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

Kilimanjaro Mustard Baboon (Pterinochilus chordatus)

Old World, Pterinochilus No Comments »

The Kilimanjaro Mustard Baboon Spider is an old world tarantula from the eastern part of Africa and can be found in Tanzania and Sudan. They grow to be about 4 to 5 inches in length with females living to be as old as 20 years old and males living to be about 3 to 5 years old. The true colors of the Kilimanjaro Mustard Baboon is dark grey and black with a thin orange tint at the knees however there is a light color form of this species that is orange/brown and black.

pterinochilus chordatus

 

Habitat: As full grown adults the most you will need for the kilimanjaro mustard baboon a 5 gallon enclosure. They are obligate burrowers though do just fine with a startup hide or piece of bark to live under. They are pretty good at webbing. Though not heavy webbers like their distant cousin the OBT. We recommend you give them 5 to 6 inches of damp substrate in the event your baboon does end up burrowing. Temperatures should be kept in the higher 70’s Fahrenheit with humidity levels of about 60 to 65 percent. As slings they do just fine in vials and at 1 inch in size can easily be transferred to deli cups.  As always a good water source should always be available in their enclosure whether its a water dish or spraying.

 

Feeding: These guys are voracious eaters. As slings you can feed them fruitflies and pinhead crickets with their heads smashed in. One of the few species that personally goes out to hunt instead of waiting for you to throw prey towards them. You can feed them a variety of meals such as crickets, roaches, mealworms, superworms and even locusts. Feeding once a week would be ideal.

 

Attitude: Being old world they come packed with attitude. Though not as fast and aggressive as their cousin the P.murinus. You should still use caution when opening their enclosure to feed or do maintenance. Their bite can bring a world of pain and they have potent venom. Though not lethal it can induce muscle pains, cramps, headaches and nausea. We recommend you to not handle this tarantulas!

 

All in all a definite beauty to have and most definitely a less aggressive alternative to the OBT if you are planning on getting a good hardy African tarantula.

Cameroon Red Baboon Tarantula (Hysterocrates gigas)

Hysterocrates, Old World No Comments »

The Cameroon Red Baboon Tarantula also known as the Giant Baboon spider is a large tarantula from Africa (Cameroon/Togo). It has a variation of colors which range from black after a fresh molt and then turns to an orange/red coloration which then changes to more of a brown color as it gets ready to molt again. It will repeat this pattern and therefor make it easy for keepers to check up on it at all times and know what happens to their tarantula. It has very weak and small eyes that can only judge light levels. This species does tend to grow to be about 9 inches in length with males living to be about 4 to 5 years old and females living to be up to 16 years old. They are very fast growers and a typical Giant Baboon spider can easily molt 4 to 6 times its first 2 years. Though having hairy legs they do not come equipped with urticating hairs and as most old school tarantulas they are aggressive.

 

H.gigas

 

Habitat:

The Cameroon Red Baboon tarantula is a deep burrower and therefor you should have that in mind while setting up his enclosure. A 10 gallon tank should be fine for a full grown H.gigas, make sure to have more floor space then height. About 5 to 6 inches of substrate should be fine for this tarantula as it will burrow to make its own home. They do not produce much silk and only end up webbing the entrance of their hole and inside their burrow. As spiderlings you can keep them in 4 inch vials with a little over half of it with substrate, as they get slightly bigger you can end up housing them in larger containers such as deli cups until big enough to fit in a 5 gallon tank and so on and so forth. As for the substrate itself we recommend you use some sort of damp coconut fiber or vermiculite/potting soil mix. You are going to want to make sure the substrate is firm enough to where the tarantula can dig a hole without it caving in. You will want to reach a humidity level of about 80 to 85% with temperatures of about 76 to 79 degrees. As always a fresh shallow water dish should always be readily available with clean water.

 

Feeding:

As most tarantulas this is a very big insectivore. A steady diet of crickets, cockroaches, locusts, super worms and meal worms should keep this spider well fed. Though they can and have been known to eat small mice and lizards we recommend not feeding them to your tarantula. There is much debate as to the amount of calcium buildup these animals can end up accumulating (by eating said lizards and mice) in their exoskeleton which can prevent a successful molt.

 

Attitude:

They are known to attack anything that moves, having poor eyesight also does not help. We do not recommend handling them as they tend to be aggressive as most Old World tarantulas. They do not come with urticating hairs and therefor do not have many warning signals to fend off attackers. The Cameroon Red Baboon tarantula does not hesitate to put up a defense stance, at times even hissing at its attackers. They can pack a powerful bite due to their very long fangs, a full grown H.gigas can definitely inflict some pain in their bite even though their venom is not potent to be lethal to humans. As always should you have certain animal allergies we recommend you seek medical attention right away should you feel any bad symptoms.

 

The Cameroon Red Baboon tarantula is a known species in the tarantula community though chances are it will most of the time just be a pet hole. Due to its slightly aggressive nature we recommend this to be more of an intermediate to expert hobbyist pet.

Tell us about your H.gigas, we’d love to hear from you! Comment down below and share your story!