Animal Care

Rose Hair Tarantula
(Grammostola rosea)

Habitat: Terrestrial scrubland    Diet: Carnivorous    Adult Size: 3-5 inches    Lifespan: 5 years for males, three times longer for females    Native To: South America

Did You Know:

  • If a Rose Hair Tarantula loses a leg, it will grow a new one over a period of time as it molts.

  • A female will produce up to 500 or more in a single large egg sac.

  • When angry or threatened, Rose Hair Tarantulas will flick their abdominal hairs. These hairs can cause painful irritations to an intruder’s skin and eyes.

The material below is a general guideline, and is not intended to serve as your sole source of pet care information. Visit a veterinarian trained in caring for reptiles and consult a broad range of literature to ensure that your pet receives adequate care.
 

What You Should Know About Rose Hair Tarantulas

The Basics:

Also known as the Chilean Rose Tarantula, since this is where most specimens have been found, this attractive animal is one of the most popular terrarium pets. It is relatively large, with a leg span reaching up to five inches and colorful; its dark
body covered with fine pink or reddish-orange hairs. A hardy animal, it does well in captivity, provided it receives proper care. Although they’re considered docile by Tarantula standards, they should be handled carefully and only when necessary, since they can bite and flick their hairs. Like all Tarantulas, they are aggressive toward one another, and so should never be housed together. Most specimens sold through the retail pet trade are captive bred. A nocturnal hunter, the Rose Hair Tarantula can be found in scrublands in its natural environment.

Enclosure:
They Do Fine In Relatively Small Spaces
:

Rose Hair Tarantulas are relatively docile and inactive, so they will do quite well in a 10-gallon tank. It is important to house
only one specimen in each tank, since they are aggressive toward one another. These spiders do not need a lot of height in their enclosures, so their tanks should be horizontally oriented. A hollow log or cork bark should be placed in the enclosure to provide a hiding area. Artificial vines or plants can be provided for climbing, and an added sense of security.

Substrate:
Burrowing Opportunities Are Important To Them
:

Roughly two inches of substrate should cover the floor of the Rose Hair Tarantula’s enclosure to provide an opportunity for them to retreat to a shallow burrow. Sterilized potting soil, sphagnum moss, orchid bark, coconut fiber and commercial reptile bark make good substrate choices. The substrate should be kept slightly moist (use chlorine-free water to moisten) to assist in maintaining humidity levels, but water should not be allowed to collect on its surface, since this can harm the Tarantula’s legs. Pine, cedar and other aromatic woods should never be used as substrates. Inspect the substrate daily, and change it regularly to prevent the build up of bacteria.

Temperature:
They Like It Warm But Not To Hot
:

A consistent temperature between 75 and 83 degrees Fahrenheit works well for Rose Hair Tarantulas, but they can tolerate lower temperatures. In many cases, this can be maintained by controlling ambient room temperature. If necessary an under tank heat pad, positioned below one end of the tank can be used. However, care must be taken not to overheat or “dry out” the enclosure. The under tank pad should be controlled by a thermostat or rheostat. Always follow
manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using heat-producing products. Since maintaining the proper temperature is so critical to the health of the Rose Hair Tarantula,
it should never be guessed. A thermometer should be placed about two inches over the surface in the middle of the tank. Important - see the Note About Day/Night Light Cycles and Heating below.

Lighting:
They Should Not Be Overexposed To Light
:

Rose Hair Tarantulas need a regular photoperiod of about 8 hours of light daily. It is important to avoid exposing them to
more prolonged periods of light, or light that is too bright (their enclosures should never be put in direct sunlight.) Artificial light should be controlled through a timer. For nighttime viewing use a low wattage red lamp. Important - see the Note About Day/Night Light Cycles and Heating below.

Note About Day/Night Light Cycles and Heating:

This pet must have distinct day and night periods in their enclosure to maintain their biological rhythms. (See the lighting entry above for the specific length of this animal’s day/night cycle.) The day period must be light; and night must be dark. A timer should be used to set day/night periods. If a heat source is required to maintain correct nighttime temperatures, use heat mats or strips mounted below or on the side of the tank, infrared heat lamps, ceramic heat emitters, or a combination of these products. This will allow the enclosure to be heated while remaining dark. Follow directions carefully with all products. If ceramic heat emitters are used, always choose fixtures with porcelain or ceramic sockets and to protect against fires do not place them by dry wood or flammable fabrics. Ceramic heat emitters must be kept out of the reach of children and all pets, including dogs and cats.

Diet:
They Eat Crickets
:

The mainstay of a Rose Hair Tarantula’s diet should be gut loaded crickets. Young spiderlings should be given pinhead crickets. Grasshoppers and locusts are also good choices. Live insects should be offered to the Tarantula two times a week. Adults and juveniles should be offered 3-6 appropriately sized crickets per meal.

A Note About Gut Loading Feeding crickets a nutritious diet will pass on vital nutrients to your reptile. When reptiles eat these insects they are able to absorb the nutrients. This is why it is important to gut load crickets at least 48 hours before offering them to a reptile. Commercial cricket foods provide a convenient way to gut load crickets. (Always follow manufacturer’s directions.) Crickets should also be provided with water, preferably in the form of oranges or a commercial water gel product designed specifically to hydrate feeder insects. Putting a shallow dish of water in the cricket holding tank will result in insects drowning and promote the spread of bacteria.

You can also create your own gut-loading formula. Our vet recommends a mix of ground up dog food, cereal and fresh greens with oranges or a commercial gel for water.

Water & Humidity:

A water bowl filled with cotton or filter wadding equal to the size of the Tarantula’s body must be provided for drinking. (Always use chlorine-free water.) The Tarantula will drink by climbing onto the filter and sipping water through the base of its fangs, which serve as its mouth. It is essential that humidity levels be maintained at 60-75%. When the humidity level falls into the low 50s, it poses a serious health risk to the Rose Hair Tarantula. Humidity levels can be maintained through misting and the use of a water bowl. Always be careful not to over humidify an enclosure. Water will not build up on the side of the enclosure or the surface of the substrate, when humidity levels are maintained properly. Use a hygrometer to measure humidity levels.


How to Handle A Rose Haired Tarantula:
Although peaceable next to many other Tarantulas, this spider can inflict painful, slightly venomous bites, in addition to releasing stinging abdomen hairs. For this reason, it is best to treat the Rose Hair Tarantula as a pet to observe, rather than handle. When it is necessary to handle this spider always wear gloves and protective eyewear, the latter to guard against flipped hairs irritating your eyes. When lifting, cup the Rose Hair Tarantula gently in your hands with its legs folded under its body.
 


Look Out For This:

Be careful not to drop a Rose Hair Tarantula. A fall of even a few inches can crack its protective exterior skeleton (exoskeleton).


Recommended Rose Hair Tarantula Supplies:

  • A 10-gallon enclosure with a secure top

  • Hiding places in the form of a log or cork bark

  • Artificial plants and vines

  • A suitable substrate

  • A light source

  • A red light for night viewing

  • A light timer

  • A under tank heat pad (if necessary)

  • A thermometer

  • A thermostat or rheostat

  • A hygrometer

  • A spray mister