A T you say ? It’s how spider keepers like to talk about their tarantulas. To be honest, it’s much less agressive to the ear, since if you don’t know yet what’ they are talking about, you can’t be scared.
We all know at least one person who’s afraid of spiders, and if it’s common to make fun of them when the spider is tiny, it’s already less of a joke when we talk about tarantulas.
The one right above isn’t a Brachypelma hamorii, and this picture was taken by Meghan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
But if you wish, I’ll explain to you how to keep one.
The Brachypelma hamorii is the most popular member of the Theraphosidae family. This tarantula is usually calm, docile and is only very rarely aggressive. However, it will kick urticating hairs from its abdomen and its back legs if disturbed, rather than bite.
You might know this spider under another name: Brachypelma smithi.
To what I understood:
-What is now known as Brachypelma smithi was previously known as Brachypelma annitha.
-What was previously known as Brachypelma smithi was a misidentified Brachypelma hamorii.
In fact, for many years this species was wrongly identified. At first, it was known as Brachypelma hamorii, but when they found an immature male, they mistakenly named it smithi, when it was just the same spider. This mistake led to many years of wrong scientific identification. On their defense, this happens a lot with arthropods.
If it ever happened to bite you, don’t worry: on a scale of dangerousness, its venom would be 1/5. Nevertheless, the bite can lead to the following symptoms: pain, burning sensation, pins and needles, numbing, diarrhea, sweating and vomiting. I know it doesn’t sound great, but this will probably never happen, the point being: be careful.
Its body is between 4 and 6cm (1,57”-2,36”). An adult, can reach a total size of 15cm (5,9”) if you include the legs.
Keeping a Brachypelma hamorii
A terrarium of 30x30x30cm (11,81”) would be appropriate, it’s a terrestrial tarantula so it won’t be climbing that often.
A heating system with thermostat: the Brachypelma hamorii prefers a higher temperature than other tarantulas. The ideal would be 25-27°C (77-80,6°F) during the day and 22°C (71,6°F) at night.
A layer of substrate: I would say that a layer of about 10cm (4”) of blond peat would be a good start. This tarantula is going to dig a hole, so it will need some substrate in order to do that.
A hiding place: spiders also has a right to a little privacy; the best option is to put this hiding place right over the entrance of its hole to “conceal” it.
A drinking trough always filled with clean water: the Brachypelma hamorii drinks regularly, handles its hydrometry and even “takes a bath” sometimes.
Live prey: but not all the time; about once a week during its growth, then every 10-15 days when it has reached maturity. Some examples of prey would be cockroaches, locusts and crickets.
If you don’t know this animal so well, then tell me how many years do you think it can live up to:
- 1 year?
- 3-5 years?
- 10 years?
- EVEN MORE?
And the answer is… “EVEN MORE”. A species such as the Brachypelma hamorii can live for more than 20 years, depending on the sex of the individual. In fact, it will be an adult after 3 to 5 years, then the male will live an extra year or two, but as for the female, it will live for 15-20 additional years.
Choosing to keep a tarantula is therefore a long-term commitment.
There’s nothing complicated really, you’ll just need to remove the leftovers with a tweezer, and make sure the drinking trough is always clean and filled.
That’s why many hobbyists end up with a whole collection of tarantulas. Be careful, it is highly addictive!
If your tarantula ends up gesticulating on its back, it might be simply preparing for molting. In this case, don’t do anything, you couldn’t help it and you’d rather disturb the process.
After molting, don’t feed it for 1-2 weeks, as its mouthparts will still be soft and there’s a risk to get hurt when catching the prey. If this happens, it won’t be able to eat again and will die, we don’t want that.
The Brachypelma hamorii is a good species to start with. Reproduction is common in captivity so it’s quite easy to find a CB (captive bred) specimen.
But be careful, because, as appealing as this species can look to you, owning one isn’t trivial and you should seriously think twice before taking the plunge.
If you ever want to handle a tarantula, it is at your own risk, it is a live animal, not a toy.
That being said; don’t have too much nightmares, it’s true that it’s a big spider but there’s no need to be afraid.
Side not: Be sure to check with your local authorities if keeping a pet tarantula is ok. I know that in France it is illegal!
If this article helped you understand and keep this animal better, don’t hesitate to follow me on this blog and on social media so that you don’t miss any of my articles. If you have a question, please ask me in the comments. See you next week for a new article!