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The Six most

popular species of

Tarantula Spiders


The editors at Pet Care Tips inform you what species
of Tarantulas and Spiders make the best pets.

Tarantula spiders can make interesting pets. They are exotic
and will impress your friends and family (in one way or
another), and are easier to care for than many other types
of animal pets. But, you should research the ins and outs of
being a spider wrangler before you decide to get a tarantula
for a pet
, and then research carefully again to find the
best species to buy. There are thousands of types of
Tarantulas and dozens that are kept as pets and all have
different natures and requirements for a healthy life. Some
are aggressive, some hide all the time, some like to climb,
some live in burrows, some do little or nothing all day and
night, some are very active, some are hardy, and some are
fragile. Below is a basic introduction to some of the most
popular species (and best for beginners) of Tarantula for
captive life.

Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula

The most common Tarantula spider in pet stores is the
Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula (Grammastola rosea), probably
because it is attractive, gentle and slow-moving. But this
spider species is very inactive and may be troublesome about
feeding, sometimes going for months without eating, so many
experienced tarantula keepers recommend that beginning
Tarantula keepers instead get one of the other gentle
species such as the Honduran Curly Hair or one of the
Pinktoe species.

Honduran Curly Hair Tarantula

The Honduran Curly Hair Tarantula, named scientifically as
Grammastola albopilosum, is also known as Curly Hair
Tarantula and Wooly Tarantula and is very gentle and
unaggressive. They require similar care to the Chilean Rose
Hair Tarantula, but eat very well and grow quickly so you
can begin with a lower-cost smaller spider and have an
attractive large specimen before too long. Curly Hair
Spiders have gold and tan hairs on the body and darker brown
legs, and their bodies are covered with wavy hairs. They are
somewhat easier to handle than most Tarantula species, so
they are great for a "show" pet. Unlike some other species,
you can let them crawl on your hand, as long as you are
careful to prevent a fall. Most tarantulas can be easily
injured or killed if they fall even a few inches.

Mexican Red Knee, Red Leg, and Red Rump Tarantula Spiders
(Brachypelma smithi, emilia, or vagans)

The Brachypelma Tarantulas are all terrestrial, and any of
them are great first spiders. These are beautiful spiders
that also tend to be calm and fairly inactive. When a
Tarantula is seen in the movies or on television, it is
often one of these spiders. The Red Knee in particular is
beautiful and grows to a large size of up to five and a half
inches (fourteen centimeters), but because of its popularity
it is now illegal to capture them in the wild, so you will
have to find a captive-bred spider if you choose this
species, and it may cost a little more than some other

Chaco Golden Knee Tarantula

The Chaco Golden Knee Tarantula (Grammastola aureostriatum)
can grow to an enormous eight and one half inches (twenty-
two centimeters) leg span, but they are docile and easily
and fairly safely handled. It is also a beautiful spider,
with golden bands on its black legs and long golden brown
body hairs. The Golden Knee Tarantula is another terrestrial
burrowing spider from South America, so beware of those body
hairs if it feels threatened, as the American Tarantulas
fling the hairs from their bodies when frightened, and they
can irritate the skin and eyes.

Costa Rican Zebra

The Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula Spider (Aphonopelma
seemanni), also known as the Striped Knee Tarantula, is
terrestrial, active, attractive (velvety black with white
striping on the legs - or dark brown with tan stripes if
Nicaraguan), inexpensive, and not very aggressive. But if
you choose this species, be aware that they can be shy and
skittish, so take care when handling is necessary as this
species can take off in a flash if startled. They grow to
four or five inches (ten to twelve centimeters) and the
females live for up to twenty years. (Male spiders have much
shorter lives than females.)

Pinktoe Tarantulas

There are several Pinktoe (Avicularia) species. All are
arboreal (climbing) spiders with generally dark coloration
and bright pink toes on the eight feet. Any of them will
need a tall tank with branches for climbing and nesting.
These are hardy and calm spiders, and so are excellent for a
first arboreal Tarantula, but since arboreal spiders are
much faster moving and harder to care for than the
terrestrial species they are not recommended for novice
spider keepers. If you choose a Pinktoe, remember that they
need higher humidity but better ventilation than the
terrestrial spiders. (Think climate of tropical treetops.)

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