Over the last year or two I’ve really started to fall down the rabbit hole of Psalmopoeus tarantulas.
At the time of writing I have roughly 50 specimens of various species, sizes and ages.
As a result I’ve managed to pick up quite a lot of experience in the captive care of this genus. In this article we’ll be talking about one single species; Psalmopoeus reduncus.
As pet tarantulas go, while Psalmopoeus reduncus certainly isn’t a “rare” species in the hobby, it does seem to miss out to some of the more “showy” tarantulas. It is far less common for someone to keep Psalmopoeus reduncus than, say, the Poecilotheria genus (like the ever-popular Indian Ornamental).
Even within the Psalmopoeus genus it is other species like Psalmopoeus irminia (the Venezuelan suntiger) or Psalmopoeus cambridgei (the Trinidad Chevron tarantula) that are more commonly kept. Psalmopoeus reduncus is, in essence, something a little bit “different” than what most keepers have.
If that appeals then read on for my detailed Psalmopoeus reduncus care sheet…
Like other members of the genus, Psalmopoeus reduncus is an arboreal (“tree dwelling”) tarantula. As you might have guessed from the common name, this species hails from the jungles of Central America; more specifically from Costa Rica.
This means that a tall cage with a vertical hide such as a cork bark tube can work well, helping your tarantula to feel at home.
Psalmopoeus reduncus is certainly not what you’d call a “colorful” tarantula species – at least as adults. Their base coloration is a simple yet rich chestnut brown. As they develop and grow many specimens develop attractive chevrons on their abdomen, while the common name stems from the orange/red hairs to be found around their chelicerae (“fangs”).
Interestingly, juveniles can be far more attractive. They develop the most amazing gold/copper-colored abdomen. I’d say that as a result these are arguably one of the most under-rated tarantulas appearance-wise.
Psalmopoeus reduncus is considered within the hobby to be the smallest member of the Psalmopoeus genus. Adults reach a maximum size of around 4.5-5” in legspan, so they are quite a modestly-sized species, easily accommodated in almost any collection.
For the last year or so I’ve been rearing a decent number of Psalmopoeus reduncus spiderlings that I bought in bulk. As a result I’ve had a lot of “hands-on” experience of caring for smaller specimens.
In my experience not only are Psalmopoeus reduncus spiderlings hardy – and therefore quite simple to rear – but they also have impressive growth rates. Even a tiny spiderling will gain impressive size in a short space of time.
My spiderlings have been kept (individually) in clear plastic deli cups with clip-on lids. Most other suitably-sized plastic containers would also work. I used a dissecting needle to gently make holes around the top of the sides of the containers. I don’t make holes in the lids themselves as my spiderling pots are stacked one ontop of the other.
Into this, place some suitable substrate; personally I use fine-grade coconut fibre (coir) which is environmentally-friendly (don’t use peat!) and very absorbent.
- ECO-FRIENDLY ORGANIC and 100% BIODEGRADABLE unlike some reptile substrates that are contributing to deforestation and then go to the landfill
- INCREASES HUMIDITY for animals that need moderate to high humidity
- ABSORBENT composition allows it to soak up messes and odors, leaving a cleaner habitat for your pet
Depending on the size of your deli cup you may want to consider adding a tiny piece of cork bark as a hide. In my experience Psalmopoeus reduncus creates quite a decent amount of web, so if your deli cups are too small for even a tiny bit of cork bark they’ll happily fill it with their own webbing.
From here there are three main considerations. In terms of moisture I give my Psalmopoeus reduncus a light misting once a week, so that the spiderlings can drink from the water droplets.
Try not to mist directly onto your tarantula, which can startle them and increase the chances of them bolting. The containers are allowed to dry out between to prevent a stale environment.
Feed-wise it should come as no surprise for such a fast-growing species that they tend to have a very healthy appetite. Mine have been taking prey twice a week, starting with pinhead black crickets, moving through black crickets of instar ⅔, before reaching the size that they can take small locusts and roaches.
The final point you need to consider is “access”. Psalmopoeus reduncus can be quite a fast-moving tarantula, especially so for spiderlings, so consider how you’ll keep your spider safely contained when you open their lid. This is the reason why I like deli cups with “bendy” plastic lids; I don’t need to take the whole top off for maintenance and can instead simply bend one corner open.
Follow these instructions and you’ll be rehousing your Psalmopoeus reduncus into larger quarters in a very short space of time. Which takes us onto the details for larger juveniles and adult specimens…
Cages & Housing
Psalmopoeus reduncus is quite a modestly-sized tarantula so doesn’t require a huge cage. For adults I would suggest a cage of around 20cm wide by 20cm deep by 30cm tall as a minimum. Of course, larger containers can be used.
As with other arboreal tarantulas a key consideration is height. Ideally you’ll be able to include one or more cork bark tubes, into which your Psalmopoeus reduncus can hide away during daylight hours.
Examples of cages that you might choose to use include:
Exo Terra and ReptiZoo glass cages are great-looking glass tanks with the benefit of a front-opening door (ideal for tank maintenance) and a mesh lid to facilitate good ventilation.
- Front opening door with locking latch for easy cleaning or feeding your reptile
- Compact design mini tank with escape-proof door locks to prevent escape
- The full screen top ventilation allows UVB and infrared penetration
The only real downside of these in my book is that they can be reasonably expensive, so may not be the best solution if you’re on a tight budget. For anyone wanting the “ultimate” tarantula display, however, they can be ideal.
So long as the Critter Keeper you choose has enough vertical height for your cork bark hide then these too can be used. They are not quite as practical in my opinion, despite the excellent ventilation they offer, as you’ll need to be careful when taking the lid off for feeding and watering your Psalmopoeus reduncus.
- Rectangular Kritter Keepers have self-locking lids with hinged viewer/ feeder windows
- Capacity: 5.90 GAlarge. Size: 15 3/4-inch large by 9 3/8-inch width by 12 1/2-inch height
- Kritter Keepers have well-ventilated lids in assorted colors
Plastic Cereal Containers
Plastic storage containers can be repurposed for Psalmopoeus reduncus, particularly the taller models such as those sold to store breakfast cereals. Under these circumstances be sure to add ventilation holes with an electric drill or soldering iron (in a well-ventilated area).
Many keepers of arboreal tarantulas use plastic sweet jars as accommodation. These can often be sourced online, or even from a local confectionary store, and cost very little.
Personally I’m not a huge fan, having tried them, as the narrow neck can make tank maintenance more difficult; I like a decent working space. All the same, if you’re on a budget then a sweet jar could prove a suitable solution, so long as ventilation holes are added.
Whatever cage you choose, line the base of the cage with some suitable substrate, with popular options including coconut fibre (my choice), peat-free potting compost or topsoil. Add one or more pieces of cork bark so your Psalmopoeus reduncus can hide away during the day and you’re all set.
Heating & Temperature
Psalmopoeus reduncus is reasonably undemanding in terms of temperatures. My specimens are all kept in my “spider room” at a temperature of around 22 – 24 degrees Celsius (72 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit). At these temperatures my Psalmopoeus reduncus have grown rapidly, though I imagine a few degrees warmer wouldn’t do them any harm.
If your home is consistently warm then this species may be fine at “room temperature”. For those of us in colder areas, however, some artificial heating may prove beneficial in the winter.
Water & Humidity
All my larger tarantulas, including Psalmopoeus reduncus, have access to a water bowl. These are kept topped up, and they are scrubbed clean in hot water (but not chemicals) and left to air dry as part of my maintenance routine.
Having visited Costa Rica myself, I know the humidity levels in this part of the world can be exceptional. At the same time, we want to avoid “wet” or “stagnant” conditions which can be the death of any tarantula.
For adults I give a gentle misting once every few weeks. Smaller specimens are misted more frequently as tiny tarantulas seem more prone to dehydration in my experience. Allow the cage to dry out between mistings, and ensure good ventilation at all times.
Food & Feeding
I’ve been really impressed with the appetite of Psalmopoeus reduncus. They very rarely refuse food, except when they’re coming up to a moult. While my adults are fed once a week, spiderlings and juveniles are fed every 4-5 days and under these conditions will grow rapidly.
As always, take care to remove any uneaten feeder insects to prevent them stressing your spider, or potentially causing problems during a moult.
Handling & Temperament
Psalmopoeus reduncus is quite a fast-moving tarantula. Being arboreal it can easily scale vertical surfaces. I therefore would try to avoid handling this species for risk of an escapee running loops around your home.
Photo by Döw (hun)
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