Brachypelma albopilosum – Honduran Curlyhair Tarantula Caresheet

brachypelma albopilosum

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Scientific Name: Brachypelma albopilosum (Valerio 1980)

Common Name(s): Curlyhair tarantula (Honduran curlyhair tarantula)

Range: The east of Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica

Habitat: Scrubland, brush, and the edges of forest

Experience Level: Beginner

Type: Terrestrial, burrower

Size: Leg span up to around 14cm (5.5″)

Growth rate: Medium

Venom: Mild

Urticating hairs: Yes

Temperament: A very docile species, one of the most handleable tarantulas

Description

The curlyhair gets its name, as you might expect, from the exceptionally long and curly hairs covering its plump body and legs, giving a very distinctive look to offset its rather drab colouration.

Range or Brachypelma albopilosumBeing CITES II listed, as all Brachypelma species are, hasn’t prevented this wonderful tarantula from becoming very popular with keepers, primarily due to their docile nature and tolerance to handling. Most keepers report that their specimens are among the most tractable of all tarantulas, almost never acting skittish or defensive, making them an ideal beginner species. They do have urticating hairs, but they are not quick to flick them.

B. albopilosum breeds readily in captivity, so slings and juveniles are easily obtained and relatively cheap, though like all Brachypelma species adults will tend to be more expensive. They are a hardy species, and faster growing than some other Brachypelma species such as the popular Redknee (B. smithi) which only adds to their popularity. While it’s true they don’t have the beautiful coloration of species such as B. smithi, or even G. rosea, and their unique curly hairs can make them look somewhat “scruffy”, that only adds to their charm and any would be tarantula keeper could do far worse than starting out with one of these wonderful Ts.

For general care requirements, read the beginner’s guide to keeping tarantulas page which gives a good overview of tarantula husbandry.

curlyhairAs a medium/large terrestrial T and an opportunistic burrower, a curlyhair will need a glass or plastic enclosure with more floor space than height, with a deep dry substrate (2 – 3 inches of coconut coir, or dry potting soil), and plenty of ventilation. Provide a hiding place (such as half a flower pot, coconut shell, or a piece of cork bark), and a shallow water dish. In my experience B. albopilosum tend to be heavier webbers than other Brachypelma species. They don’t like high humidity (around 50% – 60% is ideal) so don’t mist or spray for adults, but always have a small dish of fresh water available.

A diet of crickets, cockroaches and locusts is ideal. As with all tarantulas, feed prey items of a suitable size – no larger than the spider’s abdomen.


Further reading

Stanley A. Schultz, Marguerite J. Schultz. The Tarantula Keeper’s Guide (2009)

 

Choosing Your First Tarantula

If you’ve found this site then there’s a very good chance you’re thinking about getting your first tarantula. I remember very well being in that exact situation, and trying to get my head around the minefield of information out there, so I wanted to add a post here very quickly which helped the newcomer to the hobby make the RIGHT decision early on, and avoid some of the pitfalls!

Therefore, I’ve decided to share some of the best resources I found when I was looking at getting my first T in the hope that you’ll find them as useful as I did!

The basics of tarantula husbandry

The very best advice I can give a newcomer to the hobby, is to read as much as you can on the subject before buying your first tarantula. Depending on the species, age, and sex of tarantula you buy you could end up with an animal which you’ll have for the next 15 – 20 years or more! You’ll also be keeping a venomous animal, and one which has the potential to escape if you’re not careful, and one with very different care requirements to more “typical” pets such as cats, dogs, or hamsters! So please, do yourself a favour and do as much research now as you can, it really will help set you up for success.

To start you on the right path, read this Basic Tarantula Care article over at tarantulas.com It will cover a lot of the basics about housing and caring for your first tarantula!

The perfect beginner species

One of the most common questions I see from beginners on the forums is “what is the best beginner species of tarantula”. Well there really isn’t one definitive answer, and this will certainly be the topic of a future article on this site. In the meantime though, this short article from thespidershop.co.uk gives a few suitable choices:

Suitable species for your first tarantula

This certainly isn’t a definitive list (others such as Brachypemla albiceps – Mexican Golden Red Rump come to mind!) but they are all terrestrial, new world tarantulas which will be relatively easy to care for, generally slow moving and non-aggressive, and with mild venom. I would certainly recommend reading much more about any of these species which you like the sound of, but this is a good starting place!  Once you have an idea of what species you’re interested in, and have done your research on tarantula husbandry, your next task will be reading up on how to buy a tarantula.

Where to go for help

I intend to put a resources page together on this site and add to it over time, but for now here are a few of the resources I found invaluable when I was first researching tarantulas and trying to decide which species to start with:

RFUK – Being a long time reptile keeper, Reptile Forums UK was one of my first stops when I started researching tarantulas. As the name suggests, these forums are mostly about reptiles but they have an excellent spiders and inverts forum with a very knowledgeable community.

tarantula-keepers-guideThe Tarantula Keeper’s Guide – Of all the books on tarantulas I’ve read, this one is by far the most useful to the beginner keeper. It’s packed with great info, and it’s not too expensive. If you only ever buy one book on tarantulas get this one!

The British Tarantula Society – If you’re in the UK then I definitely recommend joining the BTS. For about £15 a year you get access to their journal and lots of great information. Even if you don’t join, there is lots of great free info on their website. If you’re not in the UK, they do international membership, or see if there is a tarantula society in your own country. For those of you in the US, The American Tarantula society can be found at http://atshq.org

My hope this that over time this site will become a valued resource for tarantula keepers and beginners, just like some of the resources listed above. In the meantime though, I hope you find these links as useful as I did when I first started.