Things to consider before getting a Brazilian Black Tarantula
The Brazilian black tarantula is one of the most beautiful and instantly recognizable tarantula pets out there. They make for fantastic pets too and you’ll be surprised just how easy they can be to look after. This doesn't mean that research and preparation aren’t needed, however. So here are our 22 vital tips to follow with a Brazilian black tarantula pet.
11 things to consider before buying a Brazilian Black Tarantula pet
As the name implies, this tarantula comes from the more arid regions of Brazil and Argentina. This spider is therefore used to high temperatures and low humidity but it still likes to hide from the scorching sun as it can overheat with its pitch black coat. Being from South America, this is a “New World” tarantula and like all others from the Western hemisphere, it’s much more docile and safe compared to tarantulas from elsewhere around the world.
Is this a spider you can handle? It certainly is, all New World tarantulas are deemed “safe to handle”. Of course, this safety is only relative as they are still spiders. Tarantulas generally don’t like being handled too often so doing so more than once every day or so is ill-advised. However, the Brazilian black is still safer than most other tarantulas out there.
The cost of this black beauty is usually around $100 but can be more than that too. That’s because these spiders are very sought-after for their eye-catching clean black coats. Additionally, tarantulas are difficult to breed so the supply isn’t always great.
The hostility level of this tarantula is quite low despite its intimidating look. When threatened, this tarantula’s first response will be to duck and hide – if it’s near its burrow it will gladly retreat to its hiding place. Now, if you push or mishandle this spider it will retaliate but you should really be clumsy or uncaring for your tarantula to attack you. Most Brazilian black owners go their whole lives without an accident.
If your tarantula decides to attack, the first thing to worry about will be her urticating hairs. These thin and sharp hairs cover most of her body and she can shoot them at a distance when she feels vulnerable. When they land on your skin they can cause itching, slight pain, and mild swelling. They are only problematic if they land in your eyes, nose, or mouth. So, it’s advisable to never get your tarantula too close to your face and to always wash your hands after handling your pet or its tank. Wearing glasses is also a good idea.
The venomous fangs are the tarantula’s second weapon. Like other New World spiders, the Brazilian black is not too venomous, however, and is only dangerous if you’re allergic to venom stings. If you have a problem with bee stings – don’t get a tarantula.
All of the above makes the Brazilian black very recommended for beginners. While no tarantula is 100% safe, few are safer than the Brazilian black.
Female Brazilian blacks have a very long lifespan of around 20 years which makes them an even better pet option. Males have much shorter lives of just 6 to 8 years but that’s still ok if you want a shorter time commitment.
In terms of size, the Brazilian black usually gets as big as 6 or 7 inches (15 to 18 cm) but can sometimes reach the impressive 8 inches (20 cm). Females are larger than males, however. Their growth cycle is also somewhat slow and can take years. That’s why grown tarantulas are more expensive too.
Is it ok to house more than one tarantula together? In a word – No. Tarantulas are not too territorial so a large enough tank can house two. In theory, if they are always well-fed, they can ignore each other for some time. However, they can be moody, defensive, and cannibalistic, so chances are that sooner or later one tarantula will eat the other – probably during the other’s molting period (the change of the exoskeleton).
All in all, the best case scenario is that they’ll ignore each other which isn’t fun enough anyway. If you want more than one tarantula, the simplest solution is to house them separately.
- For the same reasons as above, mating tarantulas is difficult. As the females are usually larger than the males, the end result is usually a dead and eaten male spider and a well-fed female. If you want to mate your spiders you’ll need to constantly watch over them and be very patient. The process usually takes weeks or even months – here’s a video guide.
6 tips for how to prepare for a Brazilian Black Tarantula pet
Your tarantula’s tank should be made out of glass or acrylic and should ideally be around 20 by 20 inches (50 by 50 cm) large. These spiders are terrestrial so the tank shouldn’t be too high – it should be tall enough for several inches of substrate and several inches of open air.
Even though they are large, these tarantulas can fit through some tight places so you should always seal your Brazilian black’s tank well, including its top. Only leave some tiny ventilation holes in the sides.
For substrate, we’d recommend ground coco fiber or chemical-free potting soil. These spiders are used to dry ground but it should still be soft enough for easy burrowing. The substrate should be
4 inches deep (10 cm) too. You can start a burrow going with a stick before housing your tarantula but that’s not necessary. You can also just place some woodchips on the ground to give her hiding spots as she burrows.
As this species isn’t arboreal, the tank’s environment shouldn’t be too elaborate. Just place a few low branches or rocks and just a bit of vegetation. Make sure your tarantula has enough open space to walk around freely.
This tarantula is used to warm climates so you should be ready to maintain a temperature range of around 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 29o C). Anything between 75 to 80o F (24 to 27 o C) is usually recommended to give you some leeway. You can use a heating bulb and/or heating pads on the tank’s sides to maintain the right temperatures. Don’t forget to prepare a good thermometer or thermostat for the Brazilian black’s terrarium too.
In terms of humidity, these spiders tend to prefer anything between 60 and 75%. A 65-70% range is usually a safe bet. To kick up the humidity you can rely on the spider’s water bowl or you can mist with a water bottle. To lower the humidity, just ventilate the tank a bit.
5 things for successfully keeping a Brazilian Black Tarantula pet
In terms of food, this tarantula feeds like any other – with crickets, locusts, cockroaches, mealworms, and can even eat smaller spiders and small lizards. Whatever you feed her shouldn’t be larger than her abdomen and should still be alive.
You shouldn’t use wild-caught prey, however, as these can have pesticides on them. Only ever use store-bought or captive-bred clean insects. Your tarantula can do with a couple of meals per week, depending on their size. If you want a good video on feeding tarantulas, take a look at this one.
Tarantulas have no trouble drinking from a water bowl as long as it’s not too deep for them. Some can drink water droplets from their environment but the Brazilian black doesn’t seem to do that often so change her water daily.
Molting is another big part of a tarantula’s care. Young spider slings will molt their exoskeleton every month and adults – once a year. The process takes between an hour and several days. Bumping up the humidity a bit can be helpful but never touch your tarantula as she molts. The signs of an incoming molt include:
Lack of appetite
When you see these signs you should just leave your tarantula alone. Don’t feed her and don’t bother her. If there’s still any live prey in the terrarium – remove it immediately. Even a mid-sized cricket can harm your molting tarantula if it greats brave/desperate enough. Even after the molting is done, wait a day or two before giving your Brazilian black new prey.
- Healthcare is something you should rarely have to deal with. The main things to worry about include oral nematodes which is an infection recognizable by its white coloration. The other possible problem is clear and obvious difficulties molting.
- Handling your tarantula is something you should still be careful even though these are very docile animals. Here’s a good instructional video on tarantula handling. The gist of it is that you can either pick it up with two fingers by the back (between the second and third leg pairs) or you can nudge the tarantula to climb onto your hand and arm. The second method should only be done once you’ve earned the tarantula’s trust, however.
The Brazilian black tarantula is as gorgeous as it is great as a pet. With a bit of research, preparation, and care, these make for unique and phenomenal pets. Do you think you’re ready for the challenge? If you have any more questions, let us know!