Neoholothele Incei (Trinidad Olive) Tarantula Care Sheet

The Trinidad Olive tarantula is a popular pet tarantula, despite its diminutive adult size. There are a couple of reasons for this…

Color Forms

Neoholothele incei is found in two different color forms. Firstly there is a traditional form consisting primarily of an olive background color with attractive striped markings on the abdomen. The carapace in some specimens can almost look metallic.

N incei

In addition to this “standard” form however is the “gold” variety. As the name would suggest this is a bright orange/ginger tarantula. 

N incei Gold form

Both color forms are kept in the same manner. 

If you buy a Neoholothele incei online (without seeing the specimen first) then you may want to enquire which color form is on offer. Generally the olive form is treated as the “default” while “gold” specimens will have this added onto the end of their Latin name in some way. An example would be “Neoholothele incei gold”. 

Heavy Web Production

Neoholothele incei is considered a “heavy webber” – that is to say that they produce copious amounts of web around their cage. There’s no denying that this just looks cool, and it can be fascinating to watch their lair slowly develop over weeks and months. 

Communal Behaviour

Neoholothele incei has gained a reputation in the tarantula hobby for communal living. Unlike many other tarantulas, which will rapidly eat each other if kept together, some keepers claim to have successfully kept groups of this species together for long periods of time. Like Monocentropus balfouri, this creates added interest for the hobbyist. 

Before you go off and throw a load of Neoholothele incei in together, however, an important warning is necessary. Not everyone agrees that Neoholothele incei is a communal tarantula species, and some keepers have experienced heavy and disappointing losses when keeping specimens together. 

As yet, I have not tried to keep them communally – though I plan to test it in the future – so I have no personal opinion on the matter. While I’m not a betting man, I would suggest still keeping this species separate from one another so as to avoid any risk of cannibalism. 

Modest Housing Requirements 

Neoholothele incei is quite a small tarantula, even when adult. That means they require only modest caging, so can be accommodated by almost any tarantula keeper, no matter how little space you have available. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the fascinating Trinidad Olive tarantula then I’m thrilled to bring you my Neoholothele incei care sheet based on the 30 or so specimens currently in my collection…

Wild Habitat

Despite the common name of Trinidad Olive this species is also reported found in Venezuela. 

Originally described as long ago as 1898 by FOP-Cambridge the Latin name has actually changed in recent years. This tarantula has been known in the past as both Hapalopus incei and Holothele incei, and sometimes you will still see it so-named. All these names relate to the same spider, and at the time of writing Neoholothele incei is considered the scientifically accurate Latin name.  

Neoholothele incei is a ground-dwelling tarantula, which may produce a burrow but will also produce large amounts of web within their cage. 

Cages & Housing

Opinions differ as to whether Neoholothele incei should be referred to as a “dwarf tarantula” – this probably isn’t helped by the fact that there’s no “official” definition of what this really means. Whatever the case, it’s a phrase often applied to Neoholothele incei, and indicates that they are relatively small tarantulas even as adults. 

Adult female Neoholothele incei reach around 3” in legspan. While many adult males achieve similar dimensions, some specimens mature at an even smaller size.

That means that Neoholothele incei does not need a massive cage at all. Indeed, a container of 9” long by 6” deep would be perfectly suited to even an adult specimen.

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Of course, if you decide to try your luck at keeping Neoholothele incei communally then you may want to scale this up so each specimen has enough space.

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While there’s nothing wrong with providing larger cages for Neoholothele incei, you may want to reserve such containers for spiders that get much larger.  

One important factor to consider when it comes to Neoholothele incei is that these tarantulas can be ridiculously fast. Like, seriously speedy. An escaped Neoholothele incei is not going to be fun to try and catch as you find out just how slow your reflexes are in comparison!

It is therefore wise when thinking of cages to consider how you can minimize the chances of an escape happening when you open the cage. Sure, you should open the cage gently and slowly, and be sure not to actually breathe on or mist your tarantula when the cage is open, which might be enough to spook them into a dash for freedom.

Cages where you don’t need to remove the entire lid for maintenance can be particularly handy for the Trinidad Olive. Some examples might include:

Exo Terra Nano

Probably the best-looking cage for Neoholothele incei are the diminutive Exo Terra Nano glass terrariums.

Measuring in at just 20cm x 20cm they’re ideally suited to keeping small tarantula species like this.

They offer excellent ventilation and the front-opening door means that throwing some food in or topping up the water doesn’t need to be a major risk.

