Tarantulas are a large group of over 500 different species of spiders. This diverse group of spiders can range from the size of a dinner plate to only the size of your fingernail.
Deciding which one will make the best pet is a tough choice!
Before you settle on a pet tarantula, you will need to consider your priorities.
Do you want a spider that will be visually interesting? How about one that has a docile personality? Some combine the best of both worlds and are both beautiful and easy-going!
Keep reading to learn about the best beginner tarantulas. We also share the pros and cons for each and which one is considered friendliest…
- Are Tarantulas A Good Pet?
- Pet Tarantulas
- Top 10 Beginner Tarantulas
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What Is The Friendliest Pet Tarantula?
Are Tarantulas A Good Pet?
Tarantulas actually make great pets, but this will be highly dependent on the species you choose.
Some species are known for being much more docile and friendly than others. Docile species in particular usually make the best pets. Other species like the Cobalt Blue tarantula are known for being fast and aggressive with a highly potent venom. They are less popular as pets.
If you are looking for a pet that you can handle frequently a tarantula may not be a good choice.
Even though some species can be very docile, handling can stress out your spider and possibly even cause them to resort to defensive behaviors.
When threatened tarantulas can flick hair-like bristles called setae from their abdomen into any predators. These setae can also become stuck in your skin during handling. This is not deadly, but it can be a very uncomfortable experience.
All tarantulas are venomous and can bite.
While very few of these spiders have medically significant venom, it can still cause mild allergic reactions similar to the sting of a wasp.
Handling your spider may not be recommended, but this doesn’t detract from the fact that they can make very unique and interesting pets.
Another plus is that pet tarantulas are very simple to care for.
Generally, they need no heat lamps and are fine being kept at room temperature. Their humidity needs are also simple and most adults are able to be kept in relatively small enclosures of around 5-10 gallons.
Tarantulas can also be a long-lived pet as the females can live up to 30 years. Their exact lifespan depends on the species, but more importantly, it depends on the gender.
While females may live up to 30 years, males may only live for 3-10 years. This short lifespan is because once the males reach maturity, they breed and then die. Often they are eaten by the female! Some choose to keep a male tarantula because they are a shorter-term commitment.
If you want to learn more about tarantulas, here are 10 species that are perfect for beginners.
|Antilles Pink Toe||3||Black or brown body with a blue-green tint and pink toes||5 inches||Females: 12
|Arizona Blonde||2||Brown, black or tan||5 ½ inches||Females: 30
|Brazilian Black||5||Silky, deep black||6-8 inches||Females: 30
|Chaco Golden Knee||6||Dark brown or black with golden striping on the knees||6-8 inches||Females: 20-25
|Chilean Rose||4||Brown or tan with a rosy hue||5 ½ inches||Females: 15-20
|Costa Rican Zebra||9||Black abdomen with white stripes on the legs||4.5 inches||Females: 20
|Curly Hair||8||Black or brown with a golden sheen and curled hairs||5-6 inches||Females: 8-10
|Green Bottle Blue||10||Green body with electric blue legs and orange hairs on their abdomen.||5.8 inches||Females: 14
|Mexican Red Knee||1||Dark brown or black with red knees||5-6 inches||Females: 25
|Mexican Red Rump||7||Black or dark brown with a red patch on the abdomen and red hairs throughout their bodies||6 inches||Females: 15
Top 10 Beginner Tarantulas
1. Mexican Red Knee Tarantula
The Mexican Red Knee tarantula (Brachypelma hamorii) is one of the most if not the most popular pet tarantula species. It is by far the most popular of the Mexican species.
This spider is usually dark brown or black in color with bright orange knees.
Though this species is nearly threatened in the wild, they are extremely cheap and easy to find as pets. Usually, you can expect to find this spider for sale for between $50 and $120 at nearly any exotic animal expo.
They are a medium sized tarantula at 5–6 inches long and have long lifespans, with the females living up to 25 years.
Mexican Red Knees are an extremely docile species which is one of the reasons why they are so popular with beginners. They are also known for running instead of biting as a defense behavior. This makes them less likely to bite than other species, though their fast movements can make handling difficult.
2. Arizona Blonde Tarantula
Arizona Blonde Tarantulas (Aphonopelma Chalcodes) can be found in the southwestern United States, especially the deserts of Arizona. Because of this they are also known as the Desert Blonde tarantula.
