Chilean rose tarantula
The Chilean rose tarantula (Grammostola rosea), also known as the Chilean flame tarantula, Chilean fire tarantula or the Chilean red-haired tarantula or the Chilean rose hair tarantula (depending on the colormorph), is probably the most common species of tarantula available in pet stores today, due to the large number of wild caught specimens exported cheaply from their native Chile into the US pet trade. G. rosea originates from the northern Atacama Desert region of Chile and live in the driest deserts on earth. G. rosea is a common pet of tarantula rearers. Females have been known to live as long as 15-20 years but due to the limited time they have been available on the market and hence for extensive study, there is a possibility that they may live considerably longer.
The rose tarantulas natural habitat is the desert and scrub regions of Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina. They do not burrow in their native habitat although they like to live in dry regions. They are usually active in the evening or night.
The diet of a tarantula is typically crickets, grass-hoppers, locusts, moths, mealworms, and flys. It is best to gut-load crickets by providing high-quality greens and vegetables before feeding them to the tarantula. Gut-loaded crickets are better hydrated and provide more nutritive value. Typically these pets should be fed once a day feeding with one or more of the insects stated above. Uneaten prey should be removed after one day or two because if you don't your tank may start to smell. Food must usually be fed live, as dead prey may be rejected or go unnoticed. During feeding, the opisthosoma may increase up to two times its original volume.
Chilean roses are relatively docile, low maintenance, and inexpensive, so they are popular as pets. Chilean Roses can be kept in a low-humidity terrarium at least twice the spiders' legspan in length, with a retreat for hiding. They are quite happy living at room temperatures of around 20-30C, with a diet of four to six crickets every three weeks (or one locust per week). The Chilean rose's feeding schedule is rather erratic, however; the spider can fast for weeks to months at a time. Fasting is sometimes an indication of an upcoming moult.
Chilean roses are usually skittish, running away from danger rather than acting defensively, but they may also raise their front legs and present their fangs in preparation to defend themselves. They can act especially defensive for days after moulting; this may be innate in the spiders behavior. As with the majority of tarantulas from the Americas (New World tarantulas), they have small spine-like urticating hairs on their abdomen that they kick off or release when threatened as a defense.
In February 2009 a British man was treated for tarantula hairs lodged in his cornea. The hairs were thrown from the man's pet Chilean Rose tarantula while the man was cleaning its tank. Medical authorities urge owners to wear protective eyewear when handling Chilean rose tarantulas.
This species actually has several color forms. They range from pink to red to brown and there are even some blue color forms.
Marshall, Samuel D. Tarantulas and Other Arachnids. Barrons, 2001. ISBN 07641146
Grammostola rosea at care-sheet.com (WikiPets)
Grammostola rosea photography Tarantula breeding, site of Czech Ondrej Rehak
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Chilean rose tarantula