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How to Care for Your Chilean Rose Tarantula

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Sunshine is a wife, a mother of four, a relationship expert, a journalist, a photographer, a public speaker, and an author.

An adult Chilean rose hair tarantula.

An adult Chilean rose hair tarantula.

Tarantula: Fad or Here to Stay?

One of the newest fads in pet ownership is giant fuzzy arachnids. These spiders are gaining popularity because they are an exotic novelty. They are unique, easy to care for, and really neat to watch. Plus, the neighbors won't complain about their barking. There are many sizes and breeds in the pet stores to choose from, but if you decide to make one part of your family, do your research.

Choosing a Tarantula

There are more than 800 species of tarantula, and they are native to almost every climate. Tarantulas are broken into two groups: "old world" and "new world" tarantulas. Most of the old world species, or tarantulas from the Eastern Hemisphere, are too aggressive to handle, and they should only be used for display. Ground-dwelling burrowing spiders are generally slower and more easily handled.

Chilean rose hair tarantulas are from Chile and live in the desert. They aren't aggressive or prone to biting, nor are they fast-moving unless frightened. They can adapt to many environments, so they're easy to care for. Do your research. Learn everything you can about different spiders, including lifespan (females can live longer than 15 years), what they eat, how often they molt, and what kind of habitat they need. A spider molts, or sheds its exoskeleton, as it grows. Knowing how large your spider is supposed to get, and how often it's supposed to molt, will be a good gauge for you to know if your spider is growing at a healthy pace. It's very important that you know how to care for your tarantula before you bring one home.

A variety of tarantula habitats.

A variety of tarantula habitats.

Habitat

Habitat is very important for your new pet. The Chilean rose doesn't require very much space.

Size

Space may seem important and natural, but a 5-10 gallon tank is perfect. The shape of your enclosure is important, and it must have a lid that your spider can't escape out of. Be sure that the width is at least three times the leg span of your spider. Also, be sure your tank isn't too tall. Twice the leg span is sufficient, because they climb the glass, and you don't want them to fall too far because they don't have a strong exoskeleton.

Bedding and Shelter

Use two inches of peat moss, orchid bark, sandy sanitary soil, or vermiculite bedding, and provide a shelter for privacy. A hollow log or fish tank decoration works well.

Temperature and Humidity

The temperature of the tank needs to remain between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit with 60-70% humidity. A small heat rock can be placed in the tank, as long as you check it regularly for hot spots. Provide a shallow water dish with some pebbles in it to prevent drowning. The heat source and the water dish will keep your tank humid. You can also spray a fine mist of water to keep the humidity up.

Handling

Take special care when handling your pet. They aren't deadly, but they are venomous. There is no record of human death due to tarantula bites. People with tarantula bites usually react the same way they would to a bee sting. Although not aggressive and docile, the Chilean rose can be speedy if it's afraid. Most owners never get bitten.

Bites

Your spider will give you a warning before it bites by rearing up on its back legs and even making a hissing sound. Sit down while handling your spider. Don't rub your eyes with your hands until your spider is put away and your hands are washed.

Urticating Hairs

On the spider's abdomen are little hairs that can cause skin irritation. See a doctor immediately if one of them gets in your eyes. The hairs can be released just by handling them, and if they feel threatened, they will ‘throw' them at you with their back legs.

Common Handling Issues

Don't hold the spider high above surfaces, because if they fall, their abdomen will surely split, which is almost always fatal. Your spider's skeleton is on the outside. If the abdomen breaks, its insides will spill out, killing the spider. Very few are saved when this happens. Another common problem results from people freaking out, either because of being bitten or the spider releasing some itchy hairs. They fling the spider into the wall, killing it. If you plan to handle your spider, you must be very calm, very careful, and very aware of what can happen.