Critter Keepers / Faunariums

There are a huge range of cages that resemble the popular “Faunarium”. They’re generally clear plastic containers with a mesh grid lid that clips on firmly.

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While they don’t look anywhere near as good as an Exo Terra in my opinion, the benefit they offer is that many sizes offer a small “trap door” in the lid. This can make throwing in a few live insects on feeding day simplicity itself. 

Plastic Storage Containers with Bendy Lids 

For my smaller specimens I’ve found that plastic storage containers with lids that bend easily can work well. In this way you can easily bend up one corner to access the container, without needing to remove the entire lid.

My spiderlings, for example, are currently in small deli cups, and it’s so easy to just pop one side of the lid up and drop some crickets in. 

Heating & Temperature

Coming from the relatively balmy areas of Trinidad and Venezuela it should come as no surprise that Neoholothele incei appreciates a warm environment.

Furthermore, like other tarantulas, the warmer they are kept (within reason) the faster they will grow and mature. If you’re buying a smaller specimen to save money then keeping it cosy and warm will ensure a healthy, mature specimen that bit quicker. 

In terms of specific temperatures, Neoholothele incei seems to do well at temperatures of around 20-25 degrees C (68 – 77 degrees F). It may be that your home is suitably warm all year round – in which case no supplementary heating will be required.

Water & Humidity

Many Neoholothele incei care sheets tell you that the cage substrate should be wet at all times. I personally haven’t found that to be the case, and an overly wet and stagnant environment can be dangerous for pet tarantulas.

All tarantulas should have access to a water bowl when they are large enough for it to be safe. Sadly, for such a small species of tarantula, it is really only the larger specimens for whom this is the case. As a heavy webbing tarantula, Neoholothele incei also has a nasty habit of webbing all over its water bowl until it slowly disappears from view!

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There are a number of solutions here. Firstly, I suggest gently misting your Neoholothele incei cage from time-to-time. Once or twice a week works well. Allow the cage to dry out between misting, so that a “wet” environment is avoided. Be sure to spray on the webbing and on the side of the container – not just the substrate – so that your Trinidad Olive can drink from these droplets if it so desires. 

From around an inch in legspan I would try to provide an open water bowl, but appreciate that this may need to be replaced as it slowly disappears from view. Something cheap, light and easily replaced makes sense – such as a bottle lid or a tiny deli cup. Top up the water regularly. 

Tank Decor

Thanks to their extensive web production very few items of tank decor are really necessary for Neoholothele incei. To start you’ll want to line the base of the cage with some substrate. Coir fibre or potting compost are two popular options that work well.

Choosing the depth of substrate for Neoholothele incei can be tricky. On the one hand, if you provide lots of substrate then your tarantula will likely happily create a burrow in which to hide. The downside is that they often won’t then go on to produce all the webbing that you see in many cages. 

As a result many tarantula keepers opt to provide only a modest depth of substrate to Neoholothele incei. Instead, they provide additional decor items like twigs, dry leaves and pieces of bark to act as “anchor points” for webbing. 

Speaking of bark, while I would always advise you to include somewhere for your tarantula to hide – such as a plant pot or piece of cork bark – in reality your Neoholothele incei will likely start constructing its own silken retreat within days of being introduced to their cage. Even a hide may not therefore be strictly necessary for this species. 

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Food & Feeding

One of the things that I love about my Neoholothele incei specimens is just how quickly they seem to grow! Unsurprisingly, a fast-growing tarantula typically has a healthy appetite to fuel all this growth. 

Despite their small size, Neoholothele incei aren’t afraid of decent-sized prey items. Most specimens will happily take down any feeder insect up to roughly their body length. 

Personally I shun crickets wherever possible, because they can cause damage to your spider if left in the cage. They can also escape and are so annoying if they sit behind your fridge chirping away all night!

My preference is for suitably-sized locusts and roaches wherever possible, with the odd home-cultured mealworm to add variety. 

My specimens are fed every 4-5 days at present, though a slightly longer period of time between feedings won’t cause any issues; it just means your tarantula will likely grow a little more slowly. 

Handling & Temperament

Neoholothele incei is not a tarantula you can handle. While I wouldn’t say that these are defensive or aggressive spiders, their speed means that trying to hold one could well end in disaster. 

Personally I would be very careful whenever you try to move your Neoholothele incei from one container to another. When rehousing into a larger container, for example, it may be safest to simply place the smaller container into the larger one, remove the lid and just be patient until your spider decides to explore their new cage. 

Richard Adams

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