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Mexican Red-rump Tarantula (Brachypelma vagans): Facts, Photos, and Video

The Mexican Red-rump tarantula is found in Mexico and also in Central American countries. It is also found in Florida, probably as the result of exotic pet owners releasing unwanted animals. They live in burrows and are a docile species (unlike the fattail scorpion).

Scientific name: Brachypelma vagans 

1) The Mexican Red-rumped Tarantula Has a Bad Hair Day

While they are a docile species, the red-rumped tarantula, when threatened, will defend itself with special urticating hairs that are located on its abdomen, which some species can flick at an attacker using their hind legs. If these hairs get on your skin, it feels like bits of fiberglass. If they get into mucus membranes, especially the eyes, it can cause even more serious injury.

Tarantulas are famous for their bites, but the vagans‘ bite is not considered dangerous to people.

A Mexican red-rump tarantula on dry leaves
A Mexican red-rump tarantula ( Brachypelma vagans)

2) Can You Dig It?

The Mexican Red-rump Tarantula is a fossorial species, meaning they are adapted to digging burrows and living underground. It digs complex burrows with several chambers. Some have been found to be up to 45cm (18 inches) deep.

red-rumped tarantula in Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Mexico
Hal photographing a red-rumped tarantula in Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Mexico


3) Long Lives, Good Moms

This tarantula can live for up to 25 years in the wild and females don’t reach sexual maturity until 9 years of age. Their egg sacs can contain up to 300 eggs. Once the spiderlings are hatched, they stay with their mother for a few weeks before dispersing to dig their own burrows.

4) Predator of the Night

The red-rump tarantula is nocturnal predator, hunting at night and resting during the day. They primarily eat insects although they will capture any creature they can overpower, including small vertebrates such as mice.

Cristina Garcia

Zoologist and wildlife photographer. She has worked in the field with jackals, wolves, cheetahs, & leopards. She serves on the Board of Directors of SEE Turtles, a non-profit sea turtle conservation organization.

Read her posts at Travel For Wildlife and see more of her work at Truly Wild, & Our Wild Yard.

Megan baker

Wednesday 28th of September 2022

I seen one in Oklahoma!!! Cherokee county.


Monday 20th of February 2023

Think that would have been an Oklahoma Brown. (Aphonopelma hentzi)

They are found in Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas etc .Also known as Texas Tan spider.

cristina garcia

Thursday 6th of October 2022

Whoa! Maybe was a released pet?


Sunday 3rd of September 2017

How does the venom of them affect you???


Sunday 16th of October 2016


Stephanie Williams

Sunday 23rd of September 2012

I found one of these wandering around at our farm in Lucien Oklahoma in August 2012. I have a few decent pictures. What I have read about this species would indicate that it shouldn't be as far north as I found it. If you are interested in seeing images I'd be happy to send them along. What struck me as odd about this spider besides the way it STOOD out from its surroundings was the almost upward pointing abdomen and the eyes, which weren't like anything I've seen on a tarantula.

Thank you in advance for your response.


Hal Brindley

Tuesday 25th of September 2012

Hi Stephanie, I think you're right, if it is a Mexican Red-Rump Tarantula (Brachypelma vagans) then it is pretty far out of its range. I've read that a breeding population has established itself in Florida, probably as a result of people releasing or losing their pets (they are common pets) and that may be the case for the one you saw at your farm. Although I am by no means a tarantula expert, I'd love to see some of your pics and give you my opinion on the species. Thanks for writing! -Hal