These are some of the most common tarantulas sold in US petstores. They've recently undergone a host of name changes (from Phrixotrichus auratus to P.roseus and P.spatulata)
since there are many color variations and people thought they were different species. Most are brownish overall (their rumps look like little kiwis) with a coppery carapace that shines like a new penny. Others have a more brownish carapace and some are quite pinkish/red all over.
Range: Northern Chile
(Atacama region), Argentina, and nearby areas
Habitat: Dry scrubland
Size: Medium tarantula. Fully grown, they're about 5" in legspan.
Attitude: Usually very docile and slow-moving, but some rare individuals can be snippity. The ones I have are the nicest tarantulas I've ever seen- none have even so much as flicked hairs at me. Their main defense seems to be slowly shrinking away. Just mind their moods and become familiar with an individual before trying to get it to walk onto your hand.
They mate quite easily, though the female is often aggressive toward the male after the act.
Getting a mated female to produce an eggsac, however, can be difficult.
Dwelling: Opportunistic spiders that may use a provided shelter. Often times, captive rosehairs will desire to sit atop a shelter rather than go in one.
The great variation in colors that led to many different species names. . . .
A leggy male rosehair
Due to people's ignorance, here's the disgusting environment many rosehairs live in for months in some petstores
Here's the ragged, starving female that came out of the cup to the left. She has since recovered. It's amazing how an animal that needs such a minimal amount of attention could be in such a state. . . .
Ideal Setup: Most
adult rosehairs will get along swimmingly with very little. A 5 gallon
container with a thin layer of substrate, a shelter, and a water dish works
well. They like it dry, so don't bother moistening the substrate
except upon its initial application.
Food: Any bugs that haven't been exposed to pesticides (2-5 crickets a week for adults). Many rosehairs are notorious for going on great fasts for no apparent reason. Some suspect they fast during the chilly winters in Chile (that pun had to be done, sorry), which is June through August, and may carry this trait with them to the northern hemisphere. I have one (in the top left picture on this page) that eats one or two crickets a month, and that after not eating anything for many months. If its rear stays plump, don't worry- it knows what it's doing.
As a side note, I have observed two Rosehairs secrete clear fluid from their mouth area, as if they were drooling. One was a male red phase and the other was a brown female with a coppery carapace. They appeared healthy and continued to get along fine afterward. They did not molt in the months following, consume more or less food or water, or do anything at all out of the ordinary. In both instances, crickets were placed in the tarantulas' containers just prior to the drooling.
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