Tarantulas in Arkansas

Tarantulas in Arkansas: big, ugly, and harmless

Yes, there are tarantulas in Arkansas. I have seen my fair share of them at my house but they are harmless.

Tarantulas comprise a group of large and often hairy spiders of the family Theraphosidae.


Growing up in the suburbs of Little Rock, I only caught a glimpse of one tarantula in my first 25 years of life. I remember sitting on the porch swing that hung on my grandmother’s back porch. My siblings and I had been swimming all day in my grandmother’s pool and we were taking an ice cream break on the back porch.

It was then that someone yelled “tarantula!” And I looked down in time to see a black blur run under my feet. We never saw it again.

Truth be told, I can’t even positively confirm that it was a tarantula.

Fast forward about 20 years later to when my husband and I bought 5 Acres in the woods of Arkansas. This is where I have had more experiences with tarantulas then I have ever cared to have.

When we first moved out here, my neighbor caught a tarantula and brought it over in a 5 gallon bucket. His intent was to scare me to death and he was successful.

Tarantulas in Arkansas are ugly but harmless

When he knocked on my door, I peeked out the glass to see who it was. I saw him standing there grinning with a bucket in his hand. I knew he was up to something mischievous so I peered into the bucket from inside the house.

As soon as I saw the tarantula, I refused to go outside. I simply talked to the him through my glass door and told him I would not be coming out to see that tarantula face to face.

However, over the years of living in these woods, I have become stronger about other bugs and animals. We have our fair share of snakes, scorpions, bears, alligators, and spiders (and other dangerous animals) but I simply have not become stronger in the tarantula department.

In fact, this week has been worse than ever.

I have seen four tarantulas outside my house in 2 days.

Two were out in the yard where my kids play, one was sitting on the brick over my bathroom window, and the fourth crawled up the side of my brick two-story house and then rested itself on the upstairs window sill.

I honestly get chills just sitting here writing about it.

For two days, I have refused to go outside. I will get my fresh air on our screened porch thank you.

In Arkansas, these spiders occur throughout most of the state, but they are apparently absent from the Mississippi delta region. The Arkansas chocolate tarantula, Aphonopelma hentzi , is presumed to be Arkansas’ only tarantula species.


Do you know what this means?

It means I’m moving to the Mississippi delta region of Arkansas. See you there.

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