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Tarantula Species (AVI – CIT)

Avicularia avicularia

(Common Pinktoe)

The pinktoe is another great beginner tarantula, due to its docile nature and fuzzy appearance! These spiders are arboreal (tree dwellers) and need a tank that is tall, rather than wide, so that it can climb as it would in nature. Full grown males reach approximately 3 to 3.5 inches in length, while females will get to be about 5 inches. The pinktoe will construct a webbed home where it will spend most of its time, waiting for prey to wander by. In their native land of Guyana (and many other Amazon countries), these spiders will live in the eaves and overhangs of people’s homes, acting as a “live in” exterminator.

The genus Avicularia has the honor of being the first tarantula described by science!

While the pinktoe is very docile, they are also usually skittish – and VERY fast! My avicularia is no exception. We transferred her to a newly decorated, bigger tank and decided to take some pictures. That was easier said than done, as most of the time was spent keeping the spider from darting up an arm, or jumping to the ground. (This was done in a bathtub lined with towels, so as to avoid injury to the spider.) I would be a failure at giving advice about pet tarantulas if I did not mention that these spiders not only shoot webs, but the don’t mind squirting excrement either. It’s kind of like having a parakeet with good aim!

Avicularia metallica

(Peruvian Whitetoe)

This little fuzz ball was labeled as a Peruvian Wooly Pink Toe. Unfortunately, common names are no help when trying to find the true identity of a spider. It wasn’t until this gentle T molted that we were more sure of her species – Avicularia metallica.

Avicularia versicolor

(Martinique/Antilles Pinktoe)

The versicolor is one of the most striking tarantulas in the hobby. As juveniles, they have beautiful, iridescent colors, including metallic blues and greens. As adults, these colors include red, pink, and purple. These arboreal spiders do not get as large as other pinktoe species, but can still attain a 5-inch leg span. Fast, docile, and colorful, these make a great addition to any tarantula collection.

Brachypelma albopilosum

(Honduran Curly Hair)

The curly hair tarantula originates from the tropical region of Honduras. It is easy to see how they have received their common name “curly hairs,” as this spider has long, light colored hair that curls. These are definitely one of the more unique looking tarantulas in the pet trade, reportedly easy to care for and relatively docile as well. A great pet tarantula for the beginner.

We have two juvenile B. albopilosum tarantulas, each is over about four inches.

Brachypelma auratum

(Mexican Flame Knee)

This species is very similar to the Brachypelma smithi, or Mexican Red Knee. The difference, as the common name suggests, is the red “flame” shape on the tarantulas’ leg. This red coloring stands out, as it does not have the orange and yellow patches that the smithi can have. These, like the smithi, are long lived – docile spiders!

Brachypelma emilia

(Mexican Redleg)

The emilia is another wonderful tarantula from Brachypelma genus. Also known as the Mexican painted tarantula, these spiders are black, with the exception of orange/red coloring on their femurs. They also have a distinct triangle shape on their carapace. The emilia has the same reputation as the popular Brachypelma smithi (Mexican Red Knee) as being a very docile tarantula.

Brachypelma smithi

(Mexican Redknee)

This is one of the most sought after tarantulas in the pet trade today. Many say that this species is responsible for bringing pet tarantulas to the United States. These spiders are quite striking in their coloration, with patterns of red, orange, and yellow. Their looks are only matched by their very gentle nature and long life spans (females up to 30 years). The only downside to for the individual that wishes to add a B. smithi to their collection is their high price. Adult redknees can range from $125 and up. Another small problem for some are the urticating hairs. B. smithis are notorious hair flickers when disturbed. (Just remember that hair flicking is a automatic response, not necessarily a show of aggression.)

*TRIVIA* The Brachypelma smithi is the celebrity of the tarantula world, having been featured in such 70’s horror flicks as Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo, Kingdom of the Spiders, and Kiss of the Tarantula.

Sometimes you just have to splurge, which is what I did shortly after getting into the hobby. Agatha, our female B. smithi, was our second tarantula. She truly is a sweetheart who never seems to object to a little handling now and then. She has even abandoned the typical hair flicking that most redknees do.

Brachypelma vagans

(Mexican Redrump)

This is another beautiful tarantula from Mexico and Central America; black legs, brown carapace, and a rust colored abdomen. The redrump tarantula lives in the more tropical regions of southern Mexico, compared to the desert/scrubland environment of the other “Mexican” tarantulas (redknee, redleg, blond). These spiders are not as popular as their colorful cousins, the B. smithi, which means they are available for a more reasonable price. While typically a docile species, many report the B. vagans to be occasionally skittish when handled.

*TRIVIA* The Brachypelma vagans is the first known tarantula species to be introduced into a new environment by humans. (In the late 90’s, a colony of Mexican redrump tarantulas was found in Florida.)

Ceratogyrus brachycephalus

(Greaterhorned Baboon)

The C. brachycephalus is one of a small group of African tarantulas that has a horn protruding from the center of the carapace. This particular species is from Botswana and Zimbabwe, and maintains a relatively small size (no more than 5″.) These tarantulas are typically fast and aggressive.

C. crawshayi

(King Baboon Tarantula)

A beautiful and long lived African tarantula that spends most of it’s time deep within a burrow. These tarantulas are known to be quite defensive, baring their fangs without hesitation, and even making a hissing sound by rubbing their chelicerae together. They have a velvet-like appearance with the strangest, yet beautiful back feet!