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Feeding

Tarantulas eat insects such as crickets, mealworms, or roaches. Also, pinky mice and other spiders can be occasionally thrown in. You can purchase crickets and pinky mice at the pet store. Feed your tarantula weekly. They stop hunting when they aren't hungry, so don't overdo it, because you don't want the crickets to start attacking your spider. Most people get 10 at a time. Remove any uneaten prey after it has been in the enclosure for 24 hours.

Enjoy Your New Tarantula

If you get a tarantula and provide it with the right habitat and food, you will have years of enjoyment watching your spider explore, eat, molt, and grow. Contrary to popular belief, they do have personalities, and all of them are a little bit different. They may be scary to some, but to others, they are fulfilling companions.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Comments

Bra on March 26, 2015:

i have a rose hair also. her name is Hayes but every time i hold her she moves a lot do that mean she's scared ? or she just likes to walk around ? my brother told me thats when she gets aggressive so i just sit her back in her cage and don't bother her for a while

semo1895 on January 09, 2015:

radgirl.. sooo I've had my rose hair for about 4 years and she's molted once. for about the last year she hasn't eaten. like before I'd put crickets in her cage and if they got near her she would pounce. now she either ignored them or goes away from them. also she's kind of curled up.. kind of looks shriveled. I sprayed water in her cage (not on her directly) and she spread her legs out and started walking around. then she curled back up and went by her water dish. I'm not sure what is going on.. the whole not eating thing is really worrying me because she used to eat all the time

Heather on October 26, 2014:

rad girl, Sooo glad I found you here. I have a rosy. She hasn't eaten in at least two months. I've been watching her for changes. A couple of days ago I noticed that she has little crystal type things on her. Like a grain of salt. (Just a few) and today I saw on her back. (The flat shiny pink thorax) that it now has a small hole and the line down the middle is more prominent then before. Is the a sign that she is getting ready to molt? Or is she sick? I've had her since Valentine's Day. This would be her first molt since I've had her, if that's what's about to happen. I sure hope so.

radgirl (author) from Somewhere in outer space on February 18, 2013:

Hi Nate. Can you give me a current update?

Nate on November 23, 2012:

Hey, me again, she's not rubbing her fangs together anymore but I noticed she pushed a lot of the dirt inside her hut near the entrance where she put down some web. Is she just burrowing or is this more serious like laying eggs or dying?

Nate on November 22, 2012:

Hi, I got a rose hair not too long ago and it seems to have been acting normal but right now she's made a web around her hut and is kind rubbing her fangs together. . . Is that normal?

radgirl (author) from Somewhere in outer space on November 05, 2012:

I would love that! I love hearing people who take in a pink toe. They are aggressive, not really friendly, have a shorter life span, but are beautiful to watch. Definitely keep me updated!

radgirl (author) from Somewhere in outer space on November 05, 2012:

My, it has been some time since this comment was posted. I am sure all is well, but let me know if it was not.

radgirl (author) from Somewhere in outer space on November 05, 2012:

Great!!

martinnitsim on July 23, 2012:

hello trevor if you are still in need of them i think this is there site

and details, there there most competitive in the game ,say mart put you on

Hi Radgirl on June 18, 2012:

Just an update on my Spiders. Kyle aged 10 months the chilean shed a week ago and has produced a new leg after the trauma of having to help him molt 2 months ago when one of the legs became stuck. Linda my Red Knee has shed for the 6th time in 12 months and is aged approx 14 months, she is slightly aggressive but I respect that. Well she has decided that she wants to climb out of her enclosure when I lift the lid off. So she now comes out every night for 1 hours walk about. ( you have to be a T lover for anyone to appreciate this spectacle) But last Sunday (Fathers Day) My Wife and Daughter bought me a 4 month old Pink Toe -Avicularia. I think its a boy but not 100% certain he is stunningly fascinating and he is in a arboreal enclosure. To think all this started from a Chilean Rose named Kylie, who is no longer with me. If you dont mind I will keep you posted on 'Avi's progress.

Heather on June 04, 2012:

I have a question I have a rose hair not sure the age we found it but he is molting and went though the web and now the web is over part of him is this ok I dont know what to do.