Brazilian White Knee Tarantula (Acanthoscurria geniculata) Care Sheet

I’m embarrassed to admit that when the Brazilian White Knee tarantula started to enter the hobby I was far from impressed. At the time I was focusing my attention on the more colourful species of tarantula such as the Greenbottle Blue, the Cobalt Blue and the Indian Ornamental.

Then along comes a tarantula that is just boring brown with white stripes on its legs – hardly what you’d call exciting when compared to brilliant blue and yellow specimens. But in retrospect I realized what a big mistake I made. Fortunately, this all became clear in the last few years when I finally picked up a few juveniles at a knock-down price.

Now, the Brazilian White Knee tarantula (Acanthoscurria geniculata) has become one of my favorite species of tarantula for a whole load of reasons. Where shall we start? Firstly, I have found that the Brazilian White Knee has one of the healthiest appetites of any tarantula I’ve kept.

Mine eat pretty much every single day unless they’re coming up to moult! What’s more they don’t mess around – the locust has barely touched the substrate before they pounce on it like a starved tiger. It really is something to see – and that makes feeding this species brilliant fun!

There’s more. This rate of feeding also makes them very fast growing tarantulas indeed, rather like Salmon Pinks, and even a small specimen will grow so fast you’ll be shocked. This means that they’re a great tarantula choice if you want a big, chunky specimen but are on a small budget. Just buy a tiddler and feed them liberally; in months they’ll grow bigger than you could imagine.

But what about those “boring” colors? Well, get up close to a Brazilian White Knee tarantula and you’ll find that they actually have quite a subtle beauty. This is also helped by how big they get – and how quickly.

brazilian white knee tarantula photo

If you’re looking for a big, impressive tarantula that grows rapidly and eats like its never seen food before then this is the tarantula for you! Let’s discuss exactly how to keep this species now in our detailed Brazilian White Knee tarantula care sheet…

Wild Habitat of the Brazilian White Knee

As the name suggests, Acanthoscurria geniculata is South American tarantula species. Originally described in 1841 by Koch, they are typically found in the Amazon rainforest areas of Brazil. Published field studies have noted specimens in Roraima, in the Carajás region and in Floresta Nacional de Caxiuanã.

This location data highlights that the Brazilian White Knee tarantula is most encountered in the north of Brazil, which is coincidentally also the least-populated area of the country. Sadly, this area is also rich in mineral deposits, and houses some of the largest iron ore mines in South America. Limited conservation studies have yet to reveal whether these activities are impacting numbers of this species.

This equatorial part of the world maintains a comfortable year-round temperature of around 26’C, with heavy rainfall during part of the year and generally quite high humidities. This habitat data suggests that both in size and lifestyle it may be wise to see the care of Acanthoscurria geniculata is being similar to spiders like the Salmon Pink Birdeater.

One interesting point worth making before we move on is that this is considered to be the first species of tarantula to have it’s DNA sampled. Scientists in Denmark announced in a paper published in Nature that they had completed a “draft assembly of the mygalomorph Brazilian white-knee tarantula, Acanthoscurria geniculata” in 2014.

Brazilian White Knee Housing

I rarely see Brazilian White Knee tarantulas for sale as adults – though it does happen. More likely you’re going to end up purchasing a juvenile and rearing it up to maturity. So while that baby Acanthoscurria geniculata might be fine in a small plastic tub for a few months it will likely soon outgrow this home. Soon enough they’ll be needing a “proper” tarantula tank that gives them suitable space to move around and live a natural lifestyle.

For mid-size Acanthoscurria geniculata I use a variety of plastic tubs. The best ones have a hinged lid so that I can peel open one end of the cage and throw in their food without having to take the whole lid off. They also have ventilation holes to allow air to circulate freely.

For larger specimens, however, a good-size glass or plastic cage will be required. Due to their impressive adult size (this species may reach a legspan of 8”) I would suggest a floor area of some 8” x 10” at the minimum, though I like to house mine in larger cages where I can add some more natural features to really set them off a treat.

In a cage of around 30cm in each direction you’ll be able to landscape the cage, including logs, artificial plants and more to really create an amazing display.

You may find that your local reptile store stocks specialist tarantula tanks made from glass or plastic with suitable ventilation. Alternatively my preferred choice for tarantulas are Exo Terra cages or ReptiZoo terrariums, which look great and offer a long list of practical benefits. They have a grill lid to allow for suitable ventilation and the lockable front-opening doors make feeding and routine tank maintenance a breeze.

REPTIZOO Glass Mini 8 Gallon Reptile Terrarium 12" x 12" x 12", Small Habitat Cage Breeder Enclosure for Leopard Gecko Tarantula Young Lizard Insects, Top Screen Ventilation & Feeding
  • Features with full view glass, this small Patend Design 8 gallon glass terrarium is convenient for feeding and having fun with your reptile or small animal pets.
  • Compact and flat-packed design mini reptile tank with top opening to prevent escape and easy feeding. With a transparent PVC tray in the bottom for holding water and substrate
  • The full screen top ventilation with thinner mesh wire allows more UVA UVB and infrared heat penetration.

It is worth investing a decent sum of money into your Acanthoscurria geniculata cage because these are big, hairy and impressive tarantulas which often sit out in the open. As a result, they can be a great species for keepers on the lookout for a good “show” tarantula.