Author: Tung
•Saturday, December 27, 2008
Updated: 05 April 2009

If you are new to the hobby and wonder what specie you should get, you are in the right place. However, before you read on, let me remind you: respect the Tarantula. All Tarantulas are venomous and some can cause serious medical consequences with their bites. This post is based on my personal experience and research so your experience may be different. I shall not be held responsible for any harm and/or negative consequences (to anyone and/or anything) resulting directly and/or indirectly from my article.

Ok, done with the formality, let's get rolling. All sizes are leg span size.

10. Pterinochilus murinus (Orange Baboon Tarantula)
This African specie is nicknamed "Orange Bitey Thing" (OBT) for a reason. It has a bad attitude and dangerous venom. It is also small (5" adult size) but extremely fast and ready to bite. In fact, this is the only Old World specie that makes it to the top 10 list. There are 3 reasons that pushes it up. The small reasons are that it grows like weed and is beautifully orange with nice black pattern. The big reasons is its hardiness. You probably have to go out trying to kill it to get a dead OBT. It is a webbing burrower but insufficient substrate is no problem - it will just adopt an artificial hide and web it up in to a "burrow". No hide? it just web itself its own hide. It can survive in almost any humidity, from bone dry to swampy. And you can go on a holiday and leave an adult without food for a week month with no problem (though it may think your finger is food the next time you feed).

9. Brachypelma albopilosum (Curly Hair Tarantula)
This terrestrial Tarantula is a hobby classic with the appearance of a perpetual bad hair day. This specie is generally docile and slow with moderately itchy urticating hair (if you can push it to use it). It also has no specific humidity requirement. The drawback is that it can be a bit picky with food and grow slowly.

8. Grammostola rosea (Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula)
I prefer to call this Chilean Rose Tarantula. It is another hobby classic and usually recommended to beginner (but as you can see, it is definitely not the number 1). You can usually find them in either Common Color Form (pink hair, pink carapace) or Red Color Form (Bright red hair). Widely considered to be docile, this specie sometimes produce specimen with defensive, even aggressive attitude aka "psycho rosie". It is generally slow (moving and growing), grows to around 6" and its urticating hair is moderately itchy. The two biggest complains are its inactivity (a content Rose Hair basically does nothing - though there is a trick you can use to make it slightly more active) and its unexplained fast (sometimes a Rose Hair will just not eat for no reason for a long period of time - sometimes lasting 6 months or more!). Mine eats well, though. Rose Hair is known for HATING wet substrate - it will hang itself on the enclosure wall for days until the substrate dry out. But keeping bone dry substrate is actually a plus - because you don't need to do anything!

7. Brachypelma vagans (Mexican Red Rump Tarantula)
This terrestrial Tarantula is velvety black with bright red abdomen hair. It is one of the faster grower of the Brachypelma genus (if not the fastest) - up to around 6". It is generally slow moving and docile but can have some unpredictable stretch of skittishness (and hair flicking - its urticating hair is moderately itchy). The plus is that it is good with food and has no specific humidity requirement.

6. Lasiodora difficilis (Brazilian Fire Red Tarantula)
This terrestrial Tarantula is packed with attitude. It is very defensive, quickly showing threat poses at the slightest disturbance and flick a lot of moderately itchy hair (which together can give you a serious rash). It is fortunately slow moving and spend more time threat posing than doing something serious. It grows very fast and adult can reach 9" with a huge appetite to satisfy the grow rate (I nicknamed mine "Living Trash Compactor"). Although it has no specific humidity requirement, it seems to enjoy a bit of misting every now and then.

5. Brachypelma smithi (Mexican Red Knee Tarantula)
This terrestrial Tarantula is another hobby classic and commonly seen on movies! It is beautiful, slow moving, slow growing (adult size is around 6") and docile. Some specimen will be prone to flicking moderately itchy hair (staying true to its Brachypelma heritage). It also has no specific humidity requirement but hates wet substrate and is not the best eater.

4. Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens (Greenbottle Blue Tarantula)
This Tarantula is BEAUTIFUL with blue-green carapace and legs and black-red/orange-ish abdomen and orange hair. It is terrestrial but webs as much as an arboreal (though some arboreal don't web much at all). This specie does not tolerate high humidity which can cause stress and even death. It can reach 6" at medium grow speed. It is moderately fast and quick to flick highly itchy hair. This specie eats very well and I have seen mine hunting/digging up prey in multiple occasions.

3. Acanthoscurria geniculata (Brazilian Giant White Knee Tarantula)
This specie is velvety black with white/yellow stripes on its legs. It can grow quickly to a huge 8" leg span with bulky body. You will often find your genic hungry, ready to eat and crushing its prey in multiple bites - the crunching sound is quite entertaining. Ok, that's kinda not true. You will find your genic ALWAYS hungry and ready to eat - there is just no limit to its stomach, probably the most hungry specie in the top 10. It has no special humidity requirement but seems to enjoy a bit of misting. This is one of the best specie as a display Tarantula because it simply does not understand the concept of hiding and has no problem hanging out in the open, regardless of the many eyes staring at it. The biggest draw back is that this specie loves to flick extremely itchy hair at disturbance.

2. Grammostola aureostriata (Chaco Golden Knee Tarantula)
The chaco is like a genic, with less black, "golden" knee and less white stripes. It can also grow to a huge 8" but at medium-slow speed (more slow than medium but definitely faster than a Chilean Rose). It makes up for that with a very docile attitude. I have never heard of a "psycho chaco". The urticating hair is a moderately itchy but it won't use it often, if at all. Three other pluses are good appetite, no specific humidity requirement and slow speed.

