How to Care for Your Chilean Rosehair Tarantula
The Chilean rosehair tarantula (Grammostola rosea) is a medium-sized, nocturnal, terrestrial tarantula found in Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Their preferred habitat is dry grassland and scrubland, experiencing all four seasons.
Chilean rosehair tarantulas typically have a ~5” legspan as adults. Their body has a medium-brown base color with reddish to blonde hairs. The head is sometimes pinkish in color. They do possess urticating hairs, but use them infrequently.
Chilean rosehair tarantulas are known for being a great beginner-level tarantula because of their slow movement and docile dispositions. With good care, males can be expected to live up to 5 years, while females can live 20+ years.
How much space do Chilean rosehair tarantulas need?
Chilean rosehair tarantulas don’t need much space, but they do need at least some space for moving around. The minimum for appropriately keeping one adult Chilean rosehair tarantula is 20”L x 10”W x 10”H, or the equivalent of a standard 10-gallon tank. This species is known for their tendency to roam, so using larger dimensions is beneficial and will be happily used!
It takes about 5 years for Chilean rosehair tarantulas to grow from tiny slings to their adult size. It’s best not to house slings in adult-sized enclosures. Instead, basic acrylic spiderling enclosures are usually suitable, no less than four times the spider’s legspan, and no taller than two legspans above the substrate layer.
The enclosure should be well-secured, but not with a mesh lid. Tarantula feet can get stuck in mesh if they climb up that high, which can result in them being stuck upside-down and/or injured. So it’s best to replace the screen with a sheet of acrylic with holes drilled into it for ventilation. Alternatively, you can use a screen lid with holes that are too large for the T’s feet to get stuck, but too small for escape.
Cohabitation (keeping multiple tarantulas in one enclosure) is not recommended, as cannibalism is possible.
Do Chilean rosehair tarantulas need UVB?
They can certainly survive without it, and due to this fact, as well as the fact that UVB wavelengths are blocked by glass and acrylic lids, UVB is not commonly used among tarantula keepers.
That being said, there is some evidence to suggest that tarantulas may benefit from UVB lighting when appropriately provided. This paper speculates that wild tarantulas may get at least part of their vitamin D3 from UVB exposure, and this paper provides evidence of invertebrates being able to synthesize vitamin D3 from UVB.
If you wish to provide UVB to your tarantula, the best UVB bulb to use is likely to be the compact coil Zoo Med Reptisun 5.0, 26w. The bulb should be mounted horizontally in a reflective fixture, and placed on top of a mesh lid with holes large enough to prevent the tarantula’s legs from getting caught. (For this reason, it may be best to refrain from providing UVB lighting until your tarantula is large enough for an adult-sized enclosure.) UVB bulb output decays over time, so make sure to replace your bulb every 6 months.
Lights should be on for 12 hours/day.
What basking temperatures do Chilean rosehair tarantulas need?
Tarantulas are ectotherms, which means that they need to be kept within a specific range of temperatures in order to regulate their metabolism and stay healthy.
The optimal ambient temperature for Chilean rosehair tarantulas is around 73-74°F during the day. If possible, try to maintain your tarantula’s room at this temperature. However, if this is not possible, and the room is cooler than this range, then you’ll need a heat source. A small heat mat, stuck to the side of the enclosure and regulated with a thermostat set to 80-82°F during the day, should be enough to address this problem. Track the temperatures in your enclosure with a digital probe thermometer.
What humidity levels do Chilean rosehair tarantulas need?
Chilean rosehair tarantulas generally prefer moderate humidity conditions between 40-55%. You can do this by making the substrate very slightly moist in a sling enclosure, and keep one half of the substrate moistened and one half dry for adults. Measure the ambient humidity levels with a digital probe hygrometer.
What substrate is good for Chilean rosehair tarantulas?
Chilean rosehair tarantulas are known to burrow in the wild, but not always in captivity, so the topic of how much substrate they need is a little fuzzy. But at the end of the day, it’s best to err on the side of caution and giving them freedom of choice, so make it at least 3/4 as deep as the tarantula’s legspan. For an adult, that would be about 4”.
We recommend the following substrates for Chilean rosehair tarantulas:
What décor can you use in a Chilean rosehair tarantula terrarium?
Tarantulas may not seem to do much, but it’s still beneficial to give them items in their enclosure that they can explore and use to express natural behaviors. It also makes the enclosure more attractive!
At minimum, your tarantula needs at least one place to hide. However, additional options include:
What do Chilean rosehair tarantulas eat?
Tarantulas are carnivores, which means that they need whole prey in order to get the nutrition that they need. Here is a basic feeding schedule:
- Juveniles — every 7-10 days
- Adults — every 17-21 days
Tarantulas should receive 1-5 bugs per meal, depending on their body condition and the nutritional density of the insect (ex: one dubia roach is usually worth multiple crickets). Prey insects should be small enough for the tarantula to overpower, which is an especially important consideration for slings — this is usually roughly the same size or smaller than the length of the tarantula’s abdomen. Live, well-gutloaded prey is a requirement.
Offer a variety of different insects if possible to provide varied nutrition:
- Black crickets
- Black soldier fly larvae
- Brown crickets
- Dubia roaches
- Discoid roaches
- Flightless fruit flies (for slings)
- Red runner roaches
Remove all uneaten prey within 24 hours to prevent the prey from harassing the tarantula.
Tarantulas under 2” across should receive water via routine (light) misting of the enclosure. The enclosure should be allowed to dry between mistings. Tarantulas over 2” may have a shallow water dish for drinking. Change the water daily and scrub the bowl with a reptile-safe disinfectant weekly.
Do Chilean rosehair tarantulas like to be handled?
As a general rule, it’s best not to handle tarantulas. But as far as tarantulas go, Chilean rosehairs tolerate occasional handling very well. They rarely bite, shoot hairs, or even offer a defensive posture. Even when they do bite, you are likely to experience only minor discomfort. When allowed to crawl onto your hand of their own volition and handled gently, Chilean rosehairs can be an ideal tarantula for a keeper who prefers to be a little more “hands-on” with their pets.
Never handle a tarantula within a week of molting, and always handle it over a soft surface (ex: your bed or couch) so that if it falls, it won’t get injured.
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. Although it’s a good introduction, please do further research with high-quality sources to obtain additional information on caring for this species.
"Grammostola rosea 'red phase' tarantula adult" by Tarantuland is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0