The pink toe tarantula is one of the most eye-catching with a fuzzy, blue-black body and pink toes.
As pets they are easy to care for and fascinating to watch. It is common to find them climbing and building nests in their enclosure. Their pinkish cream toe tips also make them cute and endearing.
Pinktoe tarantulas are an excellent species for intermediate keepers.
They are one of the most docile and interesting species to care for, even compared to other beginner tarantulas.
Keep reading to learn about this unique pink toe spider.
|Common Name||Pink toe tarantula|
|Scientific Name||Avicularia avicularia|
|Range||Costa Rica to Brazil and the Caribbean Islands|
|Size||3.5-5 inch legspan|
|Color||Dark blue or black with pink feet|
|Diet||Small mammals, lizards, and invertebrates|
|Tank Size||10-20 gallons|
|Temperature||72°F to 82°F|
|Humidity||70% to 80%|
|Price||$20 to $40|
Table of Contents
Pink Toe Tarantula Species Profile
The pink toe (Avicularia avicularia) is a species of New World tarantula found in the tropics of Central America, northern South America and the lower islands of the Caribbean. New World means they are native to the Western Hemisphere.
Pink toe tarantulas are named for their light pink toes.
Adults are dark blue, black, or gray with pinkish cream toe tips.
These spiders grow to have a legspan of 3.5-5 inches and are considered medium-sized.
Pink toes are part of the family Theraphosidae, which includes over 1,000 species. They are widely bred as pets and are one of the most popular pet spiders thanks to their eye-catching colors, docile temperament and unusual arboreal lifestyle.
These spiders are widely available and cheap to buy as adults, juveniles and slings.
They also thrive with a relatively simple setup and are beautiful to watch in an enclosure.
In the wild, pink toe tarantulas build silk traps and tunnels in the branches of trees. When a passing animal triggers the trap, they spring from hiding and subdue it with their strong fangs.
As pets, they can bite, but this is only used as a last resort and their venom is considered mild. This adds to their popularity and gives them a reputation as a calm and docile species.
When threatened, these spiders will attempt to brush and flick their stiff, urticating hairs against their attacker as a deterrent. These hairs cause irritation if lodged in the skin and create a stinging sensation similar to stinging nettle or poison ivy.
Some people find tarantulas scary, but the fuzzy appearance of the pink toe tarantula can win over even the most doubtful of hearts. The most notable feature of this species, and what gives them their name, are their light, pinkish cream toe tips.
Pink toe tarantulas have pink toe hairs that look almost like paws!
Their toes are surrounded by soft pink hairs which are used to feel their environment. Each toe also has two small, hooked claws which are used for climbing.
Pink toe tarantulas have a large body with eight, thick legs covered in stiff hairs.
They also have two pairs of specially modified appendages by their mouths, called chelicerae and pedipalps.
The pedipalps are used to grab and hold prey, while the chelicerae contain their fangs and venom.
Baby pink toes (called slings) hatch with the opposite colors of adults. They have a pink body and legs with black toe tips. As they age, this color scheme gradually changes. Adult specimenes are dark blue, black, or gray with a light purple or green hue to their head and legs and pink toe tips.
Full grown pink toe tarantula size depends on their enclosure temperature, diet and gender. Warmer temperatures and more frequent feedings result in faster growth, while cooler temperatures and less food slow growth.
Slings start out at just a few centimeters long, but quickly grow with each molt.
Baby tarantulas are usually sold at 1 to 2 inches.
Adult females reach 4.75-5 inches from leg to leg. Males are smaller and usually grow to a maximum legspan of 3.5 inches. Along with being larger than males, females are also heavier.
Types Of Pink Toe Tarantula
The Guyana Pink Toe Tarantula (Avicularia avicularia) is the most widely purchased type of pink-toed tarantula.
This species is considered to be the best representative of the genus.
Younger individuals develop a brownish red abdomen with black tiger-stripe markings, but this typically darkens and fades with age. Adults have a dark blue or black body with pink toe pads.
Metallic Pink Toe Tarantula (Avicularia metallica)
The metallic is a type of pink toe tarantula found primarily in Columbia. They are most likely a regional variant of the Guyana and are not considered an official subspecies.
They have a distinctly blue, metallic sheen to their abdomen and light pink or white toe tips.
This spider is sometimes referred to as the white toe tarantula because of its toe tips.
Purple Pink Toe Tarantula (Avicularia purpurea)
The purple pink toe is slightly larger than the common pink toe and has a different coloration.
Their head and legs are a purplish-blue iridescent hue with pinkish cream leg tips and joints.
This species is native to the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador, but is a highly prized pet for its beautiful colors and calm temperament.
Versicolor Pink Toe Tarantula (Caribena versicolor)
The versicolor is an arboreal species from Martinique in the Caribbean Sea.
