Best Beginner Tarantulas

Aphonopelma, Brachypelma, Grammostola, Information, Lasiodora, New World, Old World No Comments »

So you’ve decided you want a tarantula. You’ve become obsessed with watching feeding videos, molting videos, grooming videos, unpacking videos, hell, maybe you’ve even watched a couple of breeding videos – but what tarantula is right for you? Depending on your experience with other exotic animals, you may find yourself capable of what might otherwise be considered an intermediate species, but here is my list of the top 5 beginning species (with many bonus options) for those just starting out.

 

Even though I have narrowed this list down to five specific species, these species were chosen with an entire genus in mind. This widely opens your choices, which will largely be aesthetic. Like bright colors? Or jet black? Guess what, both choices can lay within the same genus – giving you varying types of eye candy with the same care needs and behaviors. And what qualities make a good beginner species, anyway? Species that hardy, eat well, grow quickly or grow large, move slowly, are not likely to bite, and have low venom potency are all qualities most people look for when looking for their first pet tarantula.

 

Grammostola pulchripes

Grammostola pulchripes (Chaco Golden Knee Tarantula): Okay, so I am a little biased with this species because it is what I personally started out with when I first got into tarantulas, and I’ll tell you why! Not only is this species hardy and of a very gentle disposition – but they get big and are quite lovely with their contrasting colors. Other species in this genus are also great choices because of their hardiness and there are a variety of colors you can choose from. Out of this genus, Grammostola rosea is often recommended as a beginner, but is known to be rather two-faced – calm and tolerant one moment, and ready to bite anything that moves the next. As long as you are not planning on handling though, that won’t be a problem! Other favorites in this genus include G. pulchra (the Brazilian Black) and G. iheringi (the Entre Rios – beautiful but a bit uncommon).

Brachypelma albopilosum

Brachypelma albopilosum (the Curly Hair Tarantula): Now, this species is just fun. Although it is largely brown, it’s charm lies in its long and (you guessed it) curly hairs. This species, and the others in its genus, are very easy to care for. Although many other Brachypelma species are more striking to look at due to their red or orange hues, the albopilosum is much less likely to flick hairs. Although many of the brachypelma genus are slow moving and easy to handle, their urticating hairs may leave you itching for hours, so handling is not recommended. Out of this genus, I have found that vagans is the most likely to show some attitude – and that can be a pro OR a con depending on what you like!

Lasiodora parahybana

Lasiodora parahybana (Salmon Pink Tarantula): Not only is the species fairly docile and a pinch to take care of – it is very cheap and easy to find! It is also one of the largest-growing species, reaching over 10 inches in size. This species is a fantastic eater and grows quickly, adding to its perks. There are other species in this genus that would be equally great choices, but their availability will be lower and their price will be more. Temperament can vary greatly between individual specimens, with attitude showing as they grow larger. Although their urticating hairs are not as bad as those belonging to Brachypelma, many people still have some sensitivities to them. Another perk despite the large size and voracious appetite of these tarantulas is their likelihood to hang out in the open for your viewing pleasure.

Aphonopelma chalcodes
Aphonopelma chalcodes (the Desert Blonde Tarantula): Just like the above suggestions, this genus has a ton of options. It is the genus that holds the tarantulas native to the United States, and species from this genus can be found through North and Central America. Care of species in this genus are similar to Brachypelma species, and there are a variety of species available to choose from. Although many species can be found close to home for American hobbyists, some species can still fetch a hefty price-tag due to captive bred Aphonopelma species being uncommon. They are not exactly fast growing, but you can usually pick up a juvenile or adult specimen for less than many other species of tarantulas.

