© Joseph Dougherty. All rights reserved.
Grammostola rosea (Walckenaer, 1837)
Chilean Rosehair Tarantula aka Rose Hair Tarantula, Chilean Rose Tarantula, Chilean Flame Tarantula
Chilean rose tarantula guarding an egg sac.
Gramostola rosea are relatively docile, low maintenance, and inexpensive, so they are popular as pets. A terrarium should be at least triple the spiders' legspan in length, with a retreat for hiding. G. rosea can be kept in relatively low humidity; overflowing the water dish one or two times a week should provide ample humidity for this species. They are quite happy living at temperatures of around 25-30°C (77-86 fahrenheit), with a diet of four to six crickets every three weeks (or one locust per week). The G. rosea's feeding schedule is rather erratic, however; the spider can fast for weeks to months at a time. Fasting is sometimes an indication of an upcoming moult.
Grammostola rosea are usually skittish, running away from danger rather than acting defensively, but they may also raise their front legs and present their fangs in preparation to defend themselves. They can act especially defensive for days after moulting; this may be innate in the spiders behavior. As with the majority of tarantulas from the Americas (New World tarantulas), they have small spine-like urticating hairs on their abdomen that they kick off or release when threatened as a defense.
In February 2009 a British man was treated for tarantula hairs lodged in his cornea. The hairs were thrown from the man's pet G. rosea while the man was cleaning its tank. Medical authorities urge owners to wear protective eyewear when handling a G. rosea. Keeping in mind that urticating hairs can cause medical problems, handling the tarantula is not a concern if handlers wash themselves afterwards and remain cognizant of the hazards.