Georgia is home to over 62 different species of spiders, including the black widow, huntsman, and wolf spider. Most of these spiders pose little to no risk to humans, but that doesn’t mean they don’t look scary. Tarantulas, for example, are one of the most feared spiders even though they pose no threat to humans.
But are there tarantulas in Georgia? Let’s take a look at whether or not tarantulas are found in Georgia.
Tarantulas in Georgia
Tarantulas are not native to Georgia and unless the spider is a pet, you won’t see tarantulas in Georgia. With that said, however, there are two spiders that are a member of the mygalomorphs group, which is the same order that tarantulas belong to. Keep reading to learn more about these two species of tarantula-like arachnids that are found in Georgia.
1. Ravin Trap Door Spiders
Scientific Name: Cyclocosmia truncata
Ravin trap door spiders are native to Georgia, and while these spiders are not technically tarantulas, they are in the same order. Trap door spiders are burrowing spiders that are not as commonly seen as other species of spiders. This is mainly because they know how to hide and don’t typically make their way indoors.
In most cases, this arachnid is found in ravines and sloping riverbanks throughout Georgia, Tennessee, and even Alabama. Trap door spiders have a tank-like body that is plump with a smooth appearance and thick legs. One of their most interesting features is their abdomen, which is uniquely shaped like a disc at the end.
They used this disc-shaped abdomen to block the entrance of their burrow. This disc is hard and the spider uses it as a sort of shield. Ravin trap door spiders are typically brown bodies that have a reddish or blackish tint.
The females of these spiders grow to about 1.2 inches long, while the male is much smaller, measuring less than an inch long. Males live for 5 to 6 years, while the female ravin trap door spider can live for 12 years.
Trap door spiders commonly consume various insects, such as beetles, crickets, moths, and grasshoppers, and their main predator is wasps. Trap door spiders may look harmful, but they do not pose a threat to humans or animals.
While they can bite and they do have venom, their venom is not toxic and they are not aggressive. With that said, however, you should never purposely annoy or try to torment any species of spider. Even though trap door spiders are not venomous to humans, that doesn’t mean they won’t bite if provoked.
Like most other spiders, a bite from their large fangs can be unpleasant and can cause the skin around the bite to be itchy, painful, and inflamed.
2. Purseweb Spiders
Scientific Name: Sphodros spp.
Purseweb spiders are another member of the mygalomorphs group, which also includes tarantulas and trap door spiders. While these spiders are not actually tarantulas, they are one of the closest you will see to a wild tarantula in the state of Georgia.
There are three different purseweb spiders found in Georgia: the red-legged purseweb spider (Sphodros rufipes), blue purseweb spider (Sphodros abboti), and the Atlantic purseweb spider (Sphodros atlanticus). The red-legged purseweb spider is found throughout the state of Georgia, while the blue purseweb spider is currently limited to the southern portion of the state.
As for the Atlantic purseweb spider, it has not been studied nearly as much as the other two, and not much is known about it. It is, however, black in color. Pursewebs build tube-shaped webs on the sides of tree trunks.
They use moss, lichen, and other similar debris to hide their webs, making it appear as though it is a part of the tree. The bottom portion of their tubed web will go underground into damp soil. These tubes are not only their home and shelter, but they also act as their hunting ground.
In fact, purseweb spiders will spend most of their lives in these tubes. Pursewebs are interesting arachnids that have a unique way they hunt. When prey walks over their tubed web, the purseweb spider will stab the prey with its fangs through the webbing.
They will then cut a small slit in their tube and pull the subdued prey inside. This method allows the purseweb to stay hidden even during an attack. Once they have their prey inside their web, they can consume it without worrying about a predator attacking them while feeding.
Purseweb spiders do have large fangs, which develop an unpleasant bite. Thankfully, they are not aggressive and try to stay as far away from humans as possible. Even though their venom isn’t deadly to humans, you should still refrain from provoking this arachnid unless you want to have those large, sharp fangs piercing through your skin.