Aphonopelma Seemanni

Published Categorized as Tarantula Care
aphonopelma seemanni

These are often found in petstores under the moniker “stripeknee”.  They are also known as “Pica Caballo” (horse biter) in northwestern Costa Rica due to local lore about them biting cattle and horses in the Guanacaste pastures.

Aphonopelma seemani or Costa Rican Zebra Care

Their coloring ranges from a dark almost black with near-white striping on the legs to a brownish/grey color with cream colored striping.  Their spinnerets and undersides are pale; some are flesh colored. 

Range: Central America; some have said that the brownish ones with cream striping are mostly found in Nicaragua, but I have seen such individuals molt into black spiders with white striping.  I’ve also personally seen brownish ones living near black ones in the Guanacaste province of Northwestern Costa Rica.

Habitat:  Semi-humid grasslands; tropical clearings; hilly, overgrown, red-clay soiled cow pastures that experience a summer rainy season.

Size: Medium tarantula.  Fully grown, they’re about 5″ in legspan.

Attitude:  Not an aggressive biter, but it can be dangerous for the spider if you handle it.  They’re prone to quick bursts of skittish running and may fly right out of your hand.  Mine will readily flick urticating hair.

Dwelling: Sometimes the zebra is anopportunistic burrower that may use a provided shelter.  Most will prefer to do some digging and may make their own burrows.  Many long-term captives will spend a lot of time sitting in the open.  In the wild, they dig angled tunnels with a roomy chamber at the end.

Ideal Setup:  A 2 1/2 to 5 gallon container with a 3-5″ layer of substrate, a shelter, and a water dish will keep your spider happy.  Give the substrate a light moistening once a week or so and try to keep the temperature around 75-80 degrees F.  Though they are Central American, I have come across them on wet, chilly evenings on hillside pastures at elevations above 1,500 ft. They can certainly handle household temps in the high 60’s and still remain active.  In the winter, the ambient humidity of their native habitat is akin to normal household humidity.

Food: Any bugs that haven’t been exposed to pesticides (2-5 crickets a week for adults).