Chilean rose tarantulas are a popular pet tarantula species to keep. These spiders have bodies that range from black to brown with hairs in red and orange hues. They generally have a docile demeanor, aren’t typically prone to biting, and move rather slowly. This makes them ideal for first-time tarantula keepers. They’re also relatively easy to care for, requiring regular feedings and housing that mimics their natural environment.
Common Names: Chilean rose tarantula, rose hair tarantula, Chilean fire tarantula
Scientific Name: Grammostola rosea
Adult Size: Leg span of 4.5 to 5.5 inches
Lifespan: Up to 20 years (females), 2 to 5 years (males)
Chilean Rose Tarantula Behavior and Temperament
Chilean rose tarantulas are generally quiet and calm animals. Many can be comfortable with gentle handling, and they don’t often bite. However, like other tarantulas, their bite is venomous. Plus, they possess what are called urticating hairs that they can flick off their abdomens toward perceived threats. These hairs can cause skin irritation and be very damaging if they get in your eyes. So this is why it’s important to wash your hands immediately after coming in contact with your tarantula or anything in its environment.
Moreover, these spiders are solitary animals that don’t need any companions in their tanks. And they should be kept away from other household pets, as well as people who don’t understand how to safely handle them, to avoid stress and injury.
In spite of their defense mechanisms, these animals still are fairly easy to care for. They’re a good choice if you want a pet that doesn’t require a lot of space or attention. Plan to spend a few hours per week on feedings and habitat maintenance, and then just enjoy watching this interesting animal.
The venom in tarantula bites generally will cause a reaction similar to a bee sting in most people. However, some people might be allergic to the venom and have more serious reactions that require prompt medical attention.
Chilean rose tarantulas have a leg span that stretches around 5 inches. Their bodies are about 3 inches long, with the females being slightly bigger than the males.
Chilean rose tarantulas don't need a lot of space. A 5- to 10-gallon tank or terrarium is usually suitable. As a general rule, the width of the enclosure should be roughly two to three times the spider's leg span, the length should be three times its leg span, and the height should be about a foot. The lid should be secure and have ventilation. A side opening is ideal, as it will allow you to access the enclosure even if your spider is hanging upside down from the top.
Your spider's environment should include a hiding space made from a hollow log, a piece of clean driftwood, or a comparable accessory found in pet stores. Cork bark or half of a small clay flower pot can also be used for a shelter. Artificial plants (or live ones) can provide good additional coverage and a more natural feel to the environment.
Being desert dwellers, Chilean rose tarantulas are hardy and not very sensitive to heat fluctuations; warm desert days and cold desert nights are the norms in their wild habitat. Usually, any temperature that makes you comfortable will also suit your tarantula. Additionally, Chilean rose tarantulas don't need high humidity; a level around 65% is suitable.
Specific Substrate Needs
The substrate that lines your spider's tank will allow it to burrow and will lessen the harshness of the smooth glass or plastic floor. Add 2 to 3 inches of peat moss, chemical-free soil, vermiculite, or shredded coconut husk. Change the substrate every four to six months.
What Do Chilean Rose Tarantulas Eat & Drink?
As their primary food source, Chilean rose tarantulas favor live crickets and other insects that are smaller than the spider's abdomen. Crickets should be gut-loaded (fed nutritious foods), so that nutrition is passed on to the spider. Some owners also feed the occasional pinkie mouse to adult tarantulas.
In general, adult tarantulas usually eat only once or twice a week, whereas immature spiders can be fed more often. Consult your vet for the proper quantity and timing for feedings, as this can vary based on the individual spider. To feed, simply drop the live prey in near your spider. It's best to do this in the evening, as this is often when the tarantulas naturally are awake and ready to hunt. Remove unwanted food after 24 hours, or the live prey can begin to stress your spider.
Furthermore, always keep a shallow dish of fresh water in your spider's enclosure, and refresh it daily. Make sure the spider can easily get in and out of the dish.
Common Health Problems
As long as they are kept in the proper environment, Chilean rose tarantulas are typically hardy animals with minimal health problems. What some beginner owners often mistake as a health problem is actually the spider's natural molting process.
All tarantulas go through periods of molting—shedding their old exoskeleton and replacing it with a new one. This is often a stressful time. Your spider might lose its appetite and remain very still. Some even lie on their back with their legs curled, appearing as though they're dead. Don't feed live prey during this time, as it can damage the fragile new exoskeleton. Likewise, avoid handling your spider for a few weeks until the new exoskeleton has hardened. If the molt seems abnormal or is taking a long time, contact a veterinarian.
Like all animals, Chilean rose tarantulas need physical activity to keep them fit and in good body condition. But they don't need an excessive amount of exercise. As long as you provide a sufficiently sized enclosure, they should get the movement they need.
Tarantulas essentially groom themselves via their natural molting process, and they typically don't require help from you. Just make sure their tank remains at the proper temperature and humidity during this time, and don't disturb them with handling.
Your Chilean rose tarantula's diet will be your primary upkeep cost. Expect to spend around $5 to $10 per month on average. You can even cut your costs by raising crickets yourself rather than purchasing them from a pet shop. Then, periodic substrate changes and replacing other worn items in the tank can average around $10 to $20. Also, don't forget to budget for veterinary care and emergencies.
Pros & Cons of Keeping a Chilean Rose Tarantula as a Pet
Chilean rose tarantulas make for excellent pets if you're just getting into keeping spiders. They're generally docile and don't tend to bite. And they are fairly low-maintenance and quiet pets. However, if you're hoping for an active pet that provides lots of excitement, this probably isn't the right animal for you. And even though they are typically good-natured, these spiders still possess potentially harmful defense mechanisms.
Similar Spiders to the Chilean Rose Tarantula
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Purchasing or Adopting Your Chilean Rose Tarantula
Thanks to the popularity of this species, many pet stores do carry Chilean rose tarantulas. However, you're often better off going to a reputable breeder or rescue organization. These reputable sellers should be able to give you better information on the animal's history and health. Expect to pay between $20 and $60 on average, though this can vary based on factors such as the animal's age. Also, females typically cost more because they live longer.
Check with local exotic animal veterinarians for information on quality sellers. The main benefit of going to a breeder is you'll likely have a larger selection of young animals. When choosing your tarantula, look for one that appears to be in good body condition and is alert. Ask to see it eat if possible, as appetite is often correlated with health. Finally, to avoid accidentally becoming a breeder yourself, keep multiple spiders housed individually.
Does a Chilean rose tarantula make a good pet for kids?
These tarantulas can be good pets for children who understand their handling limitations and are comfortable with feeding live prey.
Are Chilean rose tarantulas hard to take care of?
Chilean rose tarantulas are relatively low-maintenance pets that require regular feedings and periodic tank cleanings.
Do Chilean rose tarantulas like to be held?
Some Chilean rose tarantulas are comfortable with gentle handling; however, they will never be truly tame pets.
Tarantulas: Terrible or Terrific! Cornell University
Tarantula Spider Bite Information. Mount Sinai Health System.
When Your Pet Has Eight Legs. University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine