The Rose Hair Tarantula is one of the very best pet tarantulas for beginners.
They are naturally very docile and can be safely and easily handled. They’re also long-lived, very forgiving and are relatively cheap to buy when compared with other popular tarantula species.
Growing to a respectable size of around 5″ across the legs, the Rose Hair therefore makes an ideal pet.
Interestingly, the Chilean Rose Hair (Grammostola rosea) comes in two main color forms; the standard brown color, often accompanied by a pinkish or purplish carapace, and a far more colorful “red” version with bright red/ginger hairs.
This second form is sometimes known as the “Chilean Flame” or “Chilean Fire” to differentiate it from the more common – and plain – form.
Debate is still ongoing (and has been for decades) as to whether these are distinct species or simply different color forms of the same. For now, most taxonomists agree these are likely to be simply different forms of the main species, hence the single Latin name in use for them.
Rose Hair Tarantula Environment
The Rose Hair is known to come from Chile (hence the words “Chile or Chilean” often added to the name) but is actually much more widespread. Specimens of this tarantula have been found as far afield as Bolivia and Argentina, where they are typically to be found in dry scrubland and desert areas.
Here they may burrow or – more commonly – will simply find shelter from the sun wherever it comes, such as crawling beneath rocks, plants or dead branches.
The Rose Haired Tarantula has also become known as a “wanderer”. That is to say that unlike many tarantula species, who dig a burrow and never stray far except to moult or hunt, the Rose Hair is more likely to travel far and wide, seeking cover where it is to be found.
Studies of Grammostola rosea suggest that they try to maintain a body temperature of around 23’C, though this varies throughout the day, with an increased interest in warmer conditions early in the day.
As a cold-blooded species this makes perfect sense; after a relatively cool night it is natural to seek out warmer temperatures in the morning.
Chilean Rose Caging
The Chilean Rose is a reasonably forgiving species in captivity which helps to make it the perfect beginners tarantula.
The best Rose Hair tarantula cages are typically made from plastic or glass, which allows for easy cleaning while providing an excellent view of your pet.
This cage should measure no less than 12″ x 8″ but the larger the better for such a relatively active spider.
If you’re considering buying a Rose Hair you should note that these are agile spiders which may try (successfully) to climb the sides of their cage.
A close-fitting lid is therefore critical to prevent escapees.
Just as importantly, for a desert/scrubland species such as this the humidity should not be allowed to get too high. Damp, soggy cages are to be avoided, though extra care should be taken at moulting time to provide a suitable humidity for your pet.
Personally I am a huge fan of Exo Terra and ReptiZoo cages for terrestrial tarantulas. The gauze lid provides excellent ventilation, the tanks are designed to make adding electrical units (such as heating) very simple indeed and they also look great.
- 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.
However if you’d rather use an alternative cage there are an assortment of alternatives available, including specialist tarantula vivariums and Kritter Keepers are also perfectly suited.
- 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
Chile Rose Temperature
Coming from desert areas it should be no surprise that Rose Haired Tarantulas like a warm environment.
As stated earlier, an average temperature of around 23’C, with warmer and cooler areas to allow thermoregulation, is ideal.
Water & Humidity
All larger tarantulas should have a shallow dish of fresh water available to them at all times. The water should be changed regularly, with the bowl being thoroughly scrubbed to remove any algae or bacteria.
Cage Furnishings for Rose Hair Tarantulas
Putting aside the water bowl, what else does a Rose Hair need to be happy in captivity?
The first element is some form of substrate to line the base of the cage.
While there are a range of different substrates available, arguably the best is coir – or composted coconut husk.
- 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
This provides an attractive background for your spider. It also absorbs moisture well, helping to retain humidity, while allowing your pet to move it around to its own design.
A layer of 1-2cm tends to be perfectly acceptable for this species.
Tarantulas are naturally quite shy animals, mostly moving about after dark. As large and juicy animals they make an ideal meal for all sorts of predators, it makes perfect sense that they should spend much of the day hiding away out of view.
When keeping rose hair tarantulas, therefore, it is important to provide some sort of “hide” – somewhere your spider can feel safe and secure during daylight.
Examples can include pieces of curved cork bark or a plastic flower pot laid on its side. Whatever option you choose, the hide should be big enough to allow your tarantula to safely climb in/under and so feel secure.
- Safe for all reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids (i.e. tarantulas).
- Can be easily cut to any desired length or shape
- All natural green" product"
These are the main requirements, however some tarantula keepers opt to take the subject of cage furnishings to extremes. Some keepers select larger cages and then landscape them to try and mimic the wild habitats of these spiders, complete with artificial plants, burrows and rocks.
While this is in no way required, it can be great fun to create a captive habitat like this, and it certainly creates an amazing focal point for your room.
Feeding Rose Hairs
Like all tarantulas, Chilean Roses are carnivores. For pet keepers this generally means feeding a range of live insects such as crickets and locusts. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever overfeed a tarantula so feel free to feed your spider as much and as often as it will eat.
Generally speaking this means feeding your spider a handful of suitably-sized crickets or locusts once or twice a week. Smaller spiders will generally eat more often, so can be fed every 2 or 3 days so long as they’re eating all the food provided.
It is important when feeding your Rose Hair that live insects shouldn’t be present at all times. You should only give your spider what it will realistically eat in an hour or so.
The reason is that left-over livefood can be an annoyance to well-fed tarantulas, especially in the confines of a cage. In addition, a tarantula that moults while there are crickets in the cage is at risk of being damaged by the prey items while in its soft and sensitive post-moult stage.
Generally speaking most tarantulas will stop eating for a period around a moult. It is not unusual for larger spiders to stop eating for some weeks before a moult, and even a couple afterwards.
If you find that your spider has stopped eating then reduce the food supply and keep an eye out for signs of moulting. If and when your spider moults hold off providing any food for a week or two, before resuming normal feeding.
It is worth noting that the Chilean Rose Haired tarantula has been known to be one of the more fussy feeders. It seems that this species more than any other tends to go through periods of feast and famine.
As a result, even a tarantula not coming up to a moult may refuse food for weeks at a time. Assuming your spider looks healthy this shouldn’t necessarily be anything to worry about.
If you find that your spider stops feeding then just reduce the feeding down. Try putting in just one or two medium-sized locusts and wait to see your spider’s response. If they ignore the food, or run away from it, simply remove the insects and try again a week or two later.
You’ll likely find that soon enough your spider will re-discover his or her interest in eating and will begin feeding at quite a pace!
Handling Rose Hairs
One of the reasons that Rose Haired Tarantulas have become so popular is their docility; they rarely if ever try to bite, and are quite slow moving, which makes them ideal for handling. If you decide that you’d like to handle your tarantula the best course of action is to gently coax it into a flat hand using a pen or paintbrush.
Note that tarantulas have a very sensitive abdomen, and more than a few tarantulas have died over the years after their owners accidentally dropped them.
As a result, if you want to hold your tarantula you should do so over a surface, so that if the spider falls it has only a small drop onto a soft surface. A tarantula dropped from height might not come off to well.
An alternative solution when it comes to cleaning is to gently coax your spider into a plastic tub. Here you can secure the lid and remove the whole container from the cage.
Rose Hair Tarantula Facts
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