THE PROPER CARE OF TARANTULAS: Brachypelma smithi

BSMITHI

Scientific Name: Brachypelma smithi

Common Name: Mexican Red-Knee

Authority: F.O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897

Adult Size: Approximately 6 inches

Experience Level: Beginner

Disposition: Non-aggressive but known to kick urticating hairs when disturbed.

Type: Terrestrial, likes to burrow

Distribution: South-western Mexico

Habitat: Savannah, scrubland

Heat & Humidity Requirements: 75┬░, 65-75% humidity. Though this is a desert species, they spend their days underground in their much cooler burrows, venturing out at night to hunt.

Enclosure Set-Up: For adult tarantulas, I like to use Breeding Boxes by Exo-Terra. Depending on your available space either the medium (11.8 inches long x 7.7 inches wide x 5.7 inches high) or large (16.3 inches long x 10.4 inches wide x 5.8 inches high) will do. These boxes are sturdy, stackable and have great ventilation. They also feature convenient doors on the lid for feeding so that you don’t necessarily have to take off the entire lid.

BREEDING BOX

For substrate I use about 1-2″ of EcoEarth by Zoo Med. This is a loose coconut fiber substrate, now used very often by tarantula keepers. Despite this being a burrowing species, I have had very good luck keeping them for 20+ years by just providing a hide. The substrate does allow the spider to “redecorate” its enclosure how it seems fit and believe me, it will!

ECOEARTH

For a hide I will either use a piece of cork bark or a hollowed out half log. Even though tarantulas get most of their moisture from the food they eat, I also always provide a shallow water dish. There are many decent ones available at pet stores but I find that the caps on larger spice bottles work best.

HABBAHUT

Special Notes: Brachypelma smithi is one of the best beginner tarantulas available on the market today. In 1985 they were added to the Appendix II of the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered┬áSpecies) treaty. Because of this wild caught specimens are no longer legal. Captive bred spiderlings are available from most dealers at reasonable prices. This is a very long-lived species with females known to live in excess of 25 years! This beautiful tarantula is particularly stunning right after a molt, where the black looks like velvet and the orange is very bright. Because this species readily flicks hairs, it is very common to see them with bald abdomens. When they are nearing a molt the bald area darkens up as you can see the replacement hair forming under the “old” skin.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s