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Why Do Tarantulas Kick Hair

Why Do Tarantulas Kick Hair

The Fascinating Reason Why Tarantulas Kick Hair: Exploring the Multiple Functions of Urticating Hairs

Tarantulas are fascinating creatures, and one of their most unique and interesting behaviors is their ability to kick hair. These hairs, called urticating hairs, serve a variety of purposes, from defense to communication to environmental adaptation. Let’s take a closer look at why tarantulas kick hair and what it means for these amazing arachnids.


First and foremost, tarantulas kick hair as a defense mechanism. When threatened by a predator, such as a bird or small mammal, tarantulas will kick off their urticating hairs using their hind legs. These hairs are barbed and can cause irritation and itching, making it difficult for the predator to attack the tarantula. In some cases, the hairs can even cause blindness in the predator, further protecting the tarantula from harm.

Shed Their Exoskeletons

In addition, hair-kicking can help tarantulas shed their exoskeletons. As they grow, tarantulas need to shed their old exoskeletons and replace them with new ones. Hair-kicking can help loosen and remove the old exoskeleton, making the shedding process easier and less painful for the tarantula.

Capture Prey

Some tarantulas have even been observed using hair-kicking as a way to capture prey. When a small animal comes too close, the tarantula may kick hairs at it, causing irritation and allowing the tarantula to easily capture its prey. This behavior is more common in some species than others, but it demonstrates the incredible adaptability of these creatures.

Environment Adaptation

Finally, tarantulas may have evolved the ability to kick hairs as a way to adapt to their environment. In some areas, the ground is hot and dry, and there may be a lot of sharp rocks or other abrasive surfaces. By kicking off their urticating hairs, tarantulas can create a soft bed of hairs to rest on, protecting their delicate abdomens from injury.


In conclusion, hair-kicking is an amazing and versatile behavior exhibited by tarantulas. Whether it’s for defense, shedding, prey capture, or environmental adaptation, hair-kicking is just one of the many fascinating things that make tarantulas such incredible creatures.

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Hey! My name is Michael Cannode and I'm the owner and developer of Arachnifiles. The arachnid card-style tracking app!