Lee Richardson Zoo Species Spotlight: Chilean Rose-Haired Tarantula
In this series, we spotlight one of the many fascinating creatures that live at the Lee Richardson Zoo. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the Chilean rose-haired tarantula.
- Common Name: Chilean Rose-Haired Tarantula
- Scientific Name: Grammostola rosea
- Hometown: Deserts and scrublands of South America (Bolivia, Chile, Argentina)
- Current Address: Lee Richardson Zoo – Finnup Center
- Conservation Status: Least Concerned
Meet the Chilean Rose-Haired Tarantula
Also called a red-haired tarantula or a Chilean fire tarantula, the rose-haired tarantula gets its name from the red-colored hairs on its back. Despite its scary appearance, this arachnid is docile and easygoing, making it one of the most popular types of pet spiders in the world.
Life of Solitude
Tarantulas are solitary creatures, spending most of their lives alone in their burrows. They usually only come out to hunt and mate – pretty simple. Females tend to have deeper burrows because they live longer; male burrows are shallow and are changed more frequently.
They typically live in desert and scrub regions and prefer to live in lower altitude areas, which usually have softer soil that’s easier to dig into.
Bugs for Dinner
Tarantulas are nocturnal hunters, preferring to creep around in the dark looking for prey. They eat a wide variety of bugs and other small creatures including crickets, mealworms, locusts, and even larger prey like lizards and mice.
Their hunting style is pretty simple. They just use their large size to pounce on their dinner and subdue it. No need for the time-consuming, complicated web traps used by other spiders.
If you happen to have a tarantula as a pet, crickets are the best option for food. Crickets have guts full of vegetation, which makes them a great source of protein, vitamins, and water for your eight-legged friend.
The reproduction process of a rose-haired tarantula is a pretty strange one. After mating, the female will spin a web, wrap all her fertilized eggs up in a ball, then attach the egg ball to a safe location where she guards it until the eggs hatch.
Female tarantulas can live for 20 years or more while males die within just a few months of mating!
While the tarantula can produce venom, it usually uses it for hunting and eating rather than for defense. To defend itself, this tarantula can release the red hairs on its back, which float through the air and cause vision and breathing problems for an attacker.
Basically, they have built-in, natural spider pepper spray.
Go Take a Look
If you would like to see a Chilean rose-haired tarantula up close, head down to the Lee Richardson Zoo and meet one in person. This awesome arachnid can be found at the Finnup Center. The zoo is open from 8 am to 5 pm, and admission is free! Check out their website here.