Latin Name: Brachypelma smithi Adult Size: 15cm to 18cm leg span. Average Life Span: Males up to 10 years, females up to 30 years. Native Distribution: Western coast of Mexico, south western U.S. and Panama. Physical Description: Abdomen is black, carapace is dark brown to black with orange edges, legs are grey-black with bright reddish-orange near the joints. Temperament: A docile insectivore / carnivore. Status in the Wild: CITES II.
Native Habitat: Found in semi-desert scrubland where they seek shelter in burrows. Ambient Temperature: 22C to 28C. Basking Temperature: Not applicable. Humidity Range: 60% to 75% for spiderlings, 40% to 75% for adults. Lighting: Full spectrum fluorescent. Terrarium Size: Spiderlings and adults must be kept singly. Adults need at least 50sq.cm of floor space. Terrarium Decor: Arid semi-desert motif. Terrarium Substrate: Dry peat moss mixed with fir bark chips. Provide a shallow dish for water and humidity. Terrarium Containment: Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas can easily climb branches and smooth surfaces. A top is necessary.
Hygiene: Remove uneaten food items within 12 hours. Clean water dish as needed. Feeding: Offer food items every two weeks. Tarantulas are capable of killing and eating prey that is as large as themselves. Handling: Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas are one of the most docile of all tarantulas, however their urticating hairs can be quite irritating to some people. If irritation develops, wash the affected area with soap and water. If urticating hairs get into the eyes or airways, seek medical attention. Always handle tarantulas over a soft surface as a fall could easily kill them. Those with allergies to insect bites should never handle a tarantula. Terrarium Compatibility: Must be kept on their own.
Maturity: Males mature between 3 and 5 years. Females mature between 5 and 8 years of age. Sexing: Adult males are smaller than females, have club-shaped pedipalps and tibial hooks on the first pair of walking legs. See mature Male Mexican Red-Knee Tarantula photograph. Conditioning: Keep adults well fed with a variety of foods. Cycling: Once the male has matured, wait until he builds a sperm web. For best results breed Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas between November and December. Sex Ratio: Breed in closely supervised M/F pairs. Introduce the male into the female's enclosure as far away from the female as possible. If the male avoids the female, remove him and try again a few weeks later. Remove the male immediately after mating, otherwise he may be killed and eaten by the female. Multiple matings produce the best results. See Mexican Red-Knee Tarantulas mating photographs. Egg Laying: Provide the female with a bowl shaped enclosure for spinning the egg sack and laying eggs, e.g. a coconut shell. Females will lay eggs between April and June.
Incubation Temperature: 22C to 30C. Incubation / Gestation Time: Three weeks to hatch, then another three weeks for the spiderlings to emerge from the egg sack. Size at Birth: 2mm spiderling. Hatchling Sex Ratio: Not temperature dependant. Feeding: Keep spiderlings well fed with baby crickets and wingless fruit flies. Housing: Spiderlings must be kept individually. Small plastic medicine containers work well.