Care in Captivity
by Todd Gearheart
is a rarely imported species from Argentina and
There have been captive-bred more
often in Europe than in the U.S., so they remain
somewhat of a "rare" species in U.S.
The over-all color is slate grey
with some white rings on the patella and across
This is a small species seldom
exceeding 3 3/4" in legspan. They are
considered to be very docile. In my personal
experience, I find they to be a little skittish
and have shown aggression when first imported. I
produced spiderlings of these in early 1999 and
more U.S. hobbyists are now able to enjoy these
small, docile and hardy tarantulas.
Other common names (not
Described by: Thorell, 1894.
(Perez-Miles paper of 92 confirmed the
transfer from the Pterinopelma genus. )
Distribution: Pampas plains
(grasslands habitat) of Soriano, Argentina and
Size: Spiderlings emerge as
1/4" 1st instar. Adult females may reach 3
3/4" in leg span and weigh just over 1/2
ounce. Males reach 3".
Growth rate: Slow.
Temperature: Keep 70-80F. They
can take drops to 60 F for short periods of time
as long as they have a deep burrow. Keep your
tarantula's enclosure away from windows,
sunlight, heater's and air conditioning.
Humidity: 40-60%. Keep substrate
mostly dry. Provide a shallow water dish.
Spray spiderling pill bottles
once a week lightly. The substrate should NEVER
be ³swampy² nor should it be so dry that if you
were to blow on it particles would go up in the
air. Spiderlings needs higher humidity, but 80%
humidity or higher will kill adults.
needed: This is a burrowing species found in
grasslands habitat . Keep adults in 5 gallon
tanks with 3-5" peat moss/vermiculite mix
with cork bark shelter to hide under. Spiderlings
will need to be keep in pill bottles with peat
moss/vermiculite mix for 1st two months, then
moved to 8 and 16 ounce deli cups as they get
bigger. Make sure your adults can not
"climb" up the sides of the glass tank
as a drop will kill or injury them. Make sure
your lid on top is secure. A good tank for adult
tarantulas are "Critter Cages" with
sliding and locking lids.
Food: Feed prey that is smaller
than the length of the tarantulas body.
Spiderlings less than 1" leg span will need
to be fed mini-meal worms (obtained from
companies like Nature's Way and Grubco for cheap)
termites. You can use "pin-head"
crickets, but these must be 1 week old crickets
and very small as they will eat your spiderling
when it tries to molt. Adults can be fed large
crickets, super worms and wax worms. Make sure
all insects come from non-pesticide areas. Feed
spiderlings twice a week a couple of prey items.
Feed adults once a week with a couple of large
prey. Adults can go off-fed for 3 months or more.
Cleaning: To keep your
tarantula's tank clean and keep your animal
healthy, get in the routine of feeding your
tarantula one day, and then coming behind the
next day and taking long tweezers and picking out
any left-over prey remains. Keep the water dish
(it must be shallow and wide) clean at all times.
If you follow this advice, you will need to only
change out your substrate (vermiculite, peat
moss, sand mixture) once every six months or so.
Longevity: Being slow growers, it
is assumed that they live a long time. Males
probably mature at 4-5 years and may live to be
another year older, while females probably will
live to be 18 years or older.
are skittish tarantulas sometimes, but over-all,
they are quite easy to deal with being a
Eupalaestrus spp. They are considered docile and
the venom is medically insignificant. Best
advice: Don't handle! Tarantulas are not
"pets", but "display animals"
much like keeping fish. They don't understand nor
have a need to be handled. They are venomous like
many spiders, but their venom is not dangerous
unless your allergic to their venom. Don't find
out! Transfer your tarantula using
"cup-to-tank" method. Even though this
species can be mostly docile, I have seen them
try to bite especially when first imported.
Captive breeding: Medium degree
of difficulty to breed. Males are very small and
act nervous and skittish around the females,
which are fairly aggressive towards the males. A
large tank (10 gallon) is required and it is best
to let the female acclimate to it for a few weeks
before introducing the male. You must have a
female established with a burrow or silk-lined
shelter before introducing the male.
Record keeping: Keep good notes
such as the stock #, if any , that it was sold
as, when born, molt dates, etc.
To find out more about this
animal and the Tarantula Keeping hobby, I
recommend the following:
Read these books:
"Tarantulas and Other Arachnids" by Sam
Marshall, "Keeping and Breeding Tarantulas
in Captivity" by Ronald Baxter, Andreas
Tinter's "Tarantulas Today" and Stanley
and Marguerite Schultz's "The Tarantula
Keeper's Guide". Acquire back-issues of
WEBBINGS Invertebrate Magazine. (Email:
email@example.com ) Join the Southwest Florida
Tarantula Society (SWFTS) contact: ( Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org ) Join the British Tarantula
Society (BTS) to obtain the bi-monthly
newsletter, The Journal. Join the Arachnid
Mailing Lists on the internet.
Reprinted here with