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Frequently asking questions

   Below are broughted answers to the most often asking questions, concerning particularities of biology, physiologie and keeping tarantulas in captivity.




  • How long do they live?

The answer can be divided into two parts:

1. The difference between males and females. As a rule, females live much longer then males. In whole is possible to say that tarantula males of most species lives not longer when 3 years, but females more when 12 years - also look here.

One of the most early matured tarantulas - representatives of genera Pterinochilus, Psalmopoeus, Poecilotheria: males can reach maturity within less 1 year, females - to 2 years.

2. The difference between females of different species. Females of noted above tarantulas and also species of Avicularia and Holothele live 7-9 years - this is lesser longevity date amongst tarantulas. But females of genera Brachypelma, Aphonopelma, Grammostola lives to 25 years, but some separate specimens are known to live more when 30 years!

Thereby, its possible to say that absolute longevity of tarantulas are numberred from 2 to 35 years. As in whole, terrestrial tarantulas lives longer when arboreals. Also about tarantula longevity look here.

  • What is the largest and smallest species? 

Traditionally the smallest known tarantula was considered Acanthopelma annae , however at present this tarantula does not pertain to Theraphosidae and was transfered to Barychelidae. It is not more 1,5-2 сm in legspan. At the same time from known tarantulas many representatives of genera Ischnocolus, Chaetopelma, Cyriocosmus and species Aphonopelma paloma, A. mojave are not exceed the specified size.


The largest tarantula according to Guiness book of records is considered the goliaf tarantula Theraphosa blondi together with which on crown also pretends two other species: Theraphosa apophysis and Lasiodora parahybana. In detail about sizes of tarantulas look here.


  • Are they poisonous?

Certainly, they are poisonous. They use poison for defeat and mortification of food items. Tarantula bites if individual allergic reaction not presented, do not cause some serious damage for human health, and comparable to bites of wasp or bees.

Herewith follows to take into account that in connection with secretive lifestyle events of bites in nature is enough rare. At the same time they present serious danger for other home pets, for instance, cats and dogs. According to published studies of australian authors absolute majority of tarantula bites on dogs cause their death (Geoffrey K. Isbister et al., Toxicon 41 (2003) 519-524).

However within everyday care for tarantulas a person-keeper constantly faces with other trouble - allergic reaction on skin and mucous shells caused by influence of urticating hairs. Look also here.

  • Which species of tarantula are most dangerous?

Most dangerous species are traditionally considered tarantulas of asiatic and african regions, however, this is not signifies that bite of same goliaf tarantula Theraphosa blondi or adult specimen of genuses Lasiodora and Pamphobeteus and other representatives of large american tarantulas can not cause some unpleasant consequences for health.

The most dangerous tarantula with standpoint of poison toxicity and agressiveness (defensiveness level) are considered representatives of genera Poecilotheria, Pterinochilus, Haplopelma, Heteroscodra, Stromatopelma, Phlogius, Selenocosmia, Ornithoctonus, Citharischius. Look also here.

  • What tarantula can be recommended for a beginner?


As a first, beginners species of tarantula, follows obviously to select the followings: Aphonopelma chalcodes, A. bicoloratum, Brachypelma albopilosa, B. smithi, Eupalaestrus campestratus.

The choice of these species is determined, first of all, on that they`re unpretentious and not demanding to keeping conditions, as well as do not show aggression. It is also considered that their poison not capable to cause of any harm to human organism.

Also not aggressive species, which also can be adviced to beginners, but some more demanding in keeping conditions are representatives of genuses Avicularia (with the exclusion of several species), Cyclosternum, Aphonopelma, Brachypelma (most species), Grammostola. See also descriptions of genera.


  • What condotions are necessary to provide a tarantula in captivity?


See - here.


  • How to distinguish a tarantula from other spiders?


See - here.


  • That does it mean when tarantula long time abandons to eat?


In captivity amateurs often meets the fact of refusal tarantula from food. This can lasts from several week to several months, and in some cases - over the year.

Where`re several reasons for that.

1. Approach of the molting. Absolute majority of tarantulas refuse from feeding for determined period before coming the process of molting. Herewith, than elder is the tarantula, that greater period is this break. Beside very large specimen it can be over the month. Also, similarly occurs refusal of feeding after molting, that connected with that all shells and organs of tarantula must hardened.

However ther`re some cases when some specimens (of younger stages, as a rule) do not stop feeding neither before molting, nor after it. See also - here.