1. Lasiodora parahybana (Brazilian Salmon Pink Tarantula)
The champion is here for many reasons as I have found more and more people recommending LP as the best beginner's Tarantula. Firstly, it can grow to a huge size of 10" in weed growing speed (read: VERY VERY VERY fast). Growing from a 1" spiderling to 6" in a year is not rare. It is also available in abundant due to the large number of eggs in one sac. If genic is the champion of glutony, the LP is not very far behind. But a LP is a lot more docile. I have seen people handling 9"-10" specimen with no problem as the Tarantula just sat contently and move slowly. But don't push it because the fangs can cause mechanical damage (the urticating hair is moderately itchy). It is also very visible, usually hang out in the open for you to marvel at. Be prepare to get a big tank for this one! A 10" LP needs minimum a 20-gallon tank to show off!

So that's it! I really hope you can choose a good Tarantula that will grow your interest in the hobby. Thanks for reading.
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On January 26, 2009 at 4:51 PM , Anonymous said...

i have bought a chilean rose and you are right. . .it doesnt do anything lol. .although i'm pretty sure its due for a molt. . .what is the "trick" u mentioned to make it more active? also mine is around the 8 month age mark. .. btw my name is tania

On January 27, 2009 at 2:11 PM , Anonymous said...

hello. . tania again. . .my chilean rose also seems to be leaking from joints n under the main abdomen.. . under its leg joint that attach to the body there appear to be splits also . . .can u give me any advice? im new to the spider world as up until recently i was petrified of any spider and bought my chilean rose to get over my fear. . i have handled it tho which im very pleased with. ..also i am from the uk. . could u plz reply to my questions? i wud b very grateful thankyou

On January 31, 2009 at 12:30 PM , Anonymous said...

Have you dropped it recently? Has it fallen from anywhere? Sounds an awful lot like your T is bleeding from the abdomen. There are many things you can try to do to save it but this usually results in death.

If you plan on getting another T make sure never to handle it too high off the floor, make sure that there is nothing it can climb too high on in it's enclosure.

The slit you're talking about may not be the cut though. Take a good look. Also, pictures might be helpful. It has been a couple of days to give us a little update.

Hope everything works out!

On February 2, 2009 at 7:21 AM , Anonymous said...

hello. . .me again, nope my T hadnt been dropped. . .. It molted last nite!!!!! The leaking must have been the phenomenon that happens occasionally, i watched him make his web bed n flip over, but didnt see the actual molt as it happened wen i was in bed. . .its a lot bigger now and has come thru with all legs intact. also the tank is shallow so it doesnt have room to fall. i will try to get some pics to post to u, n thanks for the advice

On February 3, 2009 at 4:22 PM , Anonymous said...

btw how long cud it take for it to eat? as it hasnt eaten at all in my care ive had it for 14 days now n still isnt interested in eating. . .it just seems to keep covering its carapace with its legs all bunched up. . its fangs r still red. . .im concerned as it seems to be shrinking now

On February 3, 2009 at 8:57 PM , Anonymous said...

The Tarantula will not eat while it is in premolt (before molting) and a while after it has molted. Red fangs mean the T has not harden up sufficiently and will not be able to eat. Live preys at this time will be extremely dangerous for the T. So wait till the fangs are black before even attempting to feed again. Covering carapace with legs = sign of stress = you should leave it alone.

On February 12, 2009 at 6:16 PM , Anonymous said...

i have bought a sling which was delivered to me 3 hours ago. . .on careful inspection it has a broken left front leg & pedipalp. . the shop owner delivered it to me as i had to order by phone as i dont have transport to get to the shop. .what shud i do? demand a new replacement sling or wait and see if it comes thru the next molt? its smaller than the nail on my little finger (i have small hands). . will it survive a molt? its front leg is bent right under its body n seems of no use to the sling.its not much bigger than a money spider n is a red knee

On February 12, 2009 at 8:21 PM , Anonymous said...

You should at least call the shop owner to first ask for a replacement. Ask nicely and usually they will give you a replacement. Broken legs/pedipalps can grow back but for tiny tiny slings, they will have a very hard time eating and grow the broken limbs back.

On February 13, 2009 at 10:33 AM , Anonymous said...

i took your advice and called the shop. . .they have offered to replace the sling but only if it dies as a result of injury or if it doesnt make it thru the next molt.. .it has also thrown a pedipalp off overnite but the injured leg is still attached . .they said it molted 2weeks ago so shud b due for a molt next week or fortnite. . .i did ask nicely but the man says he has over 30yrs of experience n wont replace it unless it dies. . .so i guess i will have to cross my fingers and wait ,. . .thankyou for the advice and prompt replies. . .this site is great!!!!!

On February 20, 2009 at 2:19 PM , Anonymous said...

I want to know the trick for Chilean Rose as well.

On March 15, 2009 at 2:59 PM , Anonymous said...


On March 24, 2009 at 12:31 PM , Anonymous said...

i have a chilean rose tarantula called chilli but shes only a baby.
i was wondering do you have any tips on keeping the spider happy + healthy????


On April 4, 2009 at 10:50 PM , Anonymous said...

Your LP picture isn't an LP, it's actually a g. aureostriata now known as g. pulchripes.

On April 5, 2009 at 10:53 PM , Anonymous said...

Thank you. I can't believe I made that mistake. :D I have edited the post with my LP pic. :D