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Chilean rose tarantula

Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Theraphosidae
Genus and Species: Grammostola rosea
  • large spider with a blackish body and long gray hair
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Chilean rose tarantulas are calm, docile spiders native to desert scrub habitats in South America. They have dark bodies with rose-hued hair. These active predators use their body size to subdue prey.
Physical Description

The overall color is brown to black with rose-hued hair on the hard-shell upper body. A tarantula's fangs fold under the body, meaning that it must strike downward to impale its prey. Tarantulas have four pairs of legs, or eight legs total. 

In addition, they have four other appendages near the mouth called chelicerae and pedipalps. The chelicerae contain fangs and venom, while the pedipalps are used as feelers and claws; both aid in feeding. The pedipalps are also used by the male as a part of reproduction.


 
Size

The Chilean rose tarantula is a medium-sized terrestrial tarantula, with females averaging a leg span of 5 inches (12-13 centimeters). Males average closer to 3.5 inches (9 centimeters) but have proportionally longer legs than females.

Native Habitat

The Chilean rose tarantula is native to Chile, Argentina and Bolivia in desert and scrub habitats.

Communication

These spiders can throw irritating hairs from their body in defense.

Food/Eating Habits

Chilean rose tarantulas are active predators, feeding on a variety of invertebrates as well as small vertebrates like mice, frogs and lizards. Tarantulas hunt at night and rely on their large size to subdue prey. 

Reproduction and Development

After their maturation molt, males develop a "finger" on the underside of the first set of front legs that is used to hook and lock the female's fangs and to steady themselves while they mate. After mating, males die within a few months.

The female must have recently molted in order to reproduce, or the acquired sperm will be lost during the molt. Once mated, the female makes a web in which she lays 50 to 200 eggs that become fertilized as they pass out of her body. The female then wraps the eggs into a ball and guards the egg sac.

In order to grow, Chilean rose tarantulas must go through several molts. Molting is the process by which the tarantula sheds its old exoskeleton and emerges in a new, larger one. Spiderlings can be expected to molt five or six times in their first year.

Sleep Habits

Chilean rose tarantulas prefer to hunt at night.

Lifespan

Females live up to 20 years in human care, significantly longer than males. Males pass away a few months after mating.

Help this Species
  • Choose your pets wisely, and do your research before bringing an animal home. Exotic animals don’t always make great pets. Many require special care and live for a long time. Tropical reptiles and small mammals are often traded internationally and may be victims of the illegal pet trade. Never release animals that have been kept as pets into the wild.
  • Share the story of this animal with others. Simply raising awareness about this species can contribute to its overall protection.
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