2. Natural refusal of feeding. Beside some tarantulas, as a rule, from highland regions and countries, exists periodic refusal of feeding, which not connected with coming molting.

Amongst such tarantulas are representatives of Grammostola, also Aphonopelma, Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens, Hysterocrates, Megaphobema, Paraphysa, Phoneyusa, Thrixopelma and some others.

From most wide-spread species in hobby this fact concerns the world record holder - Grammostola rosea and also Grammostola pulchra keeping wich is maybe a true shock for not-known this fact beginner.

These facts have no unambiguous explanation. In determined confidence is possible to say that they can be explained by the seasonal changes of places they inhabits.

3. Does not also exclude that tarantula simply overfeeded (herewith is necessary to note that before this spider was well fed), as well as is possible that it fallen ill - see also here.


  • How to determine that spider is going to molt?


In case of spiders inhabitting american continent this question dares simply: soon before the molt a bald spot on the back of tarantula abdomen (urticating hairs area (look her) gets darker, because of shaping the new exoskeleton under the existing one (about the molting process look here).

But if its concern the asian and african species the approach of molting is possible to define on the basis of following features (this also, certainly, concerns and american tarantulas): spider becomes more faded, not active, takes no food, overall colouration of body becomes more dark, literally overnight - two days before molting spider webbing the terrarium, particularly the area of soil, where is going to molt and also a coverture if present, does not appear on surfaces at night time and plaits the burrow entry with thick layer of web.


  • How to distinguish a male from female?

Look - here.

  • My adult spider has molted, and something happens with him - it has changes colour (proportions of body, some strange hooks appears on legs, etc.) at all looks "very different"?


Sooner whole, this tarantula is a male and finally reach maturity. As a rule, amongst majorities of tarantula mature males have different colouration (sexual dimorphizm). It can be determined with mutated apical segment of pedipalps - it has typical form, also there are lot species has hooks on tibia of front legs - look here.

Also prepare to that this spider will live in average about half a year, but where was some cases when mature males lived much more time - see How much do they live?


  • May I handle a tarantula?


In general, handling tarantula is undesirable (there are possible unpleasant consequences, as for spiders themselves, so their owner) and must not being done without serious needs for a variety of reasons. What reasons? See - (here).

However having some skills experienced amateur can produce this operation with certained precautions, for instance, if tarantula sexing is needed or for the reason studies of sick tarantula (its treatments, nursings).


  • Here is I have such tarantula (photo is enclosed). Can You identify it?


Follows to say that answer to such question can`t be given. In matter of fact determination of tarantula species belonging to definable species by photography is impossible, since neither colouration, nor sizes, neither proportions of body, nor other visible signs do not confess by modern science as identifying features.

At the best, skilled specialist will be able to identify tarantula on photographies before genus or groups of species, that, in general, is maybe important for selecting corresponding keeping conditions, and only in rare events - its approximate species belonging (on the grounds of similarities of collections of external signs and typical visible features of its overall view). In any event without taxonomic study of concrete tarantula specimen it`s impossible to give its exact species identification.


  • Is it necessary to heat a tarantula?


Temperature required for provision of vital activity of majority of tarantulas laid in range between 23 and 26°С. Exception forms only by several species (for instance, Megaphobema mesomelas), requiring lowered temperature. So if indoor temperature inheres in specifieded limits there`re no any additional heating required.


  • What I can heat a tarantula with?


Optimal equipment by means of which is possible to heat a tarantula - heating plates or cords, which are fixed under terrarium for arboreal species, or on back or one of lateral sides of terrarium for terrestrials.

Specified equipment is reasonable to use with automatic regulators. Also one of the solution of heating tarantulas - direct heating of keeping room.     Herewith is not advisable to rise the temperature higher 31°С.


  • How often is necessary to feed a tarantula?

In general the following rule can be used: spiderlings and juvenil tarantulas must be fed in two-three days, large juvenils and subadults - two-three times per week, adults - one-two times a week with food objects of corresponding size.

Herewith, there is some of particularities, in accordance with a need of intensive growing of spiderlings or deceleration of growing of males. Look - here.

  • What size must be food object?


The average size of food object must be commensurate to tarantula abdomen size. However many tarantulas be able to cope the food objects of much greater size. Also see - here.


  • How can I water a tarantula?


Use the following rule: if Your tarantula is small that is enough to support the moisture of substrat, on/in which it is kept; If Your tarantula is large iuvenil or sub/adult - install in terrarium a water bowl and keep a check for water was not polluted.