It was previously classified in the same genus as the common pink toe. However it was assigned to another genus in 2017.
These multicolored tarantulas have a bright green carapace and legs, a red abdomen, and bright pink toes. The entire spider is covered in fuzzy, purple hairs.
Pink Toe Tarantula Care
Pink toe tarantulas make a wonderful next step for someone who has kept pet lizards or other spiders and is ready to tackle a slightly more advanced species. They are not usually recommended for beginners because of their sensitivity to their enclosure’s environment.
They are more susceptible to illnesses and health problems than other tarantulas and their need for climbing space can make their enclosure setup more difficult.
We normally recommend ground-dwelling species like the Honduran curlyhair, Chilean rose, or Mexican redknee tarantula for beginners.
Pink toe tarantulas are arboreal, meaning they spend most of their time off the ground. As pets they need a tall tank with more height than floorspace.
Slings can be kept in a small plastic box until they reach 2 inches and graduate to a 5-gallon tank. Adults need a 20-gallon enclosure, ideally with a front-opening door. Front-opening doors are best because they cause less of a disruption when opened and are more escape-proof.
Pink toe tarantulas often build webs near the top of the tank. This would make it impossible to open the tank from the top without disturbing the spider.
Glass or plastic tanks work best. The top of the enclosure and one side should be mesh to allow sufficient airflow. Stagnant, humid air can cause health problems in tarantulas.
The tank should have enough ventilation to let fresh air in and out without lowering the humidity – this can be a tricky part of owning a pinktoe tarantula.
- Tank: 20-gallon glass (front-opening).
- Substrate: 2-3 inches of lightly compressed coconut coir.
- Décor: Fake plants, cork bark, cardboard tubes and sticks.
- Temperature: 72°F to 82°F.
- Humidity: 70-80%.
Caring for a pink toe is relatively easy once their enclosure is set up, if it is properly maintained.
Pink toes are hardy tarantulas that can tolerate temperatures from 60 to 85°F. However, their optimal temperature range is in the middle.
Use a heat mat stuck to one third of the bottom of the tank to keep temperatures between 72 and 82°F. Ideally, the tank should have a horizontal temperature gradient so your spider can easily move between warmer and cooler parts.
Use a thermometer to monitor heat levels and a thermostat to maintain stable temperatures.
Tarantulas do not need any special lighting.
You can use any light in your pink toe tarantula enclosure as long as the tank is not exposed to direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause overheating. Set tank lighting on a 10-hour day/night cycle to regulate daily behavior.
This species is native to the tropics and prefers moderately high humidity, around 70-80%.
Humidity that is too high is just as dangerous as too low.
Use a hygrometer to measure the ambient humidity and make sure the tank has plenty of ventilation.
Lightly mist the tank two to three times each week with clean, dechlorinated water. You should also place a shallow water bowl in the tank. This will raise the ambient humidity levels while also giving your spider a place to drink.
Pink toe tarantulas need plenty of cover and décor in their enclosure.
Adding décor not only gives your spider places to hide and feel safe, but also allows them to exhibit natural behaviors like building webs.
Use live or fake plants, cork bark, cardboard tubes, sticks, and branches to create a well-covered tank.
Having several structures and hides high up in the enclosure is important too. This spider often creates a silk-lined tunnel or nest within décor close to the tank’s top.
Substrate is less important for this species. However, the substrate should be able to hold moisture without growing mold or mites. Good substrates includes 2-3 inches of lightly compressed coconut coir, orchid potting mix, or peat moss.
Pink toe tarantulas have an average lifespan of 5-10 years as pets.
Gender, diet and tank setup are the top three factors that affect lifespan.
Female pink toe tarantulas generally live longer than males, surviving 6-10 years with proper husbandry. Males only live 3-6 years, even with the same husbandry.
If cared for properly this species has very few health problems. Signs of illness include:
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty molting
- Small mites or nematode worms around the mouth and head
High or low humidity, a dirty enclosure, and poor diet can contribute to illness and a shortened lifespan.
These spiders are especially sensitive to high humidity and poor air circulation. It can lead to exoskeleton infections and even sudden death.
If your tarantula starts behaving strangely outside of its normal molting schedule, and your tank’s temperature and humidity are correct, we recommend taking them to an exotic animal vet for a checkup.
Pink toe tarantulas are predators that mainly feed on invertebrates like locusts, crickets and beetles. They will also opportunistically catch and eat small mammals, lizards and amphibians. These spiders are ambush hunters, meaning they sit and wait for prey to walk past their burrow before attacking.
Pet pink toes should be fed live, gut-loaded crickets, dubia cockroaches and mealworms which they ambush from their burrow and kill with their fangs.
