Myth: Baby tarantulas made cactus explode

Illustration: Henry C. McCook
Illustration: Henry C. McCook

A comic of cactus exploding

Illustration: Owen Curtsinger

Spider Myths

"Everything that 'everybody knows' about spiders is wrong!" —Rod Crawford sets the record straight with Spider Myths.

Myth: Someone bought a cactus at a local plant nursery. Later, it exploded and scattered baby tarantulas everywhere!

Fact: That is a full-fledged Urban Legend and one of the best-known ones, which has passed from person to person by word-of-mouth for so long, it has been around the world several times. Oddly enough, persons repeating this story commonly (and falsely) state that it happened to someone they know personally.

No one knows how the story started, but the event described never happened. Tarantulas do not inject their eggs into cactus plants, hatching tarantula egg sacs do not explode, and baby tarantulas are quite harmless in any case.

close up of a spider

Spider Myth Resources

Explore even more! Additional spider resources and more myths (poor spiders can't catch a break!).

Photo: Cathy Morris/Burke Museum
Photo: Cathy Morris/Burke Museum