Other common names: Zebra Tarantula, Striped Knee Tarantula
Scientific name: Aphonopelma seemani
The Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula is a burrowing species native to Costa Rica, and other parts of Central America, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. They are commonly found in semi-arid grasslands.
Appearance / health:
Adult Zebra Tarantulas are an average sized species reaching up to 5 inches. Coloration is different between the species collected from Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Species from Costa Rica are black with white striping on the legs whereas the species from Nicaragua are dark brown with tan striping on the legs. With either species it’s easy to tell it's a Zebra Tarantula.
Behavior / temperament:
Costa Rican Zebra Tarantulas are known to be pretty docile, but are also known to be very skittish. They will run away at the lightest scare and they can move very fast. Since they are docile, they make good choices for beginner and experts alike.
Young tarantulas and spiderlings can be housed in clear plastic containers. Adults can comfortably live in a 5-10 gallon tank. Since these are a burrowing species, floor space and depth is more important than height.
In order for these species to thrive in captivity, temperatures need to be around 70-85F with humidity levels around 75-80%. To keep the humidity up, spray the enclosure a couple times a week as well as keeping a shallow open water dish inside the tank. A peat moss and vermiculite mixed substrate will also hold humidity well and also allow this species to burrow. This substrate should be 4-8 inches deep. Add tank décor that will allow this species to hide, or burrow under.
Once a male has produced his sperm web, he can be introduced to the female. If the female is accepting they will begin mating. If she’s not willing to mate, the male can be severely injured or even eaten and killed. During the mating process the male will lure out the female from her burrow. The male will lunge towards her and grab her fangs with his front legs and then try to position the female in an upright position. In this upright position the male will then try to inject his fertilizing fluid into the females genital area. If they are successful, the female will produce an egg sac within a couple weeks. Males have a short life span and will usually die short after mating.
skittish pet, slow grower
opportunistic burrower, excess crickets, unsafe moult, new world tarantulas
Not as Scary as You Think
I was very opposed to having a tarantula in the house! I am not a fan of spiders to begin with and I was convinced this would kill me in my sleep. Finally I read about it and found out that the kind traditionally sold as pets don't have the strength of venom to kill people (unless you happen to be allergic just like people can be to bees). So while the spider never escaped (and trust me I checked often), I still wouldn't call him a thrilling pet. This is absolutely a pet for adults (or maybe older teens). You have to be very careful handling the spiders not only so you don't get bit, but also so the spiders don't get hurt. When you do let them out to "play" with it's a good idea to keep them in a contained area. Ours didn't hide too much, so it was fun to watch. It was an interesting conversation piece, and fun to watch, but not really an interactive pet. My favorite part about having one was reading about it and learning things I didn't know about them before..
From AvitasMommy Dec 11 2012 10:37AM
Easy Little Hobby Pet
I recieved my Zebra Tarantula from a friend. He gave me the spider and all the materials (terrarium, substraight, dishes, plants etc) so my start up was very easy. The spider was already 3 years old once I received him. The transition was a rough one for the spider at first, he was not very active and did not want to eat for the first couple of weeks. Once he settled in he was a lot more active making webs and actively hunting his cricket feed.
Care of the spider was very easy, he needed to be kept moist, have a water dish and be fed every few weeks, less if I fed him a pinky. It was easy to travel because care was so infrequent.
I would handle my spider quite often. I would caution against letting anyone who is unsure or scared of it touching it, if they startle they could cause harm to the spider by dropping it. This spider is very hard to catch if it is scared and on the loose because it is very fast.
My spider died during a moult. Spiders are very sensitive during moults all excess crickets need to be removed from the terrarium at this time. I did not capture all of the hiding crickets causing an unsafe moult ending in my spiders accidental death..
From cchuck Dec 2 2014 1:29PM