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  - Mexican Flame Knee
  - Mexican Red Knee
  - Mexican Fire Leg
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  - Mexican Golden Red Rump
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  - Curly Hair
  - Chilean Rose
  - Chaco Golden Knee
  - Brazilian Black
   
  Intermediate / Advanced Keepers
  - Costa Rican Zebra
  - Mexican Blonde
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  - Greenbottle Blue
  - White Knee
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  Pinktoe
   
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FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE WHICH TARANTULAS TO KEEP

If you are new to keeping tarantulas, then you need to choose tarantulas that are known to have a good temperament, that are not skittish (quick to run off), those that have venom of no medical significance and those species that don't require very special habitat conditions in order to survive in captivity.

IN SOUTH AFRICA IT IS ILLEGAL TO COLLECT, KEEP AND BREED BABOON SPIDERS WITHOUT THE NECESSARY PERMITS !!!

1. Temperament and venom

Some tarantulas are known for their aggression, and more often than not back it up with their bite:

Pterinochilus species (Golden Brown / Orange Baboon Spider) - aggressive
Stromatopelma species (Feather Leg Baboon Spiders) - potent venom, quick
Ceratogyrus species (Horned Baboon Spiders) - aggressive

Native to South Africa and some neighbouring countries, these species of Baboon Spider are quite aggressive or inflict a venomous bite, and are therefore NOT good beginner tarantulas.



Horned Baboon Spider showing defensive pose.


2. Speed

If you are not familiar with a quick species of tarantula, before you know it they are out of their enclosure and running around the house somewhere. This could be a serious problem for someone new to the hobby.

Some species that are particularly quick include:

Poecilotheria species (Indian Ornamental) - quick, aggressive and grow to quite a large size
Avicularia species (Pink Toe) - skittish, delicate, prone to SADS


Indian Ornamental Tarantula.


3. Habitat

Some species of tarantula are considered hard to keep because of specific habitat requirements. Other species are just considered as very delicate and have been found to die in captivity with no apparent reason.

These species include:

Theraphosa species (Bird Eaters)

This
genus should be avoided as they require high humidity along with other specific habitat conditions, which results in problems with shedding if their desired conditions arenít achieved. They also grow to a large size and can move very quickly.



Goliath Bird Eating Spider.


Avicularia species

These tarantulas are not considered as beginner stock but they are among the most beautiful of the tarantulas, so I doubt they will be absent from your collection for too long. Some species of
Avicularia have been found to die for no apparent reason. This sudden unexplained death is called Sudden Avic Death Syndrome. They are beautiful tarantulas though.

Avicularia (Pinktoe) Tarantula.

 

Once you are more experienced at the "hardier" species of Tarantula, then you can venture keeping the more challenging species in captivity. For this reason, I have decided to break some species of tarantulas into those for "Beginners" and those for "Intermediate / Advanced".

Tarantulas for Beginner Keepers

As a "beginner" Arachnologist, I would recommend you start your collection (because once you have one, you WILL want more) with species in that of two Genera; Brachypelma and Grammostola.

a) Brachypelma

Species in the genus Brachypelma are native to Mexico and neighbouring countries of Central America. Many of these species are protected under CITES due to habitat destruction and over collecting. Thankfully due to their docile nature and beautiful colouration, may of the species are bred readily in captivity and so therefore those in the wild can be left alone.

All species within the genus Brachypelma are slow growing BUT females can live up to 20 years in captivity. Females can lay anything from 100 - 600 eggs. Spiderlings will shed a few times a month and as the tarantula reaches maturity they will shed about once a year. Brachypelma reach sexual maturity at about 5 years of age.

As much as this genus is very docile and will hardly ever bite, they do all have urticating hairs that they will flick if bothered. Breathing in these hairs has been known to agitate the throat and cause discomfort. Because of their docile demeanour they do make for great pets in captivity.

Recommended Brachypelma species:

Mexican Flame Knee (Brachypelma auratum)
Mexican Red Knee (Brachypela smithi)
Mexican Fire Leg (Brachypelma boehmei)
Mexican Red Leg (Brachypelma emilia)
Mexican Golden Rump (Brachypela albiceps)
Red Rump (Brachypelma vagans)
Curly Hair (Brachypelma albopilosum)


b) Grammostola

Species in the genus Grammostola are native to Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Many of these species can be found in the pet trade. The Chilean Rose is probably, along with the Mexican Red Knee, one of the most common tarantulas found in the hobby today.

All species within the genus Grammostola are relatively quick growers and females can live up to 20 years in captivity. Females can lay anything from 100 - 600 eggs. Spiderlings will shed a few times a month and as the tarantula reaches maturity they will shed about once a year. Grammostola reach sexual maturity at about 5 years of age.

As much as this genus is very docile and will hardly ever bite, they do all have urticating hairs that they will flick if bothered. Breathing in these hairs has been known to agitate the throat and cause discomfort. Because of their docile demeanour they do make for great pets in captivity with one caution: some species are known to go for long periods of time without eating. If you experience this, don't worry, it is normal.


Recommended G
rammostola species:

Chilean Rose (Grammostola rosea)
Chaco Golden Knee (Grammostola pulchripes)
Brazilian Black Tarantula (Grammostola pulchra)

Tarantulas for Intermediate / Advanced Keepers

Costa Rican Zebra (Aphonopelma seemani)
Mexican Blonde (Aphonopelma chalcodes)
Brazilian Salmon Pink (Lasiodora parahybana)
Greenbottle Blue (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens)
White Knee (Acanthoscurria geniculata)
Antilles Pinktoe (Avicularia Versicolor)
Pinktoe (Avicularia avicularia)