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Theraphosa care and info

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by Nightstalker47, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Nightstalker47

    Nightstalker47 Arachnoking

    We have had so many threads lately on Theraphosa, and I find myself repeating the same thing time and time again. This thread will cover most of the common questions, hopefully it should be useful to some of the newer keepers, and may even save a few spiders from neglect. I'll start by going over the basics.

    Care and husbandry:

    Theraphosa were famously labelled as "swamp dwellers" in the tarantula keepers guide. This is quite misleading, and inadvertently lead to many common husbandry errors, as well as people obsessing over humidity numbers they do not require. They need moist sub, good ventilation and it's that simple. They aren't anymore difficult to keep, so long as you know what your doing.

    Once you setup the spider properly your already pretty much in the clear. I prefer using sterilite/rubbermaid tubs for large Theraphosa. When you use glass aquariums, the ventilation ratio is almost always off. You either have too much, or not enough, both of which can be detrimental to your spider long term.


    For your custom enclosure. Start by drilling plenty of ventilation holes on the sides of the tub. I usually do three rows on each end. Give the spider plenty of substrate depth, and provide a partially buried hide, as they will take to burrowing...especially younger specimens. Larger individuals may abandon their hides/burrows as they grow, but they should still always have the option.


    Since these spiders consume so much food, you will have far more waste to clean up after. Spot cleaning is very important, as well as regularly providing the spider with clean drinking water. My specimens foul their water bowls after almost every meal, so stay on top of it or you will come back to something nasty one day.

    Also, you will need to keep the substrate moist as it dries out. Poor water directly into the sub, and avoid misting...ineffective and will just send hairs airborne. Speaking of hairs, theraphosa have the worst urticating setae in the hobby. Hands off, always use tongs and be vigilant when doing maintenance...they tend to be rather voracious and are definitely prone to mistaking you for food.

    Growth rates:

    These are the fastest growing spiders you can get your hands on if kept right and fed often. I always emphasize on feeding theraphosa more then you would almost any other genus. It all goes towards growth. Obviously slow down on feeding with adults, but young growing spiders need as much as they can get. I had my female T.stirmi go from 1.5" to roughly 8" in less then two years time. My smaller unsexed specimen is too young to gauge as of now.


    Theraphosa are the largest spiders in the hobby, commonly exceeding 9" in legspan. It was said that T.blondi is the largest of the genus, but truth is that T.stirmi get just as large if not larger. T.apophysis have the more slender build, and tend to be more leggy then the aforementioned species. All are stunning in their own right.

    Let's start with spiderlings.
    T.stirmi will have four pink/white tarsi on the four front legs.
    T.blondi will have no pink/white tarsi on any legs.
    T.apophysis will have pink/white tarsi on all eight legs.

    As adults or sub-adults, T.blondi is best distinguished by the heavy presence of setae on the pattella. Whereas it is absent with stirmi. T.apophysis doesn't really look like the other two species, so they are rarely ever confused. They also happen to be the only species within the genus that possess tibial hooks(mature males).

    I think I covered most of it. Feel free to contribute to this thread. Pictures of any species within the genus are more then welcome.
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  2. Nightstalker47

    Nightstalker47 Arachnoking

    20171110_184639.jpg 20171126_213724.jpg 20171210_181642.jpg
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  3. ccTroi

    ccTroi Arachnoknight Arachnosupporter

    Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing!! :)
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  4. Thanks :happy:
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  5. PanzoN88

    PanzoN88 Arachnolord

    Great thread, will be sure to remember this thread when the day comes that I buy a T. stirmi.
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  6. BoyFromLA

    BoyFromLA ‎٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و

    That is one crazy fast growth rate...
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  7. Moakmeister

    Moakmeister Arachnobaron

    • Agree Agree x 5
  8. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    Fantastic post(s). Hopefully it can become a sticky as the question gets asks regularly enough.

    I do have to type though at the moment my Grammostola iheringi is out moulting my T.blondi. Which is hugely surprising.
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  9. Jonroe

    Jonroe Arachnopeon

    Great post, nothing I would disagree on.

    I would mention though that the precense of more hair is more apparent on the femur, not the patella.
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  10. McSP1D8R

    McSP1D8R Arachnopeon

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  11. Andrea82

    Andrea82 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    Thanks so much, this will go into my database 'frequently asked info' right next to the threads of viper and venom about Avics and the stickies. :)
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  12. StampFan

    StampFan Arachnodemon Active Member

    Thoughts on the ideal dimensions for an adult Sterlite/Rubbermaid enclosure? I see a lot of different opinions (some super long and not wide but very shallow in height, some super fossorial deep and not very long, etc.). Even a minimum/maximum range would be excellent to see. Also if you have a recommendation for those who want to use a fairly clear Sterlite/Rubbermaid type so they actually can see their eight legged monsters....Thanks!
    • Like Like x 2
  13. McSP1D8R

    McSP1D8R Arachnopeon

    I've tried a few different volume tubs in various shapes. Had a 45 litre cube shape half filled with sub but wasnt very much manoeuvring room when I introduced a male for mating.

    20150319_114749.jpg Screenshot_2017-08-17-10-28-26.png The one in the picture is 84 litres but was a back breaker to lift as I had it half filled with pure top soil! I found a local supplier with peat moss now so I do a 50/50 mix with top soil which makes it far lighter and better at retaining moisture.

    My favourite thus far is a 3ft x 1ft 64 litre tub although no lock mechanism on the lid so needs weighed down just incase :)
    • Like Like x 3
  14. Jonroe

    Jonroe Arachnopeon

    Couldn't you have used coco fiber instead of pete moss as an addative?
    Is there a benefit to using pete moss?
  15. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    I use Irish moss peat as it's slightly acidic so does well at stopping mold from growing. Add springtails too and you're all set up.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Chris LXXIX

    Chris LXXIX ArachnoGod Active Member

    You can use what you want. Coco fiber, Irish moss peat, normal topsoil (choosing this option, check what's inside, before) or, why not, even pure finest 'dirt' soil. Which matters, what is 'key' are the parameters, not the substrate used per se.

    Additive is, as far as I know, only vermiculite, which IMO helps for mantain the level of humidity in the long run.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  17. McSP1D8R

    McSP1D8R Arachnopeon

    Yes its quite light and aerated plus it can hold 20 times its own weight in moisture without becoming water logged. As Basin said less chance of mould plus it provides detritrivorous material for the springtails to eat compared to coir which is basically ground coconut shell..
  18. Jonroe

    Jonroe Arachnopeon

    Thanks people. I'll probably give my Stirmi coco and topsoil when she/he grows up.
    Do you think this is a decent home for her right now?

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  19. McSP1D8R

    McSP1D8R Arachnopeon

    Nothing wrong with it per se Im just not a fan of those encloures. And Im a moss fiend so I would have a big pile of it in there :)
  20. Nightstalker47

    Nightstalker47 Arachnoking

    Anything on the larger side will do. Not too long, good width and enough depth to pack in at least 5-6" of sub. You have to look around when your shopping, some of the tubs are much clearer then others. Choose wisely.
    Not the best option for your Theraphosa sling, the sub will dry out very fast in that enclosure. Find yourself an appropriately sized sterilite container and drill some ventilation holes on the sides. Pretty sure I went over this in the OP. The top wont allow moisture to escape as quickly, and you still have excellent ventilation.
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