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Cuenca Has Tarantulas! Should You Be Scared?

Posted in: Cuenca Ecuador, Ecuador Travel

tarantula-hole-cuenca-ecuadorWhat should you be scared of in Cuenca? 

When exploring options for moving abroad scary animals are often on the list of concerns. Some places have weird parasites that can enter your skin while swimming. Other places have poisonous snakes and other weird reptiles.But what does Cuenca have?

But what does Cuenca have?

Cuenca Has Tarantulas

So while Cuenca does’t have poisonous snakes or dangerous mammals it does have tarantulas. And you probably won’t see them unless you  really look.

Sometimes in the early morning you can see some dead ones on the road – ones squished unknowingly from the night before. We had been here a full year before we saw our first live one – poor guy, he didn’t really have a chance. Dena saw him in the entrance and before he knew what hit him, his insides were outside…

Are Tarantulas Dangerous?

In Cuenca, not really. I did a little research and it seems that while some types of spiders can pack a punch, tarantulas are not deadly anywhere. Here in Cuenca, they will bite and (I’m told) it is similar to a bee sting, although I’ve get to experience it. In fact, I haven’t talked to anyone who has been bitten. I think you would have to either stick your hand inside of their hole or be a small insect to be bothered by them.

The pictures were taken on the lawn of a friends place where he was getting married. After parking we noticed the hole in the ground and looked closer to see this guy still at home.

Check out this video of a wolf spider we saw near Cuenca.

How Big Are The Tarantulas?

The photos are pretty deceiving. The actual size is about 2 inches in diameter. They look much less scary at this size.

tarantula-cuenca-ecuador tarantula-hole-cuenca-ecuador

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

7 comments… add one
  • Brad Apr 18, 2016, 7:49 pm

    These are actually wolf spiders (lycosa family) and not tarantulas.

    • Bryan Haines Apr 19, 2016, 7:57 am

      Thanks Brad. I’m no spider expert. The term tarantula seems to get applied to any large, hairy spider.

      Here’s a video of a wolf spider we saw a few years ago.

  • Cynthia Mar 8, 2016, 3:24 am

    My daughter’s family has lived in Cuenca since 1998 and yes, from time to time they have encountered a tarantula in their house. They moved into a brand new house two months ago and since then they have found at least six or seven tarantulas (that I know of) inside the house, and several outside on the exterior of the house or in the yard. Four in just the last week with the latest last night when she walked into her little ones’ bedroom (ages 5 and 8), flipped on the light and realized she had almost stepped on a huge, hairy tarantula as big as her hand crawling across her children’s floor! I’m a little freaked out! Could be that the new construction has stirred up a colony of tarantulas, plus they are surrounded by fields… Just hope they can find a way to get rid of them before one of my grandchildren gets bit!

  • Suzanne May 4, 2014, 4:10 pm

    We have scooted several tarantulas out of our home since being here over a year and a half now. And killed 2 scorpions outside. I tend to think the scorpions come here with the banana trucks from lower elevations. Apparently, the tarantula spider can use his legs to scrape of little hairy spikes and fling them at you. They can be very uncomfortable. Its a defense action. I hear the black scorpions are not very aggressive but my neighbor here did get stung by one as it was inside his laundered pants when he put them on. It hurt a lot and he had to be treated for the bite over the course of a year his wife said.

    T spider video of it raising its butt at us
    close up of our first T spider
    tarantula near a size 6 Croc sandal


  • Lisa N Apr 18, 2012, 10:29 am

    Because there are tarantulas there are also tarantula hawks, or as they are known here, “Caballos de Diablo” which is a very large species of wasp. I personally find them more scary then the tarantulas. Flying insects have always creeped me out, especially when they have ginormous stingers! Fortunately, they rarely sting humans, kind of an “I won’t bother you if you don’t bother me” type of insect. I mostly seen them flying around down by the river or in parks, although we did have two appear in our bathroom within a week of each other. I grew up in Ecuador and only remember seeing a tarantula once in seven years, but saw these wasps all the time.

    • Paulo Jul 28, 2012, 8:21 pm

      I am from Cuenca, and I agree with you, specially the part “I won’t bother you if you don’t bother me” why? because when I was 4 I did that (lol). It was really anoying, but as you see I’m alive. Cuenca is not a dangerous zone (talking about animals).

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