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10 of the Most Common Pet Tarantulas

Tarantulas are popular pets for a variety of reasons. They’re beautiful, fascinating, and relatively easy to care for. They also creep a lot of people out, which for some enthusiasts is undoubtedly part of the fun. Most species of tarantula are safe to handle, but there are definitely some species that are better for beginners than others. In this article we’ll look at several of the most common pet tarantulas there are. Let’s have a look!

10 Common Pet Tarantulas

Old World Tarantulas tend to be aggressive and prone to biting, and some tarantulas are just finicky about their environment. The species listed here are all robust, more docile spiders that are often great choices for beginners.

1. Chilean Rose

Chilean rose tarantula
Chilean rose tarantula | image by: Insects Unlocked via Flickr

Scientific name: Grammostola rosea

This is one of the most widely available and affordable species of tarantula. They have have rose-colored hairs on their bodies and legs, while their carapace is black.

They’re fairly large, and legspans of 5.5 inches are common for mature females. They can live for at east 20 years, and possibly longer.

In captivity, they don’t usually burrow. Their native to deserts and dry grasslands, which makes them low-maintenance because they don’t need high humidity levels in the terrarium. They’re very docile, which is important for beginners.

2. Honduran Curly Hair

Honduran curly haired tarantula
Honduran curly haired tarantula | image by davidricardoabrenica via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Tliltocatl albopilosus

Despite the name, this species actually ranges across much of central America, including Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Their hairs are also not particularly curly, but their golden sheen contrasted against the spider’s black carapace does give them an especially bushy appearance.

These are big spiders, easily reaching legspans of 6 inches in adult females. Their big saize and extra bushy hairs make them very popular in the pet trade.

Like most New World tarantulas, they’re also pretty docile and can be handled easily. This species is especially well-suited to beginners because it can withstand a lot of fluctuations in temperature and humidity, making them more resilient to the sorts of mistakes that beginners make with housing.

3. Pink-toe

Pink toe tarantula
Pink toe tarantula | image by Richard Adams via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Avicularia avicularia

In the wild, these tarantulas can be found throughout much of northern South America, Central America, and parts of the Caribbean. They’re arboreal, living most of their lives in the trees. This actually makes them fairly easy to house, because they don’t require much substrate, and since they don’t burrow they’re easy to observe.

Their venom is among the most mild of all tarantulas, and biting is a defense of last resort for them. They only live for a few years, as opposed to many other species which can live for 20-30 years, so a pink toe is less of a commitment than other species.

4. Mexican Red-knee

Mexican red-knee tarantula
Mexican red-knee tarantula | image by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Brachypelma hamorii

A desert species with striking red-orange “knees” and a ring of red-orang around it’s thorax, this is one of the most easily recognizable species of tarantula, and one of the most beautiful. They’re native to central and southern Mexico.

These are big, chunky tarantulas with thick bodies and relatively short legs compared to body size. They’re extremely docile, and their venom is very mild.

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These spiders are great for beginners, but be sure you buy one that was bred in captivity. In the wild, this species is listed as vulnerable, and the pet trade has damaged the population.

5. Brazilian Black

Brazilian black tarantula
Brazilian black tarantula

Scientific name: Grammostola pulchra

When fully grown, this solid black tarantula has a legspan of 7 inches, which makes them a very impressive-looking spider. They’re extremely docile, and rarely even kick out their urticating hairs when handled. Wild-caught specimens are illegal, and any Brazilian black you buy in a pet store will be captive-bred.

They grow slowly, taking up to 8 years to reach their full adult size. As a result, mature females are highly sought after and can be very expensive. You may want to save yourself some money and buy an immature one, even though it will take a while to grow to its adult size.

6. Costa Rican Zebra

Costa rican zebra crawling
Costa rican zebra crawling | image by Cerre via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0

Scientific name: Aphonopelma seemanni

Named for their distinctive stripes on their legs, these tarantulas are native to the western part of Costa Rica and some areas of Guatemala. They like to dig deep burrows, so to house one you’ll need to be sure and lay down a thick layer of substrate.

They’re a beautiful spider with a striking appearance, and they’re very docile. The only thing you need to be careful of is their speed- these are fast tarantulas and if they get spooked while you’re handling the, they’ll spring off and you’ll have a hard time recapturing them.

7. Pink Zebra

pink zebra beauty tarantula
Pink Zebra Beauty Tarantula | image by Dick Culbert via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Eupalaestrus campestratus

The pink zebra beauty ranges from Brazil south through much of Argentina. It’s very similar in appearance to the Costa Rican Zebra but it’s stripes are pink instead of tan or cream colored. They’re very docile and can be handled with ease, and bites are very rare.

In fact, it’s widely believed that this is the most docile of all tarantula species, which makes it perfect for beginners who aren’t used to handling tarantulas yet. They’re slow-moving and non-aggressive, so there’s little risk that they’ll injure you or themselves.

8. Mexican Red Rump

Mexican redrump
Mexican redrump | image by Pavel Kirillov via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name: Tliltocatl vagans

This species is native to far southern Mexico and parts of Central America, where it inhabits a wide range of environments. It’s a terrestrial, burrowing species that is characterized by the distinctive red hairs on it’s abdomen.

They can easily reach a 6.5 inch legspan, so this is a large species. While they’re very docile, they are prone to releasing urticating hairs, so handling should be kept to a minimum and protective eyewear should always be used when handling one.

9. Desert Blonde

Desert blonde tarantula
Desert blonde tarantula | image by Mike Lewinski via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Aphonopelma chalcodes

Residents of the southwest US will be very familiar with this species. It’s extremely common in these deserts, and is a common sight during the summer rainy season. It’s a large, tan spider that likes to dig burrows in the desert sand.

Females can live for up to 30 years, and they’re very docile. Beginners like them because they’re affordable and good-natured,

10. Mexican Redleg

Mexican redleg at rest
Mexican redleg at rest | image by John via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Brachypelma emilia

A close relative of the red-kneed tarantula, the red markings on this species cover a whole section of each leg, rather than just the knees. They’re native to Mexico’s west coast. This species is similar in size to the red knee, so they’re fairly large.

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They’re also quite docile, and combined with their large size and striking colors they make a very impressive-looking pet that’s easy to handle. Just be sure to buy one from a breeder, as wild-caught specimens are illegal.

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