The Arizona Blonde is actually one of the most common spiders used in films because of their easy-going personalities. They are also very hardy and don’t require any special care requirements. This makes them a very easy pet to take care of for beginners.
Arizona Blondes, like the Mexican Red Knee, are very long lived with females reaching up to 30 years old and males between 5 and 10. They are also medium sized with a 5 ½ inch length.
This species is extremely easy to find and very cheap to purchase. You can usually purchase this spider for between $30-$50.
Unfortunately they are one of the more plain spiders and are usually brown, black or tan.
3. Antilles Pink Toe Tarantula
The Antilles Pink Toe tarantula (Caribena versicolor) is an extremely popular choice for beginner keepers. Not only is this species docile, but they are extremely beautiful.
This spider is usually black or brown with brightly colored leg tips. The leg tips can vary from orange to pink, and the darker body colors can have a blue-green sheen. They are medium in size with a 5-inch body span and their beautiful color makes them one of the best pet species to look at.
They are also common in the pet trade and can be purchased for under $30.
Antilles Pink Toe tarantulas are an arboreal species that will need a vertically oriented tank and lots of things to climb. This is different from the horizontal enclosures that most other pet tarantulas on this list prefer.
They also need a higher humidity than other species at 80%. This makes their care needs a little more complicated than other non-tropical species.
Pink Toe tarantulas are docile, but they can be sensitive and jump like a Regal Jumping Spider if they feel threatened. They also don’t live quite as long as others with females only living 12 years.
4. Chilean Rose Tarantula
Chilean Rose Tarantulas (Grammostola rosea) are another very popular beginner tarantula because they are low maintenance, very hardy and relatively submissive.
This species is particularly entertaining because they will redecorate their tanks. Being a burrowing spider, they like to dig through their substrate and will usually rearrange things within their enclosure. It is common for them to move around various décor. This behavior makes them a very entertaining species to sit back and watch.
The Chilean Rose is also known as the Chilean fire tarantula because of their bright color. This species is mostly brown in color but can vary from a rosy brown to a light tan with rose colored hair on their bodies.
They are medium in size with a 5 ½ inch body span and are usually priced between $20-$60.
This spider has a long lifespan with females living 15-20 years. They are known to be hardy and have no specific temperature or humidity requirements, making their care very simple.
5. Brazilian Black Tarantula
The Brazilian Black tarantula (Grammostola pulchra) is a gentle, giant species. While their larger size can seem daunting to new keepers, they are known to be a very easygoing spider that doesn’t scare easily. This means that they will likely be calmer when being moved or handled.
They are famous for their large size and extremely friendly personalities.
This species is entirely black in color and has been described as having a very silky, inky black sheen. They get very large and can reach lengths between 6 and 8 inches.
Brazilian Blacks are a burrowing spider and will often make and hide in burrows within their enclosure.
This spider is on the pricier side with most individuals being sold for over $100. They also have long lifespans with the females living up to 30 years.
6. Chaco Golden Knee Tarantula
The Chaco Golden Knee (Grammostola pulchripes) is another large tarantula that can grow to 8-inches long. Not only is this a large spider, but they are a slow growing species that will take a few years to reach their adult sizes.
One reason keepers love Chaco Golden Knees is that they usually like to sit in the open instead of hiding within their enclosure. This makes them a great species to observe and put on display.
Chaco Golden Knees are notably beautiful with a dark body and golden striping on the knees.
They have simple husbandry and don’t require any additional temperature or heating elements.
A downside of this spider is that they can bite. Because of their large size, their bite is likely to hurt a bit more than that of a smaller tarantula. The larger size of this species also gives them a slightly higher price tag of around $50.
7. Mexican Red Rump Tarantula
The Mexican Red Rump tarantula (Tliltocatl vagans) is another popular Mexican species, though they haven’t quite reached the same popularity level as the Mexican Red Knee. Both species are similar because they are very docile, but the Mexican Red Rump has some specific care needs.
Mexican Red Rumps need higher humidity levels, usually at 65-70%.
This species is named because of their dark red abdomen on an otherwise dark black body.
One unique thing about this spider is that they are known to associate with other spiders in the wild and may be a good choice for keepers wanting multiple pet tarantulas.
Another benefit of this species is that they are extremely cheap and easy to find. You can usually buy this tarantula for anywhere from $20-$30 and some are even given away for free with the purchase of other spiders at exotic expos.
