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

Brazilian Black Tarantula (Grammostola pulchra)

Grammostola, New World 1 Comment »

The Brazilian Black Tarantula is another crowd favorite mostly known for its velvet black coloration once hitting adulthood while spiderlings tend to be brown in color. They are natives of Brazil and tend to not reach full adulthood and growth for about 6 to 7 years with males living out to be between those years. Females tend to live double that amount of time and will reach a length of about 7 to 9 inches. Highly sought after due to its docile and calm nature and long life it is surely a great tarantula for a beginner to intermediate hobbyist.

 

gpulchra

 

Habitat:

At maximum growth you are going to need an enclosure between 10 to 15 gallons.These are terrestrial tarantulas but are opportunistic burrowers. Though it might end up being that your g.pulchra might not ever burrow it is still recommended that you add at least 4 to 5 inches of substrate. Their environment in the wild is relatively dry, and you are going to want to have the same setup for your Brazilian Black tarantula. We do recommend that you use coconut fiber just lightly dampened as most grammostola species they dislike wet and if your substrate is too “wet” they will end up crawling up to the side of your tank and not touch the substrate. In addition a hide should also be added should they want to use it. Make sure they do get plenty of ventilation and they only require about a 70% or sometimes even less humidity. They tend to do just fine in room temperature settings but we recommend their enclosure to be anywhere between 75 to 82 degrees. A full shallow water dish should also always be available for your g.pulchra and overfilling it should be enough to supply humidity. Spraying is not necessary.

 

Feeding:

The Brazilian Black Tarantula are much better eaters then most other grammostola genus’. A steady diet of large crickets, b.dubia cockroaches and locusts should do the trick just fine. At full growth they can easily devour a couple of roaches at a time.

 

Attitude:

The g. pulchra is considered an extremely docile tarantula and they normally are easy to handle should you start handling yours the minute you get it. They do come with urticating hairs but are one of the least irritating of all urticating hairs. They tend to not get skittish that often and rarely use their hairs and even more, rarely bite. Their venom has a medium toxicity level and is usually not harmful to humans (unless you have certain allergies).

 

All in all the Brazilian Black tarantula is a great species to have, they are slow growers great to handle and  extremely calm. Their amazing velvet black color makes them a great showcase tarantula. We do recommend being careful when handling full sized adults to prevent dropping them which can injure them severely or worse cause death. They can certainly be a great pet for as females tend to live for a long time.

 

Do you have a Brazilian Black Tarantula or have questions? Tell us about it! Comment down below! We’d love to hear from you.

Chaco Golden Knee Tarantula (Grammostola pulchripes)

Grammostola, New World 7 Comments »

The Chaco Golden Knee Tarantula has become a very sought after tarantula. It is originally from Mexico. Its docile nature, color and size has made it perfect for beginner/intermediate tarantula enthusiasts. With most Chaco Golden Knees growing to be about 8 to 10 inches in length. They tend to be steady growers and most reach adult size within 3 to 4 years. Females can live out to be anywhere between 15 to 25 years while males tend to make it to be about 5 to 6 years old.

goldenkneechaco

 

Habitat:

The Chaco Golden Knee Tarantula is known to be a burrower. In addition to burrowing they also tend to be extremely active at night and move around quite a bit. Due to its size we do recommend a 10 to 15 gallon tank for it to live in with at least 5 to 6 inches of substrate for it to burrow. It is also advised to add ad a nice size bark as a hide in its enclosure, though you might not see your tarantula use its hide it has been known to relieve it of stress. Being that it is a native of Mexico it prefers dry environments. You can wet a quarter of the enclosure preferably overfilling its water dish to provide enough humidity for your G.pulchripes (we normally recommend about 50% humidity). Temperature wise you should be good by keeping this tarantula nice and warm anywhere between 77 to 85 degrees.

 

Feeding:

Feeding should not be an issue at all. The G.pulchripes eats very well with females eating ravenously anything thrown their way, males tend to not eat as much. A steady feeding of large crickets, roaches and locusts should be just fine. Remember to never feed your tarantula something bigger than its size as this might end up injuring your tarantula when it’s trying to take down its prey.

 

Attitude:

They are known as being extremely docile and slow moving however with that being said they do know how to defend themselves. Being a new world tarantula they come equipped with urticating hairs on their abdomen which they will use should they feel threatened. Worst case scenario they might bite which can consist of a “dry” bite or “wet” bite. A dry bite does not contain venom but still causes some pain especially from a full grown tarantula that has bigger fangs. You can also experience a wet bite which on top of getting the pain from a dry bite would also have the tarantula’s venom. Though its not potent enough to be considered a medical threat it does sting a bit and can cause light headaches or muscle cramps (to some it causes nothing at all). If you think you might be allergic you should seek medical attention (same as you would should you be allergic to bee or wasp stings).

 

We would highly recommend the Chaco Golden Knee Tarantula for any hobbyist. They are very low cost and low maintenance. Full sized they love sitting outside their hide/burrow as a showcase piece. Females can be a pet for a long time and with great care chances are you will grow old with them. Definitely one of my favorite picks.

Do you have a Chaco Golden Knee? Tell us about it and drop a comment down below! Do you have any questions? Ask in the comment box and we will surely answer them for you.