Antilles Pink Toe Tarantula Care (Avicularia versicolor)

Many exotic pet enthusiasts are drawn to the Antilles pink toe tarantula for its striking coloration and fairly mild disposition. People enjoy purchasing these tarantulas as spiderlings and watching the animal molt, change color, and mature into a big, beautiful arachnid.

Below you’ll read our Antilles pink toe care sheet, based upon our experience with these strikingly beautiful tarantulas.

Antilles Pink Toe Tarantula Description

This brilliantly colored spider is found in Martinique, which is off the coast of South America. It makes its home in trees and is therefore also commonly called the Martinique Red Tree Spider.

antilles pink toe tarantula care
Pictured is a juvenile Antilles pink toe tarantula. Notice it steely blue coloration. Their care isn’t complex, although we do recommend doing your research.

As baby spiders, Antilles pink toes are a metallic, steely blue-black color, but once mature, they become remarkably more colorful. Adults have a metallic greenish blue carapace while their abdomens are covered in red hairs. Their long legs are coated in a combination of red, brown, and pink hairs.

Antilles pink toes are considered to be medium-sized spiders. Adults will grow to have leg spans of four and a half to six inches. Males will be thinner than females with a more spindly-like appearance, while the females will tend to be a bit meatier and heftier of body.

The disposition of these colorful spiders is relatively even-tempered. They are not particularly aggressive, although they can and do bite from time to time. Overall, they prefer to be left alone as they can be quite skittish. In fact, Antilles pink toes are very fast and can jump quite far. This means that if you do handle your spider, you’ll want to stay near to a flat surface and make sure that the spider doesn’t have very far to fall if it should decide to jump out of your hands.

Antilles Pink Toe Tarantula Housing

Because they are an arboreal species, Antilles pink toes should be kept in an enclosure that is vertically oriented. Be sure to provide hide spaces and objects to climb on. Plants, wooden decorations, and other stable, vertically-oriented pieces are best.

The cage or enclosure needs to be kept at a relatively high humidity level, but also needs to be well ventilated to prevent stagnation. Generally, enclosures with one or two mesh screens or vents meet this requirement. Ideally, humidity levels should be kept at 75 to 85%, while the temperature range should be 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

antilles pink toe tarantula
Spiderlings can be housed in an enclosure as small as a shoebox stood up vertically.

Although they live in colonies in the wild, in captivity, Antilles pink toe tarantulas should be housed separately with the exception of mating pairs.

Antilles Pink Toe Tarantula Feeding Habits

These tarantulas are aggressive feeders and usually don’t reject food. It is acceptable to feed your Antilles pink toe nearly any type of feeder invertebrate – roaches, crickets, mealworms, wax worms, and horn worms are all great fare for this spider.

Interestingly enough, in the wild, Antilles pink toes are known to consume anole lizards and other small vertebrates, but in captivity, it’s best to stick to various insects.

Antilles Pink Toe Tarantula Molting

If you’ve never kept a pet tarantula before, you need to know that spiders molt and shed their old exoskeletons on a regular basis.

Prior to the actual molt occurring, tarantulas generally start to behave differently, and this is also true for the Antilles pink toe. Don’t be surprised if your spider becomes lethargic and even refuses food. The spider might also do a lot of extensive web spinning.

Eventually, you’ll notice that your tarantula has flipped over onto its back. It will appear to be dead, but don’t be misled. This is a completely normal behavior for molting spiders. Just be sure to not disturb your spider when it is in this state.

adult antilles pink toe tarantula
When your Antilles pink toe has undergone enough molts, it will be bold red and blue/green in color like the one pictured.

Once your tarantula has righted itself, it will be vulnerable until its new exoskeleton hardens. Be sure not to feed it until a fair amount of time has passed. Feeder insects can actually hurt the spider if you feed it before the hardening process has completed.

If you want more information on this process, we wrote an entire separate article on what to do when your pet tarantula molts.

