Acquired: Pet store
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Posted Apr 12, 2011
I have had Gabriela, a sub-adult chaco Golden Knee tarantula for 2 months. (Grammostola pulchripes) I have owned tarantulas for approx. 22 years, and Gabby is simply the gentlest I have ever owned. Of course, all T's are individuals, mean chacos DO exist, they are fairly rare, however.
I'll start with the minuses... Despite her decent size, Gabby is not a big eater. Second, expect to pay a good amount of money for a med. to large chaco. That's it, the bad points...
Pluses? There are plenty. Chacos can get large, up to 8 inches or so. They are very docile and gentle, especially sub-adults or older. My girl also webs like crazy... but thicker web than my rosie does.. and Gabby will happily web all over me if I let her. She's quite active most times, and has a definite 'schedule'. Chacos have reputations as big-time earthmovers or re-decorators. Gabby has filled her hide with sub, dug trenches, made mounds, web 'trap mats' all over her tank,etc. ... then maybe 6 hours later, she will clean out the hide and sleep there, or maybe on top of it. Whereas many tarantulas seem to hide perpetually, my chaco is almost always visible. One notable exception is that Gabby will never eat in the open, always eats hidden away. My chaco doesn't have that great of an appetite, the most she's ever had in one sitting was 2 small juvie roaches. Compare that to my smaller MF rose hair, that can eat double that. Gabby molted over the past weekend, and is visibly larger, particularly leg spread. Her molt time was suprisingly quick. I saw her on her back, molting, on Fri. at noon, she was done by about 4PM. By Monday noon, she was back to her usual activities. Chacos are quite beautiful, especially as they get older. Gabby really looks sharp now. After a molt, and in the sunlight, she looks quite stunning. As with many tarantulas, pictures do not do the species justice.
I wanted to add that Gabby is also very 'expressive'. T's smell and largely feel from thier feet, so to speak. Gabby often raises and lowers her front legs when she's out. It's interesting to see, very broad, sweeping gestures with her legs. She is of course, smelling me, and the air.... I measured Gabby last night. In one molt, she went from 4.25" to 5.5", and she's still basically a 'puppy'. After talking to a few people on a net forum, chacos typically take longer than many T's to re-gain weight after a molt.
So, is a chaco the ideal tarantula? Pretty close. It might be argued that Brazilian Black (G pulchra) or Pink Zebra Beauty are even more docile. Some T's are much more attractive. But, I have to say that my chaco is my favorite pet ever.... even including cats and dogs. Sweet, easy to care for, gentle, and large. Fantastic tarantulas!
Update: a LOT to update on! I had Gabby bred, he's a male tarantula, sadly... BUT... He and his 'date', Penelope, had 200 babies, I received about 45 babies! BTW, that's a SMALL amount of babies for a chaco, 400-800 being the norm... but, it was their first date... ;) I don't know how long Gabby will live now, but I hope it's a LONG time....
When I say I recommend these for children, I mean it, ... any smart child can easily handle a big chaco., tho, that is NOT recommended by most people,,, a 5 year old boy handled him, and absolutely NO issues at all.....OBVIOUSLY, use caution, watch over ANY child handling a tarantula... But, let's say Gabby is pretty cool with people! Gabby is as still gentle as the day I bought him.... PERIOD!