  • My tarantula has lose/wounded leg - is it die soon?


In absolute majority of events nothing had happens. Tarantula as other arachnods, possess the ability to regeneration of losted limbs. As a rule, the full regeneration of losted limbs occurs during next 2-3 molts. 

Wounded leg, if wound heals, will also completely restore within the next molt. However, are herewith possible to determined some complications - look here.


  • On tarantula`s abdomen appears a bald spot, what is it?


 The nacked area of exoskeleton (a bald spot) appears on back upper side of abdomen of most american tarantulas by rubbing tarantula the urticating hairs with its rear legs.


  • Bald spot on tarantula`s abdomen has darkened, what is it?


This has occurred therefore that Your tarantula prepares to molting. See also: How to determine that spider is going to molt?


  • I`ve found my tarantula laying on its back, does it die?


No, at this moment it molts/is going to molt in the near future. The absolute majority of tarantulas molts lying down on its back. Seldom and, as a rule, only the large specimens molts standing up or lying down on side. In detail about molting look here.


  • Often observe my tarantula is climbing on terrarium walls. Why?


As a rule, in case with terrestrial tarantulas this signifies that something wrong with keeping conditions (the usual reason is substrate has overmoistened). Also tarantulas often climb on terrarium walls for webbing their territory.

Besides, not to be excluded possibility that tarantula has their own unknown for humans reason for this not connecting with keeping conditions. Why not?


  • My tarantula does not move/come out of burrow last several days/weeks. Is it normal?


Sooner whole, yes. Probably, it is going to molt so spare him close attention.

If You got the wild-caught adult female from nature, or you recently/long ago pair it and she`s going to construct an eggsac/already sits in burrow with eggsac.

But possible also that it fed well and simply wants not to be disturbed. Why not?


  • In my tarantula` terrarium where`re appears some flies. What should I do - does they can cause any troubles to my tarantula health?


Two types of "flies" usually meets in terrarium. As a whole, they can not cause a tarantula any harm, but, however, their finding is undesirable and in the first place is a sign of violation of hygenic requirements of keeping cobditions (bad ventilation, not removed leftovers, overmosture etc). How to get rid of them - look here.

About the requirements of keeping conditions - look here.


  • My spider sits, having curled under itself legs and is not stirred. What`d happened?


Curling the legs under tarantula`s body in majority speaks that it is dehydrated and operative interference is required. Look also here.

Also it is possible that this pose means of tarantula already dead.


  • I bought a small spiderling, when it grows up?


In this instance the notion "grow" is possible to interpret in two aspects - reachness of maximum sizes, from the one hand, and maturation, from another.

1. reachness by spider of maximum size stright depends on keeping conditions (temperature, humidity etc.) and intensities of feeding: than higher temperature and intensive of feeding, than quicker tarantula reaches maximum size, and vice versa.

hereby, at the average, majority of tarantulas (except some of representatives of Aphonopelma, Grammostola and others) under intensive grow can reach maximum size to 2 years. Also look here.

2. The maturity not stright connected with reacheness of maximum size and comparatively can be defined by tarantula age. In this instance it is necessary to conclude from averaged parameters of conditions and growing of concrete spider, since the periods of maturation is greatly differ beside different species: from 1 to 3 years for males (5 years also is known) and from 2-3 to 5-7 years for females (till 12 is also proposed for some species). In detail look here.

Herewith follows to take into account that, according to last data findings, most suitable for breeding purposes and most productive are parents of average sizes.


  • How to choose a terrarium (type, size) for tarantula and dispose its at home?


About general requirements for terrarium look here.

As a whole it is possible to say that all terrestrial tarantulas needs horizontal type terrarium and for arboreals - terrarium of vertical type. Herewith size of corresponding "dwelling" surfaces (floor or walls, accordingly) must be not less then two lengths of legspan of a tarantula (minimal size).

For the terrarium locations is necessary to say that absolutely all tarantulas are solely twilight-night creatures, which lives in covertures. It follows and tarantula keeping experience shows what special illumination is not required. Moreover, as small as possible interference required for the greater amount of species (Megaphobema spp., Pamphobeteus spp. etc.), particularly for females at the period of eggsac care (all species). Also take into account that tarantulas needs maintenance of stable temperature without sharp changes.