Conclusion

Antilles pink toe tarantulas are best looked at and kept as pets for display purposes. They are not considered aggressive, but are very fast and can jump far. This means they are not ideal for being handled or coddled.

If you are ready to commit to a colorful spider that you can show off to your friends and family, Backwater Reptiles has Antilles pink toe tarantulas for sale.

Best Pet Tarantulas

Welcome to our list of the best pet tarantulas in the world. Pet spiders are very polarizing – people either love the idea of keeping a large spider in their home or they hate it. At Backwater Reptiles, we take care of spiders destined to be people’s pets every day, so we understand the appeal of arachnids.

Our goal for this blog article is to describe and detail our picks for the top four best pet tarantulas. Read on to find out which species we chose.

Mexican Red Knee Tarantula (Brachypelma smithi)

Red Knees are one of the most commonly kept pet tarantulas. They are readily available in chain pet stores and most people probably think of this species when they imagine what a tarantula looks like.

As you’ve probably surmised, Mexican red knee tarantulas are dark brown or black with distinctive red knee patches on the joints of their limbs. They grow to have a leg span of approximately seven inches. Males will live for around three to six years old, while females can live for around twenty five years.

best pet tarantulas
Although we don’t necessarily recommend putting any tarantula with urticating hairs on your face, red knees are so docile that most owners feel comfortable enough to take the risk. Here’s one of our employees (Amanda) with her favorite Red knee.

Known for their reasonable temperaments, red knees usually don’t mind being handled. Although there is always some danger of being bit or getting urticating hairs in your skin, you don’t usually need to worry about this behavior with red knees. For the most part, although they can be skittish at first, red knees would rather hide from you than attack you.

We highly recommend a docile Mexican red knee tarantula if you are interested in acquiring a pet tarantula.

Rose Hair Tarantula (Grammostola rosea)

Rose hair tarantulas get their common name from the color of the hairs on their bodies. Some are more brightly colored than others with semi-metallic pink hairs, while others just have more of a dull pink tinge to them.

The rose hair is another species of tarantula that is known for its docile disposition. Many rose hair owners play with and handle their spiders on a regular basis without fear of being bitten or getting irritating hairs embedded in their skin.

rose hair tarantula
This particular rose hair tarantula only has hints of pink or rose to its coloration. The amount of pink to the spider’s hairs varies from animal to animal.

If you purchase a spiderling rose hair, it will take approximately three to four years for it to reach maturity. A spiderling that starts off life around the size of a pencil eraser will eventually grow up to have a leg span between four to five inches.

Purchase your own pet rose hair tarantula from Backwater Reptiles.

Brazilian Black Tarantula (Grammastola pulchra)

Many people label the Brazilian black tarantula as the “ideal” pet spider. This is because they are a bold, jet black color with highly docile attitudes. They have simple care requirements and healthy appetites. They actually make great pet tarantulas for beginners and we’d even recommend them as a classroom pet.

Brazilian Blacks are terrestrial spiders, so although they don’t require a massive amount of space, we do highly recommend that your spider live in an enclosure that is wide and not super tall.

brazilian black tarantula spiderling
Pictured is a baby Brazilian black tarantula. They start out small, but they grow quite large.

Interestingly enough, we do recommend keeping a water dish in the Brazilian Black’s enclosure. Even though you might never see your spider drink water, both spiderlings and adults need humidity, and a water dish helps to maintain that.

Ready for a classroom pet? Or just want a friendly pet spider? Backwater Reptiles has healthy pet Brazilian Black tarantulas for sale.

Golden Blue Leg Baboon Tarantula (Harpactira pulchripes)

We’ve included the rare golden blue leg baboon tarantula on our list because it is almost a “collector’s” spider. Because it is so hard to find in the U.S., it becomes a highly sought after spider for arachnid enthusiasts. Keep in mind that because it is so sought after, it does come with a fairly steep price point.

