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How Long Do Spiders Live?

Updated on February 1, 2014
DonnaCSmith profile image

Donna Campbell Smith is a published author and freelance writer and photographer.

A spider in my window

There is a little spider that has been living in my office window between the glass and screen for a long time. I am sure it has been keeping me company for well over a year, maybe two.

One day as I watched it travel up and down its enclosed environment I wondered, “How long do spiders live anyway?” Of course I turned to Google to find my answer. I learned it depends. It depends on the gender and species of the spider.

Carolina Wolf Spider is the Largest of Wolf Spiders

Wolf Spiders

Females generally outlive males – in part because some female wolf spiders eat their mates after mating. Females can live several years. Some live only two years while the big ones like the tarantula can live as long as twenty-five years.

I see a lot of wolf spiders out on my patio. They come out at night and prey on bugs attracted by the light. When I had horses they liked hanging out in the hay loft. According to Orkin’s website the Carolina variety of Wolf Spider is the largest of all. I can believe that! I have mistaken them for mice in the tack room.

The male wolf spider is lucky if he lives more than one year as the female kills and eats the male after mating. The female carries her eggs around with her and the babies stay attached to their mommies for a couple of weeks after they hatch. It is weird to kill a wolf spider only to have dozens of tiny ones go crawling all over the place. The female, as long as she isn’t squashed by a human or eaten by a bird, goes on to live three or more years. Some people keep them as pets and in captivity they can live as long as four years. There was research done in France in which wolf spiders were drowned. They came back to life after being removed from the water to dry out.

Tarantula Lives Longer Than A dog or a Horse

I was surprised to learn that a tarantula will live longer than a dog or even a horse. The female, that is. Again, the males rarely make it to two years. The female, on the other hand can live as long as forty years. The record was 49 years. So, if you are into creepy pets, a female tarantula is one you will have around longer that your four-legged friends. They are not deadly but their bites do cause severe pain. They can also “throw” barbed hairs when threatened which cause skin irritation.

The Black and Yellow Garden Spider

Sadly, the garden spider lives only one year.
Sadly, the garden spider lives only one year. | Source

Black Widow Spider

Sadly, the beautiful black and yellow garden spider only lives one season. Both female and males, which are much smaller than the female, die when the weather becomes cold. The exception is if they live in a year around warm climate or in captivity. Then they can live several years.

The notorious black widow spider lives one to three years. They like to hang out in dark places and their bite can make you very sick. It is said its venom is fifteen times more poisonous that that of a rattlesnake bite. It can be deadly, especially for young children and the elderly.

How Long do Spiders Live?

This little spider has been living in my office window at least two years.
This little spider has been living in my office window at least two years. | Source

Funnel Web House Spider?

I am not sure of my spider’s species. I think, judging by the long funnel like web that it is a funnel web house spider. They are pretty harmless. It is small, at least compared to the wolf spiders that show up on my patio at night. I estimate it measures less than an inch from front to back. I don’t think it ever leaves its habitat between the screen and glass of my window. I suppose that is a safe place for a spider to live. I have to assume there are enough tiny critters that also live or enter it’s habitat to provide it with food. The female life span is generally two years. They really have to be pushed into biting, but when they do it can be nasty, taking a long time to heal, but not deadly.


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    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 21 months ago from Central North Carolina

      a quick Google search found that it depends on the species - 2-7yrs.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 21 months ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Voted up and interesting! I have learned to make peace with spiders, especially since I live in a water biome, there are many! I wonder how long daddy long legs live?


    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I love learning new things like I did from just reading your hub. I had no idea that tarantulas lived that long! Amazing! Will pin this and also share on HP.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 21 months ago from America

      I love taking photos of spiders. They don't run from the camera or fly away. It's very easy to take their picture. Interesting about how long they live I never knew any of this. Voted up and shared.

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