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Antilles Pink Toe Tarantula
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Antilles Pinktoe Tarantula

Antilles Pink-toed Tarantula, Martinique Red Tree Spider

Family: TheraphosidaeAntilles Pinktoe Tarantula, Avicularia versicolor, Martinique Red Tree SpiderAvicularia versicolorPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Russ Gurley
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A few signs that may indicate that your pet is not acting or feeling normal are a loss of appetite, lethargy, looking overly skinny, or pacing the enclosure. OK...... (more)  heather

The Antilles Pink-toed Tree Spider is one of the most beautiful tarantulas kept in captivity!

The Antilles Pinktoe Tarantula is one of the most popular tree spiders. It comes from Martinique, off the coast of South America. It is highly sought after because of its gorgeous adult coloration, along with a fairly docile temperament.

Young tarantulas are a metallic steel blue-black coloring, but as adults they transform into dramatic coloration. Adults have a metallic green carapace and the abdomen is covered with red hairs. The long furry legs become swathed in reds, pinks, and browns. True to its striking adult coloration and its place of origin, it is also commonly called the Martinique Red Tree Spider.

The Antilles Pink-toed Tarantulas are naturally docile, and will live in colonies in the wild. But they are not so social in captivity, to keep them successfully for the long-term they are best housed individually. These tree spiders are very quick and agile. They are known to jump up or out, to a distance of 12 inches (30 cm) or so. They do best kept in a large, vertically oriented enclosure.

Despite their good looks the Antilles Pinktoe Tarantulas are also not as docile or as easily handled as other species of the Avicularia genus, like its well-known cousin the Pink-toed Tarantula A. avicularia. These tree spiders don't enjoy handling and should be considered display animals. This species is also a little more challenging to keep. It requires the unique combination of high humidity and lots of ventilation. This combination can be somewhat difficult to provide in captivity, to maintain these parameters requires a regular regime.

For more Information on keeping Tarantulas, see:
Keeping Arachnids and Other Arthropods as Pets


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Family: Theraphosidae
  • Genus: Avicularia
  • Species: versicolor

Scientific NameAvicularia versicolor

Habitat: Distribution/BackgroundThe Antilles Pinktoe Tarantula Avicularia versicolor was described by Walckenaer in 1837. They are found in Martinique, off the coast of South America. Other common names they are known by are Antilles Pink-toed Tarantula, Antilles Pink-toed Tree Spider, and Martinique Red Tree Spider.

The Avicularia genus is the most widespread group of spiders in the Americas and contains about 20 species. This genus was also the very first of the tarantulas to be described by science.

StatusThe Avicularia versicolor are not on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species.

Description The Antilles Pink-toed Tree Spider is a medium sized spider, reaching about 4 1/2 - 6"(11- 15 cm). As juveniles they are a metallic steel blue-black coloring, changing to more dramatic colors as adults. Adults have a metallic green carapace, an abdomen covered with red hairs, and long furry black legs swathed in reds, pinks, and browns. As with most tarantula species, the males are thinner and have long, furry legs. A female remains bulky and less spindly as she grows.

Food and FeedingThe Antilles Pinktoe Tarantula is an aggressive feeder. It will eat a variety of insect prey including adult crickets, grasshoppers, roaches, and especially flying insects such as wax moths. In nature, they will also feed on small lizards such as Anolis species, but they are not typically fed vertebrate prey in captivity.

HousingIn the wild all the Avicularia species are primarily arboreal, They will live in human structures or on plants rather than on the ground. The Antilles Pink-toed Tree Spider should be kept in a large, vertically oriented enclosure. They need a well ventilated enclosure but with relatively high humidity. A modified aquarium with parts of the sides having screens and a screen on top works best. If the enclosure becomes too dry, the spiders will not do well.

One way to overcome the dilemma of high humidity and high ventilation is to use a deep (4 to 5") substrate of damp sand and peat moss and provide several live plants within the enclosure. These plants can be placed in the enclosure still in their pots or can be planted in the deep substrate. Live plants will not only provide excellent places for the spiders to establish homes, they will provide excellent areas for breeding and egg-laying.

