Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Grammostola rosea

DIETNocturnal predator of small arthropods

RANGEFound throughout northern Chile, Bolivia and Argentina

HABITATPrimarily deserts and Scrublands

Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula

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Program and General Information

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.

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.

Common Physical Features
The Rose Hair Tarantula is a moderately large tarantula. A fully mature Rose Hair can reach approximately 6 inches in its total leg span. They reach full size in about 3 – 4 years. They are usually either dark brown, blackish or grey in their base color. Some Chilean rose hair tarantulas have orange/reddish hairs all over their body, while others have a tan body with pink hairs and some have copper colored hairs. They have eight eyes; they are very small and generally not very strong.
Habitat and Global Range

Found throughout northern Chile. Also found in parts of Bolivia and Argentina. They are primarily desert and scrubland dwelling. They like to dig burrows in the ground.

Diet

Nocturnal predator of small arthropods. Prey is injected with venom and enzymes that begin breaking it down into ingestible fluids. They do not spin a web to catch food, they will chase after prey to inject venom.

Behavior and Life Cycle

The Rose Hair Tarantula is known for being one of the most docile of all tarantulas. However they are aggressive towards each other, even females will fight if left in the same enclosure. Female will also eventually eat the males if left too long together. Tarantulas tend to hide during the day and hunt at night. Like all New World tarantula species, these spiders can flick their hairs off their abdomens, causing an irritating reaction in an attacker. After a short display, they will beat a hasty retreat or will simply walk away. High-strung specimens will often show a dark bald patch on their abdomens from flicking away the hairs. Spiders are oviparous, which means they lay eggs.

A mature male will produce a sperm web in which he will deposits his sperm and then suck it up in his palp, after which he is ready for courtship. He will approach the female’s shelter cautiously, tapping and vibrating his legs. The female will be “lured” out of her burrow or shelter and the male will typically lunge forward to use his hooks to hold the female’s chelicerae (mouth parts that hold the fangs) and to push her into an almost upright position to give himself access to the female’s epigyne (female opening) for mating.

If fertilized, the female will produce an egg sac in the following weeks. This species produces large egg sacs, usually containing in excess of 500 babies. Typically, the male will die in the weeks following a successful mating.

Solitary. Live in burrows in the ground which they have dug or found abandoned by rodents. Burrow is lined with silk produced by the spider. They don’t make aerial or food catching webs. Immature tarantulas molt up to 4 times per year; adult females molt once a year throughout their adult life. Reach adulthood when 8-12 years old; mating time is in the fall. 100 or more eggs are laid in a silken sac-like case..

Fun Facts

  • All spiders have venom that is effective on small arthropods. The tarantula’s hair-like bristles serve them in many ways, but primarily as sensory structures. Some are sensitive to pressure, others to heat or air movement or vibrations. Eyes are fixed and sense light, dark and shadows; they are located on the top of the cephalothorax and cannot see under or directly in front.
  • No tarantulas are dangerous to humans, but heavy gloves are still worn when handling them since their bite would be painful. They don’t readily kick off the hairs on their abdomen in defense as some tarantulas do, but any dropped hairs are irritating to the handler.
  • Female tarantulas can live up to 25 years while males live 5-10 yrs.
  • As they outgrow their existing skin all tarantulas regularly go through an extensive molt, shedding their entire skin as well as the linings of their mouth, respiratory organs, stomach and sexual organs.
  • They have fangs and venom. Their venom does two things. The first thing is the neurotoxins in the venom attack the nervous system of the victim and cause death by heart failure or cessation of respiratory function. The second thing that happens is hemotoxins attack the circulatory system and body tissues. The blood may thicken or even thin out, the venom will start to break down internal tissue, spiders lack digestive juices, so this pre digesting process comes in handy.
  • Tarantulas can regenerate a leg if one is lost
  • There are over 800 species of tarantulas
  • Tarantulas are very fragile if dropped. Their abdomens can rupture
  • Unlike other most other spiders, tarantulas do not catch prey in webs. They stalk and attack their prey similar to a jaguar.
  • Most tarantulas can go weeks without eating but water is necessary.
  • The largest spider is the Goliath Birth Eating Tarantula, which can have a leg span of 12 inches. Despite its impressive size its venom is not poisonous to humans.
  • Most species of tarantula do not have venom that is particularly harmful to humans but there is always a chance of individual allergic reactions to bites.
  • The smallest species of tarantula discovered so far is only the size of a fingernail.
  • The most venomous species of spiders include: The Black Widow, The Brown Recluse, Daddy long-leg spiders, The Sydney Funnel Spider and The Brazilian Wandering Spider. There is debate about which is the most venomous – the Sydney Funnel or the Brazilian Wandering.