Although it begins life as a relatively unremarkable spiderling with a tinge of blue to it, the golden blue leg baboon tarantula matures into a beautiful, large spider with metallic blue legs.

golden blue leg baboon spiderling
This spiderling is a very rare. When this little spider matures, it will have brilliant blue legs.

Like all the spiders on this list, the golden blue leg baboon will happily eat crickets and other appropriately sized invertebrates. Spiderlings can eat a small cricket every day, whereas adults are perfectly happy eating once or twice a week.

If you’re a spider enthusiast, Backwater Reptiles does sell rare golden blue leg baboon  tarantulas.

Conclusion – The Best Pet Tarantulas

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our guide to the best pet tarantulas in the world. Indeed, tarantulas aren’t for everyone. But, if you’re not an arachnophobe, then we would recommend any of the spiders on this list as a pet. Most are pretty friendly and all of them are very easy to care for in captivity.

 

Gooty Sapphire Tarantula Care Sheet (Poecilotheria metallica)

We wrote the below Gooty Sapphire tarantula care sheet to help arachnid hobbyists understand more about this visually stunning spider, which also commonly goes by its scientific name: Poecilotheria metallica.

Even people who don’t “get” why anyone would want to keep a tarantula as a pet have to admit that the Gooty is a really beautiful spider. Although it begins life as a fairly ordinary brown color, after a series of molts, it will transform into a vivid, metallic blue color with accents of yellow or white in fractal patterns on its abdomen. The end result is a highly sought after species of spider that any hobbyist would be proud to own.

gooty sapphire tarantula care sheet
This is a Gooty Sapphire Tarantula spiderling. They start out a dull brown color but will mature into a bold blue. Read our care sheet to learn how to raise them to stunningly beautiful adults.

Not only is this tarantula lightning fast as both a baby, juvenile, and adult spider, but it’s also armed with a potent venom–more potent than New World tarantulas. Bite victims will experience increased heart rate followed by sweating, head ache, stinging, cramping, and of course, pain and swelling at the site of the bite.

Symptoms can persist for a week! Ultimately, what this means is that you should not handle your Gooty without protection, if ever. When kept as pets, these tarantulas are definitely made to be seen and not touched.

Although the Gooty Sapphires sold by Backwater Reptiles are captive bred spiders, this species is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. This puts an extra degree of responsibility upon anyone who wants to own one as a pet.

Gooties are not common spiders, and therefore not common pets, so we highly recommend doing your research and being positive you can handle such a rare spider before you purchase.

As far as care is concerned, Gooty Sapphire Tarantulas are arboreal spiders, so their habitat needs to replicate a tree-dwelling spider’s habitat. Small spiderlings don’t require much room to thrive, but they do need items to crawl on and hide inside of.

We recommend our arboreal tarantula terrarium kit for the sake of convenience and visibility, although you can just as easily house a spiderling in a plastic shoe box with a very secure lid. Again, just make sure to provide a few hiding places.

gooty sapphire tarantula terrarium
This is our arboreal tarantula terrarium. It’s perfect for arboreal spiderlings.

Adult Gooties will require a bit more room than a spiderling, obviously. Due to their arboreal nature, we recommend an enclosure that has a bit of height to accommodate a tree branch or two for your spider to climb on.

No matter the age of your Gooty, it might be sensitive to light, so we recommend storing your spider’s home somewhere fairly dark and out of reach of direct sunlight.

Room temperature is generally acceptable for a Gooty, but make sure that it stays within the range of high 70s during the day and low 70s during the evening. If your home does not naturally stay at this temperature, invest in a heat pad and thermometer.

Poecilotheria metallica
Once your Gooty has gone through several molts, it will become a stunning blue color with white or yellow fractal shape markings.

Peat moss and coconut fibers are the recommended substrates. Both will retain moisture but not become overly soaked. We don’t recommend misting your Gooty’s enclosure, but rather moistening the substrate once per month. Keeping a water dish in the enclosure will also help keep the moisture level at an acceptable range, even if your Gooty doesn’t actually drink the water.

