It's been a few years since I attended my first reptile expo, but I will never forget the experience. At that point, I only had one snake (a ball python), and I was curious to check the place out and possibly buy some frozen mice for Dahlia. It wasn't my plan to get any more pets. We already had 3 dogs, 4 cats, and a snake. I was good.
I started looking around and of course, I wanted to buy everything. At one point, I came across a booth with little plastic containers. They didn't seem to have anything in them, but being a curious person, I went to check them out. (They turned out to be tarantula hatchlings, otherwise known as "slings").
The lady at the booth greeted me with a friendly smile and offered to answer any of my questions. There were a million things floating around in my head, but the one that stuck out to me the most was, "Which one of these is best for beginners?" I was genuinely curious. There were so many colors and sizes to choose from, it was difficult to know where to start. To this day, I still remember what she told me, and I want to be able to pass that information on to you.
To make your life a little easier, I have compiled a list describing their temperament, lifespan, size, and origin.
Here are the top 5 tarantula breeds for beginners.
1. Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula
The Chilean rose tarantula, otherwise known as rose hair tarantulas or Chilean fire tarantulas, are native to South America in scrub habitats and deserts. They feed on worms, insects, small lizards, and even small mammals. The Chilean rose tarantula is a medium-to-large spider, averaging at around 3-4 inches once fully grown.
If you are looking for one, they are very common in pet stores and among hobbyists. Females can live up to 20 years in captivity and males usually pass away a few months after mating.
Chilean rose tarantulas are known for their submissive and calm demeanor but make sure to not handle them too often, or they will become fussy or aggressive. They can (and will) warn you of a potential bite by raising their front legs. If they feel threatened, they may also eject spine-like hairs from their abdomen which contain a mild venom. These are otherwise known as "urticating hairs." An irritating rash may occur as a result.
2. Brazilian Black Tarantula
The Brazilian black tarantula is known to be one of the best beginner options. While most tarantulas should not be held too often, the Brazilian black can tolerate being handled better than most. They do not scare or startle easily. Similar to most, if irritated, they will release their urticating hairs which can irritate human skin and/or eyes.
Originating from the grasslands of Uraguay and Brazil, they are also not picky at all when looking for a residence. They will choose anything from an abandoned den to a dark log.
The Brazilian black tarantula is medium-sized and can reach 6-8 inches in size. Females live an average of about 20 years while the males only live around 6-8 years.
3. Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula
The Mexican red-knee originates in Mexico inhabiting dry forests, tropical forests, and deserts. They are known for their brown base coat color and red-orange in the center of their legs which have an average span of 5 inches. Females will usually out live the males and live around 30 years. Males will only live about 10.
The Mexican red-knee species are one of the most docile tarantulas and don't require too much maintenance. They don't scare easily but can still bite. Although they are venomous, the venom itself is not fatal and only equivalent to that of a bee sting.
4. Pumpkin Patch Tarantula
The pumpkin patch tarantula, known for its black and orange and unique pattern, is a highly sought-after tarantula species. When searching for this spider, you will notice there are two forms.
One of those forms is "the klein" which is the smaller form. This form typically doesn't get larger than 2.5 inches. There is also "the groot" which is the larger of the two. These normally grow to be about 3-4 inches. Females live for about 8-10 years and males live only around 3-4 years.
The pumpkin patch tarantula originates from the mild climate zones of Colombia. The climate changes with elevation but generally stays warm and humid.
5. Antilles Pinktoe Tarantula
The Antilles pinktoe tarantula (otherwise known as the Martinique red tree spider) is known for it's beautiful metallic pink, blue, and green coloring. As juveniles, they are generally a metallic steel blue.
Originating in Martinique off the coast of South America, they can be found high up in their webs, in the trees at night in search of food. Quick and agile as they are, the Antilles pinktoe should not be handled too often because of their ability to leap and jump a large distance.
These medium-sized spiders average to about 5-6 inches as adults.Females live around 12-13 years and males live only up to 2-3 years. Like most tarantulas, they consume super worms, roaches and crickets. They are not as easy to find and purchase as pets. As a result, you will find yourself spending a bit more money.
Let me know which one of these you think you'd like the best in the poll below!
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.