From stated follows that disposition of terrarium in apartment must be chosen on the following algorithm: the place must not be communicating, illumination must be muted, base far from window, input and balcony doors. Herewith terrarium from one of its sides (possible from three, except front and top) can be completely or partly closed from surrounding space (inhere beside wall, in the corner, in shelving etc.).


  • Want to equip my terrarium with alive plants. What plants should I use and is it necessary in general?


Considerations on this subject hang, and are stright connected with answer to previous question (How to choose a terrarium (type, size) for tarantula and dispose its at home?). As already there was mentioned, bright illumination is not desirable for tarantulas, from one side, and without fall is necessary for successful existance of majority plants in artificial conditions.

Thereby, keeping plants in standard tarantula terrarium leads their oppression.

But if You plan to keep tarantula in large terrarium with big amount of covertures, allowing to create a secluded place is possible to equip a terrarium with illumination suitable to growing of plants.

Herewith in any case is necessary to take into account that terrestrial species will actively digs substratum and arboreals plaits surface and plant leafs with web. Also, when climbing, heavy tarantula will crush plants, and scratch leaf surface with legs.

Follows to above mentioned where`re maybe next choice of plants: they must grow fast, have hard leafs and trunks, and herewith have no thorns and needles, able to damage a tarantula covers. For protection of roots is reasonable to plant in pots, hanging up on terrarium walls or installing directly on the ground.

So there`re a brief selection of plants: succulents (suitable to keep with african and some american tarantulas), climbing trunk plants with hard leafs (with tropical terrestrial and arboreal species) and also a hard-leafed plants with wooden or hard trunks (monstera, ficus, diffenbahia etc.).

Also about terrarium decoration look here.


  • How to arrange a terrarium for my pet-tarantula?

This, in the first place, depends on the tarantula itself and more exactly from its lifestyle: is it terrestrial, burrowing or arboreal species and which region its from: dry or humid.

1. Arboreal tarantulas must be kept in vertical terrariums. Internal construction of such terrarium forms on the base of required criterions lifes. This is the presence of small layer of humid substratum; vertically placed or bent pieces of bark, branches or plant stems (under cover of which tarantula can spin its silken retreat); a water bowl to keep humidity level. Herewith terrarium must be provided with good ventilation. Such terrarium in case if its decorated with alive plants is necessary to periodically spinkle.

2. Burrowers as well as the terrestrial tarantulas needs substratum of greater layer. Herewith for purely burrowers (Сitharischius spp., Hysterocrates spp., Eucratoscelus spp., Haplopelma spp. etc.) size of a layer has essential importance and must be not less 8-10 сm. It is possible to grant a smaller layer but in such case there is necessary to provide a tarantula with coverture. Regarding watering the burrowing species it`s depends on «habits» of concrete specimen. For terrestrial species (if concrete specimen don`t like to dig) water bowl is a must.

For some african species (for example, Pterinochilus spp.), species Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens, other tarantulas, which is not need the special humidity mode, substratum plays secondary role and the presence of water bowl is enough for them.

Also, for creation the correct keeping condition for species in captivity is necessary to follow the conditions in their habitats in nature.

  • Is it possible to keeping tarantulas communal?

There is information about communal co-habiting of arboreal tarantulas Avicularia avicularia, Avicularia minatrix, Poecilotheria subfusca, Poecilotheria regalis, as well as possible Tapinauchenius latipes. Herewith, there`re specimens of both sexes and different ages meets in one retreats.

Regarding the keeping tarantulas communal in captivity want to note that anyway this is may connected with a risk of loss or harm one or several members of such improvised colony.

Also follows to say that it is possible to keep communal in one terrarium spiderlings of many species within first one-two stages (molts) that also is undesirable since there`re several reports of cannibalism even between nymphs of II ages. Once in a while, noted that females and males of several species can live together in one terrarium being put on for breeding.

  • Is it possible to keeping communal tarantulas of different species?

There`re no such information published. From exchange of information between amateurs follows that such experiments, as a rule, ends with lethal upshot for one of the "roommates".

  • What substratum can be used for tarantula keeping?

Most suitable types of substratums are: vermiculit, coconut crumb, vermiculit or coconut crumb mixed with peat moss (sphagnum) and turf with peat moss mix (for humid species), earth mixture, mixture of dead wood crumb with peat moss (for not digging species) etc. Herewith follows to take into account that the smallest faction of substratum must be used for digging species.

Much is not recommended to use substratum made of coniferous sorts of trees (pine) if you not certain that dead bark and/or wood there were used!

Also see "Substratum".