National Tarantula Appreciation Day is celebrated on August 8 every year. On this day, tarantulas get the center stage and take the spotlight. This day aims to prove one thing: tarantulas aren’t scary at all! These beautiful, elegant, and hairy spider creatures are often misunderstood. While they can look quite intimidating, they’re quite gentle. What’s more, they symbolized power and control. These attributes are inspiring to other people as they find their purpose in life with self-confidence, authority, and assuredness. Learn more about the ways you can celebrate National Tarantula Appreciation Day!
History of National Tarantula Appreciation Day
Tarantulas have long existed on Earth for almost 120 million years. Known as the mother of the spider species, the first trace of tarantulas has been discovered by historians in the Americas. But it wasn’t until 108 million years ago when spiders, the ancestors of tarantulas, began existing in Africa. These are the species that are most common today and widely exist in every corner of the planet.
About 108 million years ago, tarantulas established their presence in India in two lineages: one lineage is known as the tree-dwellers, and the other one existed in the burrows. When a tectonic shift separated India from Madagascar 95 million years ago, the existence of tarantula slowly spread out in Asia. After this wave, spiders quickly filled in ecological spaces as they found their survival niche. Since Asia is a vast, subtropical continent, this species evolved and adapted through different habitat and climate conditions. The spider’s endemic family started to rise, including Ornithoctoninae, Thrigmopoeinae, and Poecilotheriinae. Today, Asia is a host of thousands of spider species.
Tarantulas later became a literary and mythological symbol. In the eighth century A.D., the Roman poet Ovid wrote a poem called “Metamorphoses” which tells the story of Arachne’s transformation into a tarantula. This was retold by Dante Aligheri in 1308 in his ‘Divine Comedy, Purgatorio.’ However, the bad reputation of tarantulas existed after Swiss novelist Jeremiag Gotthelf wrote “The Black Spider,” an allegorical novel that depicts spiders as the devil’s evil works. But in 1952, E.B. White redeemed the image of the spiders in the literary world after writing the children’s novel “Charlotte’s Web” which depicted spiders in a positive light.
National Tarantula Appreciation Day timeline
Tarantulas originate in America.
The spider species of tarantulas are discovered in Africa.
Following the separation of India from Madagascar, Asia quickly becomes a host of thousands of spider species.
The image of tarantulas in the literary world is pioneered by Roman poet Ovid in his poem “Metamorphoses.”
National Tarantula Appreciation Day FAQs
Are tarantulas harmful to humans?
While a tarantula’s bite is painful, its venom is very mild — even weaker than a bee’s sting.
What are tarantulas good for?
Tarantulas are notorious insectivores. They can devour mosquitoes, crickets, and other pesky insects in your home.
What is the lifespan of tarantulas?
Tarantulas can live between 15 and 25 years.
National Tarantula Appreciation Day Activities
Adopt a tarantula
If you’re feeling adventurous, you may spend this day adapting a tarantula into your own home. They’re low maintenance and safely kept in a spider cage. There’s no better way to bring excitement to your home than bringing the presence of this beautiful creature!
Share photos and videos of tarantulas
There are hundreds of adorable videos of tarantulas on YouTube and TikTok. Share them on your feed and eliminate the scary stigma they often have.
Watch horror movies featuring spiders
Arachnophobia creature horror is a popular subgenre of scary movies. Check out horror movies like “The Giant Spider Invasion,” “Eight Legged Freaks,” and “Through a Glass Darkly.”
5 Interesting Facts About Tarantulas
Most tarantulas aren’t deadly
Contrary to popular belief, only a few tarantula species have a powerful bite, and even their venom isn’t toxic to humans.
Restricted international trade of tarantulas
The species Mexican red-kneed tarantula is restricted from the exotic pet trade due to an extinction threat.
A producer of silk
Tarantulas are known as natural producers of silk.
A delicacy in South America
Roasted tarantula is a popular delicacy in many countries in South America.
Their sizes vary
The size of tarantulas varies — some are as small as a fingernail, while others are as big as a plate.
Why We Love National Tarantula Appreciation Day
They’re so misunderstood
National Tarantula Appreciation Day shines a light on tarantulas as gentle, regal creatures. It debunks the common belief that they’re scary and poisonous. Well, at least not all the time!
They’re gorgeous creatures
Tarantulas exude a quiet elegance that represents power and authority. Their presence is strong and palpable even if they’re not doing anything.
We love tarantulas in fiction
It’s always fun to read about tarantulas, whether in classic novels or modern comic book series. It’s fascinating how they’re always correlated with good vs. evil, and their redemption story arcs are always intriguing to see.
National Tarantula Appreciation Day dates