Feeding your Gooty Sapphire is relatively simple. Spiderlings will eat pinhead crickets and fruit flies, while adults will happily consume crickets, wax worms, reptiworms, and even roaches. Due to their photosensitivity, it’s usually best to feed your Gooty around dusk.

We’ve heard success stories that involved simply dropping an insect or two in the cage at night before bed.  The spider will eat it during the night. But always make sure the insect is no larger than the tarantula’s abdomen.

If you purchase a spiderling, you can expect for it to take approximately a year for your spider to undergo enough molts to finally start sporting the blue color these spiders are named and known for. Don’t be surprised if your Gooty refuses food prior to molting either as this is very common.

gooty sapphire spiderling
Gooty Sapphire spiderlings are about an inch to an inch and a half long.

Conclusion

Gooty Sapphire Tarantulas just might be the spider to cure your arachnophobia. They’re strikingly colorful tarantulas and can make extremely rewarding pets.

If you’ve done your research and are prepared keep your own Gooty Sapphire tarantula, Backwater Reptiles has some captive bred spiderlings for sale.

 

Exportation Ban on Rose Hair Tarantulas

Did you know the country of Chile has recently banned the exportation of the Rose Hair tarantula? The beloved Rose Hair Tarantulas (Grammostola rosea) are known by several names – the Chilean Rose Tarantula, the Chilean Fire Tarantula, and even the Chilean Red-Haired Tarantula (specific color morphs only).

These tarantulas are very common pet spiders due to their docile nature and pink-colored hairs, however, due to the recent ban on importing these spiders from their native country of Chile, this could change.

rose hair tarantula ban
Coaxing our Rose Hair out of his temporary container for a photo shoot. This species (Grammastola rosea) was recently banned from exportation by Chile.

Chilean rose hairs were always inexpensive to import in the past, so many hobbyists would rather import new spiders than breed existing populations in the States. Now that the ban has taken effect, these spiders will more than likely virtually disappear from the exotic pet market until (or if) the ban is lifted.

Rose hairs are great pet spiders, especially for anyone new to the exotic pet world because they are so easy to care for. In addition to having very laid-back, calm, and overall agreeable personalities (for a spider anyways!), Rose hairs don’t require much in the way of maintenance. It’s recommended that single spiders be housed in a tank approximately three times as long as their leg span with an appropriate substrate and hide space. As far as feeding goes, crickets, mealworms, wax worms, and other insects make up most of their diet. Full-grown spiders with around four to five inch leg spans can also occasionally eat pinkie mice.

tarantula
Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula eating a wax worm.

Rose hair tarantulas can be handled, although it’s another matter as to whether or not they should. These spiders are venomous, although only slightly so. However, most people have no idea if they will have an allergic reaction or not, so just be aware when handling these spiders that there is always the chance the spider could bite, even if they are known for their reasonable temperaments.

So what will happen when all the Chilean Rose Hair Tarantulas that were imported before the ban took effect have been sold? Likely, another similar spider species will grow in popularity and take the place of the Rose Hair.

Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula

Backwater Reptiles still has some Rose Hair Tarantulas for sale. We recommend purchasing yours before the inevitable supply/demand price hike occurs due to the ban.

The Best Small Tarantula Enclosures

Are you looking for a top quality small tarantula cage? Any time you bring home a new pet, it’s essential that you also bring home everything your new pet will need – food, cage/kennel, toys, etc. Even though spiders are very low maintenance pets, you’ll still want to make sure your new arachnid has everything it needs to thrive, which is basically a good enclosure with the proper substrate and hiding places.

Guess what? Backwater Reptiles is pleased to announce that we now offer premium starter tarantula kits for sale! These aesthetically pleasing clear cube enclosures come with substrate(s), cork bark climbing/hiding accessories, silk plant decor, and even a miniature water dish.

tarantula terrarium kit
Pictured is the arboreal tarantula kit and all of the included components.