Euathlus sp Red
Eathlus sp. Red (the Chilean Flame Tarantula): If a larger spider is not what you are picturing as your first spider, this dwarf species may be up your alley. This is a great species in that it is VERY docile and it’s care needs are simple. As this is a dwarf species barely reaching three inches, you’ll want to aim for a sub-adult or adult to ensure its easy-to-care for quality. This is a curious species that is apt to wanting to see what is going on outside of its enclosure. This species is incredibly slow growing, but for those just starting out a specimen of at least one inch could be just what you need to get your feet wet.
Written by: Christina Vulyak

Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula (Aphonopelma seemanni)

Aphonopelma, New World No Comments »

The Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula who is also known as the Striped-Knee Tarantula is tarantula from Costa Rica and central America. They grow to be about 4 to 5 inches in length with females living to be anywhere between 15 to 20 years and males usually between 6 to 9 years. They are great for intermediate hobbyists who have some experience with tarantulas already. Widely sought after due to their black abdomen and white striped legs (such stripes as zebras), these terrestrial burrowers dig deep into the Costa Rican rainforests. They are most certainly a great addition for any collector.

 

costa rican zebra t

 

Habitat:

At full adult size you are only going to be needing an enclosure that is going to be about 10 gallons in size. They are terrestrial but also burrowers and they can burrow a lot. Make sure you have about 3 to 4 inches of substrate which should also be a mix of peat moss and coconut fiber. They do require a high humidity level of over 75 percent at all times and so we do recommend you dampening the substrate accordingly in addition to overfilling its shallow water dish to keep humidity levels up. We do not recommend misting as it does not seem to help as much. Temperature wise you will be looking at anywhere between 75 to 82 degrees. They normally do not require a hide as they spend quite a bit of time simply staying in their burrowed hole.But you can decorate with perhaps a piece of bark or plant or even both.

 

Feeding:

A steady diet of dubia roaches or large crickets should be just fine. Should you have a smaller spiderling (sling) you can try simple fruit flies and small pinhead crickets. As always you should only feed it about once a week as that should be plenty. Should you notice its prey still in the enclosure after 24 hours feel free to remove it. Do not let it cause harm or stress to your tarantula.

 

Attitude:

They are not as docile as people might think they are. They tend to be extremely skittish and will easily either strike a defensive pose before retreating to thier hide or kick its urticating hairs. They can bite but rarely actually do. Their Venom is not dangerous to humans (unless you have specific allergies) and contain a low toxicity level.

 

All in all the Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula is a great spider to have. The reason we do not recommend them as a beginner species is due to their skittishness and houdini like capabilities as they are great escape artists. They are low maintenance and would make the perfect pet.

 

Tell us about your Costa Rican Zebra tarantula or ask us any questions about yours. We would love to hear from you! Comment down below.

Arizona Blond Tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes)

Aphonopelma, New World 1 Comment »

The Arizona Blond Tarantula is a species common in the deserts of Arizona and Southern North America. It is very well liked in the amateur community due to it being extremely docile. For the most part these are medium sized tarantulas with mature females having a body length between 2 to 3 inches and leg spans of about 4 to 5 inches. Some can be significantly smaller then this all together.  Females live to be 12+ years while males usually live to be about 8 to 10 years.

 

A.chalcodes

 

Habitat:

These species of tarantulas spend most of their life in the wild in the dry hot dessert. In captivity they are rather easy to handle with not needing more then a 5 to 10 gallon tank (depending on the size of your tarantula). Make sure you have a very dry substrate with a water dish. You can decorate it as much as you want with shrubs but make sure you also have a hide for your tarantula. Preferably a nice piece of bark.

 

Feeding:

The Arizona Blond tarantula is also an easy one to feed. Feeding them 1 to 2 times a week should be enough. Their diet should consist of crickets and roaches. And they do tend to not eat before a molt is to occur.

 

Attitude:

These animals are extremely slow and as stated before are extremely docile. It takes a bit to provoke them, however that does not mean they will never feel threatened. They do come with urticating hairs that they release as a defense mechanism. They might bite but only as a last resort and should not feel any worse then a bee sting. The venom though potent to insects is very harmless to humans (unless yo might have specific allergies).

 

The Arizona Blond Tarantula is great as a first tarantula due to its docile nature. They are easy to handle and require low maintenance. They also are very cheap in comparison to other tarantulas and an Arizona Blond could cost you around $20. We would highly recommend this as your first or even second tarantula to have if you are still a novice to the hobby.

Have a A.Chalcodes? Tell us about it. Show us your pictures! Even ask us some quetions. Comment always welcomed.