This spider has a slightly shorter lifespan than others with the males living 5-6 years and the females only 15 years.
8. Curly Hair Tarantula
The Curly Hair (Tliltocatl albopilosus) is also called the wooly tarantula because of the curly hairs covering their body. These long, curled hairs give them a uniquely adorable, fuzzy appearance that many keepers love.
They are usually brown or black but their hairs can have a somewhat golden sheen.
Curly Hair Tarantulas are known to be very calm and may even be comfortable enough to hang out on your arm. Though they are easygoing, this species can be spooked and will need very gentle, calm handling. Because of this they are less suited for kids than others on this list.
They are a low maintenance spider that doesn’t require any special husbandry.
One of the major downfalls of this species is their notably short lifespan. Females only live on average between 8 and 10 years, with the males living up to 4 years.
Another downfall is that they are a ground dwelling species and will usually pick a spot within their enclosure and not move. This makes them one of the less interesting pets to watch as they don’t move around much.
9. Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula
Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas (Aphonopelma seemanni) are known for their beautiful colors. They usually have a black abdomen, white stripes on the legs and the occasional dark red hairs. This species is a good choice for beginners wanting a tarantula with a unique look.
They are relatively calm and quiet, but can be skittish.
This fast-moving spider can easily become scared and attempt to run. Because of this they may be better for a more confident keeper. Their speed means they shouldn’t be handled as they can escape easily and are very hard to catch.
Costa Rican Zebras are on the smaller side with a 4.5-inch leg span and can be purchased for between $20 and $40.
10. Green Bottle Blue Tarantula
The Green Bottle Blue (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens) is the most beautiful pet tarantula on this list. They have a green back, bright blue legs and orange hairs on their abdomens.
You can buy a Green Bottle Blue for between $60-$80.
They are medium in size with a 5.8 inch body span and are known to create lots of webbing within their enclosure.
If you want a beautiful spider, this is a great option for beginners. However they are probably the most defensive species on this list. They are quick to flick their setae toward a threat so they should be treated with caution.
They are generally an agreeable spider but they can be frightened easily and will resort to biting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do They Eat?
Tarantulas are carnivores and only eat other animals in the wild. You will want to feed this natural diet as much as possible. For pet species they always require live prey and will mainly eat insects such as crickets, roaches, hornworms and mealworms. Adults can usually be fed one or two crickets once a week, but some larger individuals can eat up to 8 crickets per week.
Can They Bite You?
Tarantulas can bite you and will resort to biting as a defensive behavior when they feel significantly threatened. All tarantulas are considered venomous and a bite from one will usually result in some mild pain and swelling. Some tarantula species like the Indian Ornamental are thought to have a more dangerous bite that can even leave a scar. Others like the Mexican Red Knee are much less likely to bite because they prefer to run away.
Do They Like To Be Handled?
Most spiders don’t particularly enjoy being handled as it will stress them out. Some tarantulas can be trained to tolerate handling. However, if you are looking for an exotic pet that can enjoy spending time with you, tarantulas are likely not the answer. Docile species like the Mexican Red Knee or the Arizona Blonde are best if you want to handle them.
How Long Do They Live?
The lifespan of a tarantula depends on the species and gender. Some species, like the Arizona Blonde, have females that live up to 20 years, while others, like the Green Bottle Blue, usually have females that only live up to 14 years. Females also tend to live a lot longer than males. For example, the Costa Rican Zebra tarantula females live up to 20 years old, and males only live to around 5 years old.
What Is The Friendliest Pet Tarantula?
There is one tarantula species in particular that stands above the rest and makes a great beginner pet.
The Mexican Red Knee is probably the most popular pet tarantula.
This species is renowned for being friendly, docile and reluctant to bite. This makes them number one on our list and great for people that are new to keeping spiders.
Not only are they friendly, they also check all the boxes for what someone could want in a spider. They are an extremely bright color, have a long lifespan, very simple care needs and are cheap.
While the Mexican Red Knee has everything a beginner keeper could want, other species on this list make great pets too. Some keepers prioritize beauty over ease of care and will choose species like the Green Bottle Blue. Others want a tarantula with a docile personality like the Arizona Blonde.
Which beginner tarantula you end up choosing will depend on your priorities and preferences.
If a tarantula sounds like the pet for you, you have a tough choice ahead.
Leave us a comment and let us know which species is your favorite.