Because tarantulas are either arboreal and live in trees or terrestrial and live on the ground, we have two separate types of kits to suit either type of spider’s needs.

tarantula kit comparison
A comparison of the terrestrial and arboreal tarantula kits side by side.

The terrestrial kit is not very tall and has an air vent on top of the cube. Because your terrestrial tarantula won’t be doing any climbing, it provides plenty of crawling floor space for an animal with a leg span of four inches or less. The decorative cork bark piece provides a convenient hiding spot and the substrate provided is suitable for a land-dwelling spider.

terrestrial tarantula kit
The terrestrial tarantula kit fully assembled.

Vertical space is important to tree-dwelling spiders, so the arboreal kit is a bit taller and the air vent is positioned on the side of the cube. The decorative cork bark and silk plant pieces are tall and give the spider something to climb on.

arboreal tarantula terrarium kit
Arboreal tarantula kit fully assembled.

Overall, the goal with these tarantula kits is to provide an attractive starter home for your pet spider. The kit includes everything you need to give your spider a healthy environment in which to grow.

Keep in mind that as your spider does grow and mature, it will eventually require a larger enclosure. These kits are intended to be homes for spiders with leg spans of under four inches.

terrestrial tarantula terrarium
Terrestrial tarantula kit components.

In addition to these handy little kits, Backwater Reptiles offers plenty of feeder food for your tarantula to chow down on, whether it will be eating crickets or other invertebrates. We also recommend reading more about the best pet tarantulas.

 

How Do Tarantulas Molt?

Are you wondering how tarantulas molt? Has your tarantula flipped over on its back and you don’t know what to do? Don’t panic – it’s a completely normal indicator that your spider is healthy and growing.

You see, in order to grow, tarantulas must shed their old exoskeletons and the beginning of the process leaves them upside down with their bellies exposed

After flipping onto its back, the tarantula will lie very still for some time. Eventually the arachnid will wriggle its way out of its old exoskeleton, which is a difficult process that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.

Tarantulas don’t have bones, so their exoskeleton is what supports them and protects their internal organs. One sign that your tarantula is getting ready to molt is you may see a bald spot developing on the top of its abdomen. This is almost always a precursor to a molt.

Tarantula preparing to molt
An upside down Brazilian Giant Salmon Tarantula preparing to molt.

Tarantula Molting Tips and Notes:

1) The spider will be vulnerable, so try not to move it, poke it, or prod it. Doing so can prove fatal for the molting tarantula.

2) Be patient with your arachnid. The molting process can be short (30 minutes) or longer (up to several hours).

3) Remove any feeder insects in the terrarium, especially crickets. The spider will be defenseless and crickets can be ruthless, believe it or not. They can kill a tarantula that’s in the process of molting.

4) Once the tarantula has crawled out of its old exoskeleton, its body will be soft and sensitive. It should be left alone for around three to four days to allow its new exoskeleton to harden. Avoid feeding your tarantula during this time frame as well.

5) If the tarantula was missing a leg, it will regenerate with the molt. The new limb might not be as hairy or large as the others, but it will look normal again with more molts. It’ll likely be a little thinner than the original.

Tarantula after molt
The same Brazilian Giant Salmon Tarantula after completing its molt.

After the molt, your tarantula will be at its most visually appealing–fresh, flawless, and vibrant. Just look at the picture above, of one of our Brazilian giants right after emerging from its exoskeleton–it’s just perfect.

If you’re quick, you can carefully remove the molted exoskeleton, which will look exactly like your tarantula (some people are confused as it can look like there are suddenly two tarantulas in the enclosure. You can then “pose” the molt and allow it to dry. It will then look just like your pet tarantula, and can make an excellent display piece.

We hope our article has been helpful in answering the question, “How do tarantulas molt?” Hopefully you understand the process and are now better prepared to care for your pet tarantula.

Backwater Reptiles has many tarantulas for sale, so you can buy a Giant Salmon tarantulas (like the one in the photos) directly from our website and have it delivered right to your residence. You can also read more about tarantula care to help prepare yourself.