Thrixopelma ockerti /Peruvian Flame Rump Care Sheet

Thrixopelma ockerti, sometimes known by the common name of the Peruvian Flame Rump, is an unusual and interesting New World tarantula. 

While there are numerous tarantulas that possess red hairs on the abdomen, Thrixopelma ockerti is in my opinion the most visually stunning of all. This is because the colors are so much brighter than species such as the Mexican Red Rump (Tiltocotl vagans). 

Furthermore, Thrixopelma ockerti displays some interesting behaviour, at some points acting like a ground-dwelling species, and at other times as an arboreal. Taking into consideration the color changes Thrixopelma ockerti goes through as it grows, this can be a fascinating species to grow from spiderling up to adult size.

Appearance

T ockerti

As adults, Thrixopelma ockerti can be considered typical arboreal tarantulas. They climb well, have a typically “leggy” appearance and reach a diagonal leg span of around 5-6”.

The abdomen is clothed in vibrant red hairs that really have to be seen in the flesh to be fully believed. These hairs are probably the brightest red I’ve seen in any tarantula, and really makes them special in my eyes. 

This bright crimson abdomen is perfectly complemented by slate-gray or gun-metal gray hairs over the rest of the body. The contrast between this, and the red abdomen, makes Thrixopelma ockerti an incredibly attractive tarantula. It’s one of the “less common” tarantula species in the hobby, but one that every collection should have.

Interestingly, Thrixopelma ockerti starts off looking altogether different. Spiderlings are a beautiful combination of pink and black. They start to develop their adult coloration, typically at around a 1-1.5” leg span. 

T ockerti spiderling

Cages & Housing

Thrixopelma ockerti is very easy to accommodate. In my experience of rearing 8 different specimens over the last few years is that spiderlings and juveniles tend to spend most of their time on the ground of their cage, and will happily hide underneath pieces of cork bark placed there.

Adults, in contract, normally adopt an arboreal lifestyle, and find vertical cork bark tubes far more appealing at this stage. I’ve even observed the change in behavior first-hand, as a juvenile specimen suddenly starts to hang from the side of their tub rather than resting on the floor.

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As a result, it makes sense where possible to offer both lifestyles, so your Thrixopelma ockerti can choose what suits them best at the time. 

This means that a reasonable-sized container is recommended. I currently use 16oz clear plastic deli cups for youngsters. These have numerous ventilation holes poked in the sides with a dissection needle. 

As the specimens develop and grow they are rehoused into larger containers. Ultimately, my adult specimens are housed in glass terrariums. These offer excellent ventilation, great visibility, and make a fantastic display. At a minimum I would suggest a tank of 20cm wide, 20cm deep and 30cm high for an adult. 

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Of course, a range of other tarantula tanks are suitable, given they are escape-proof and offer suitable ventilation. 

Heating & Temperature

Thrixopelma ockerti seems pretty unfussy when it comes to temperatures. While I aim to maintain my spider room north of 20’C / 68‘F at all times, I don’t worry too much about specific temperatures for this species.

I have found them to be very hardy indeed, and easily raised even from tiny spiderlings, making them ideal even for the beginner. 

Water & Humidity

All my larger tarantulas have access to an open water dish and Thrixopelma ockerti is no different.

Be sure to clean the bowl regularly to prevent a build-up of bacteria, and replenish it with fresh water.

I avoid all chemicals when cleaning my tarantulas – relying just on hot water and hard work to scrub everything clean. 

Tank Decor

Whilst Thrixopelma ockerti is reasonably undemanding as a captive specimen you’ll want to add some substrate to the bottom of the cage and offer one or more hides.

Personally I currently use coco fibre as a substrate for most of my tarantulas.

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Cork bark works well as an attractive hide, with larger specimens being given a suitably-sized cork bark tube, placed vertically, so they can crawl inside during daylight hours. 

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Food & Feeding

Like so many other arboreal tarantulas, Thrixopelma ockerti has a healthy appetite and in my experience grows rapidly. I’m in the process of trying to rear up quite a few different specimens in the hope of breeding them in the next few years. This has given me experience with quite a few specimens. 

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My spiderlings and juveniles are fed every 4-5 days on average, though I don’t stress too much about slight delays. My adults are fed weekly, though I’m pretty confident they’d eat more often if given the opportunity. 

Attitude & Temperament

I don’t consider Thrixopelma ockerti to be “aggressive” or even “defensive”. I have yet to have a specimen offer up a threat display.

The spiderlings and juveniles are very even tempered, calm even. This is not a species I worry about when opening their pot for routine maintenance.

Larger specimens with adult colors, which start to adopt their arboreal lifestyle, can be rather quicker and more skittish. All the same, they’re more likely to run and hide than to stand their ground when you open the cage.

Assuming you’ve provided a suitable hide for your specimen you should find them simply disappear from view during tank maintenance, making them very easy to care for without fear of escapees. 

I personally don’t handle any of my tarantulas, for fear of damaging them. However even then I wouldn’t consider this a tarantula to handle – due to the skittish nature of the larger specimens.

That said, to reiterate, they don’t tend to display aggressive tendencies, though they do have urticating hairs that they can kick off if frustrated.  

Richard Adams

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