?

Falling tarantulas are a common occurrence, but their survival is often compromised due to the fragility of their exoskeletons.

It is crucial to utilize a soft substrate, such as coco coir (Eco Earth) when setting up a tarantula enclosure.

This precaution is necessary even if your tarantula is not fearful of heights, as it ensures they can climb securely.

Tarantula Falling

In case of a fall within a confined space, tarantulas may endure the descent if provided with a soft substrate.

However, even a minor fall could result in the tarantula bursting due to internal pressure.

To mitigate such risks, careful planning of the tarantula’s enclosure is essential, along with exercising extreme caution when handling them.

A well-designed enclosure and careful handling practices can prevent accidents and ensure the safety of the tarantula.

Also Read: Does Hairspray Kill Spiders?

How to Protect your Tarantula from a Fall?

If your tarantula experiences a fall or appears injured, maintaining a composed approach is essential.

Gently return it to its enclosure, minimizing handling to reduce stress. Move the enclosure to a calm area for observation, checking for visible signs of injury such as a ruptured abdomen, broken limbs, discoloration, or bleeding.

Refrain from unnecessary handling to avoid exacerbating the injuries.

Seek immediate assistance from a veterinarian or experienced tarantula keeper if concerning signs, especially a ruptured abdomen, are observed.

Utilize online tarantula care communities cautiously for support, avoiding self-administered treatments.

Take preventive measures by securing the enclosure, supporting your tarantula properly during handling, and eliminating potential climbing hazards.

Always prioritize your tarantula’s safety and well-being, handling it with care and seeking professional help when in doubt.

Ensure you have a tarantula first-aid kit on hand and maintain a healthy environment to support optimal recovery.

Following these steps can aid your tarantula’s recuperation and prevent future mishaps.

What Happens if Your Tarantula Loses a Leg?

Losing a leg might seem dire for a tarantula, but these arachnids can regenerate. When a leg is lost, the tarantula’s muscles seal the wound to minimize blood loss.

During the next molt, a “bud” with stem cells forms at the lost leg site, gradually growing into a functional limb over 2 to 5 molts.

While not identical, the regenerated leg allows the tarantula to move effectively. Factors like species, age, nutrition, and stress influence regeneration success.

Minimize handling, provide a clean environment, ensure proper nutrition, and consult a vet for treatments. Despite setbacks, tarantulas exhibit resilience, bouncing back with care and regenerative abilities.

How Do I Know My Tarantula Is Dead?

Determining whether your tarantula is deceased requires a cautious approach to prevent any further harm.

To safely assess its condition, closely observe for any subtle signs of movement, such as twitches or leg tremors, and check for rhythmic pulsations or contractions indicating breathing through abdominal openings.

Cloudy or discolored eyes may suggest death. Avoid unnecessary handling, but if essential, use a soft paintbrush for gentle touches to the legs or abdomen, looking for any reflex movement as a sign of life.

The presence of a shed exoskeleton nearby may indicate recent molting, though some species consume their molts.

In cases of uncertainty, it is crucial to avoid stressing the tarantula and seek professional advice from a veterinarian specializing in exotic pets or an experienced tarantula keeper to prevent accidental harm.

Do Tarantulas Shatter or explode when Dropped?

No, tarantulas do not shatter or explode when dropped, contrary to a common myth. Their exoskeletons, though not indestructible, are surprisingly sturdy and do not break like glass.

The misconception of tarantulas shattering might have originated from misunderstanding the potential severity of injuries after a fall.

While falls can be perilous for tarantulas, leading to serious or fatal injuries, they don’t involve shattering.

The real risks include abdominal rupture, internal injuries, broken limbs, and stress, as already discussed above.

While tarantulas don’t shatter, handling them with care and minimizing fall risks are crucial for their well-being.

How to Handle Your Tarantula, Avoiding Fall?

Ensuring the safety of your tarantula and preventing falls involves thoughtful handling practices and a carefully arranged enclosure.

Prior to interaction, it is crucial to wash your hands to eliminate potentially harmful substances and create a calm environment with minimal distractions.

Confirm that the enclosure is securely latched to avoid accidental escapes. When handling your tarantula, support it from below to prevent falls, move slowly to avoid startling it, and never grab its delicate legs.

Keep handling sessions brief to prevent overwhelming your tarantula. The enclosure should be escape-proof, with a proper substrate like coconut fiber, climbing opportunities, and minimized fall risks.

Additionally, acclimate your tarantula before handling it, recognize its body language, and supervise children and pets around the enclosure to prevent accidents.

By following these guidelines, you can handle your tarantula safely, creating a secure and comfortable environment for its well-being while fostering a respectful and gentle bond.

Related Post: How Fast Can A Tarantula Run?


The fragility of tarantulas, stemming from their soft exoskeletons, delicate internal organs, and slender legs, makes them vulnerable to injuries, especially from falls.

While tarantulas can exhibit resilience and regenerative abilities, the risks and consequences of dropping them are substantial, ranging from abdominal ruptures to broken limbs and stress.

To protect your eight-legged companion, it is crucial to create a secure enclosure, handle them with care, and be vigilant for signs of injury after a fall.

By following proper handling practices and preventive measures, you can ensure the well-being of your tarantula, appreciating their unique characteristics and fostering a respectful bond between you and your arachnid friend.


Do tarantulas break if dropped?

No, their exoskeletons are surprisingly strong, but they can sustain injuries or fatalities from falls.

Can tarantulas die from falling?

Yes, falls pose significant risks, depending on factors such as height, landing surface, and the tarantula’s individual characteristics.

Why do tarantulas die when dropped?

The main risk is internal injuries, especially to their delicate abdomen.

How far can a tarantula fall without dying?

It’s impossible to give a specific distance as it depends on various factors. The best practice is to always handle them with care to avoid any risk of falls.

How often do tarantulas fall?

Thankfully, falls are not common in well-maintained enclosures with secure lids and appropriate climbing opportunities.

How often do tarantulas shed?

It depends on their age and species. Young tarantulas may shed every few weeks, while adults may molt only once or twice a year.

Can you drop a tarantula?

It’s important to handle them very carefully, always supporting them from below to avoid accidental drops.

Where to buy a tarantula enclosure?

Check your local pet stores or reputable online retailers specializing in exotic pet supplies. Make sure to choose an enclosure suitable for the specific tarantula species you have.

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