Owners who aren’t squeamish can even offer their adult a pinkie mouse as a rare treat.
Juveniles need to eat 6-8 small crickets or cockroaches every 2-3 days.
Adults should eat 3-4 large crickets or dubias once every 5-10 days.
Feed your spider by simply dropping live prey directly into the tank and leaving it overnight for them to hunt. The sound of insects moving around their enclosure should be enough to get their interest. Remove any dead or uneaten prey from the tank after 24 hours.
Don’t be alarmed if your pink toe tarantula stops eating for several weeks. This can be a sign that they are about to molt. Incredibly, tarantulas can live for months without food.
Unusual behavior from a tarantula is often a sign that it is about to molt.
Molting in tarantulas is similar to shedding in a reptile.
In order to grow, they need to lose their tough outer exoskeleton to make room for a new one. They must periodically shed this protective layer and form a new, larger one. Molting is a normal process that all tarantulas go through as they age and grow.
A molting tarantula may appear to be sick or dying to owners unfamiliar with the process.
They stop eating and become sluggish for 2-3 days prior to molting. Once their old exoskeleton begins to split, the spider will flip over and curl their legs in. Within a few hours, they will wriggle free and abandon the old shell.
Your tarantula should not be fed or handled for 1 week after molting. This gives them enough time to recover and for the new exoskeleton to harden.
Pink toe tarantulas are naturally rather shy and hide under plants or in webs for most of the day. Often they will build their own shelter by pulling together nearby plants with webbing shortly after being moved in to an enclosure.
Once they find a suitable hiding spot near the upper corner of the tank, they will rarely venture too far.
Pink toes are normally calm and docile, but they can become defensive if startled or threatened. Their defensive behaviors include:
- Raising their front legs to display their fangs
- Releasing irritating urticating hairs
- Flicking poop towards their attacker
This species is known for being exceptionally docile, but owners should still be aware that their pet is capable of biting if startled.
Biting is only used as a last resort.
Though their large fangs look imposing, pink-toed tarantulas have very mild venom compared to other species. Pink toe tarantula bites are often compared to a bee sting. On rare occasions, a person may have an allergic reaction to tarantula venom that produces a more severe reaction.
Pros and Cons
Pink toe tarantulas make fantastic pets with a little time and effort.
Their husbandry is simple, but they do need a careful, attentive owner.
Healthy diet, warm temperatures, adequate ventilation and stable humidity are the most important factors for keeping them happy.
Many keepers love pink toe tarantulas for their beauty and climbing abilities. They are fascinating to watch as they construct nests, spin webs and explore their surroundings. Their pinkish cream toe tips also make them cute and endearing.
They are skittish and faster than other species but are easy to keep and quite docile.
Though normally calm, they may run and jump if frightened. This makes them not the best for handling. Terrestrial tarantulas are generally slower and easier to hold.
Pink Toe Tarantula Price
Pink toe tarantulas are not an expensive species. For $20 to $40, you can purchase an adult from a captive breeder. Slings and spiderlings are usually much cheaper, selling in the $5-10 range. Slings are cheaper because they are more fragile than adults and their gender is not guaranteed.
You will need to go to a specialty exotic pet shop, reptile expo, or find an online breeder to buy a pink-toed tarantula. They are not common at most chain pet stores.
Captive-bred tarantulas are healthier, tamer and longer-lived than those taken from the wild. You will want to pick one with a full, round abdomen, no discolored patches or bald spots and a calm personality.
While pink toes used to be imported from the wild, they are at higher risk of carrying parasites and disease. They are also more likely to bite and have shorter lifespans.
Most beginners also pick out a female. There are several reasons why you may want to buy a female pink toe tarantula. For starters, females tend to live almost twice as long as males. Females are also larger, heavier, and bulkier than males. Many owners prefer the look of a larger female pink toe.
Male pink-toe tarantulas are more skittish than females.
If you want to tell whether your young tarantula is male or female, wait until it molts.
Once it molts look inside the abdomen of the shed exoskeleton. There will be a crease of skin between the four white spots near the top of the abdomen. In females, this crease has a teardrop-shaped bump. In males, the crease will be smooth.
The pink toe tarantula is a unique species from Central America, South Americas and the Caribbean.
These tarantulas are named for their light, creamy pink toe tips which contrast beautifully with their black and blue bodies.
Owners love pink toe tarantulas for their unique lifestyle, beautiful colors and manageable size.
The Guyana subspecies is the most widely purchased type of pink toe tarantula and is considered to be the best representative of the genus.
This species is especially attractive for people looking to move beyond keeping traditional spiders, like a jumping spider. While they thrive in captivity, these spiders are best for owners with some prior experience.
Pink toe tarantulas are known for being exceptionally docile, but owners should still be aware that their pet is capable of biting if startled.
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