Add one or two shallow water dishes and mist the entire enclosure once a day to every other day, depending on the conditions of the room in which the enclosure is located. The cage should be allowed to dry out in between mistings.

Temperature and humidity requirements:

This species will do best if you maintain the enclosure at 78° - 82° F with a humidity level of 75 - 85%.

Cage CareA good habit to get into is cleaning up any uneaten prey items the day after feeding your tarantula as decaying organic matter commonly attracts mites, fungus, mold and other potentially harmful organisms into the enclosure. If your pet has recently molted, remove uneaten prey items immediately. Newly molted tarantulas are vulnerable until their exoskeletons hardens.

Behavior In their natural setting, most of the Avicularia spiders will live in colonies. Though this is true for the Antilles Pinktoe Tarantula as well, they are not so social In captivity. Though there have been short term successes keeping them with others of the same species, they are best housed individually.

Handling Antilles Pinktoe Tarantula, though generally docile, are quite a bit more high-strung and nervous than the more common Pink-toed Tarantula A. avicularia. They seem to jump more frequently and I know of several bites from this species. (All were inconsequential and only localized swelling was noticed.) These spider don't enjoy handling and should be considered display animals. They should only being handled and prodded when you are cleaning their enclosures or when they are being bred.

Reproduction The males of the Antilles Pink-toed Tree Spider or Martinique Red Tree Spider are equipped with hooks on his first pair of legs. These hooks are used to grapple with the female's fangs during courtship and mating.

An adult male should be carefully introduced into the female's enclosure after he has produced a sperm web. The male can be protected with a piece of cardboard or other tool if he is to be used for further breeding attempts. Once mating occurs, the female should be fed more heavily and with a variety of prey items. The spiderlings will require close attention and will need an environment with good ventilation and adequate humidity to rear them successfully.

Diseases: Ailments/TreatmentsTarantulas are generally quite hardy and adaptable if they are provided with the right environment. A few signs that may indicate that your pet is not acting or feeling normal are a loss of appetite, lethargy, looking overly skinny, or pacing the enclosure.

A tarantula on its back is probably not sick. Most tarantula species flip onto their backs during molting. Though this is a very stressful and delicate time for tarantulas, if the humidity and warmth levels are correct, they will molt their exoskeleton, roll over, harden up, and within a week or two be ready for their next meals.

  • Molting
    One of the most common reasons for your pet to demonstrate unusual behavior is due to a molting period. As they outgrow their existing skin all tarantulas regularly go through an extensive molt, shedding their entire skin as well as the linings of their mouth, respiratory organs, stomach and sexual organs.

    The process starts well before the actual molt. For several weeks prior to shedding they will be growing a new skin under their old one. During this time it is not unusual for a tarantula to get quite lethargic and even stop eating. There may also be lots of web spinning activity as they prepare to molt.

    When they begin to molt, they lay on their backs with their legs up in the air looking as if they are dead. Be sure not to disturb your tarantula when you see this. The shedding process goes quickly and smoothly as long the environment has adequate humidity.

    Once they have shed, their new skin is pale and very soft. The amount of time it takes for your pet to fully recover and be back to eating well will vary from a day or so up to several weeks depending on its size. Smaller spiders recover much quicker than larger ones.

  • Other Problems
    Other problems are usually the result of some type of environmental stress. There may be a drop in the temperature of the enclosure, there may be parasites, or the tarantula may just not be comfortable with the depth of its hiding place. These things can be easily adjusted or changed, or you can try moving your pet to a new enclosure.

Availability The Antilles Pinktoe Tarantulas are being bred in some numbers in Europe and sporadically by US breeders. As one of the most beautiful and most popular species, the spiderlings sell quickly when they are available. Due to their popularity, most spider dealers tend to keep them in stock most of the time.

References

Author: Russ Gurley, Clarice Brough CRS
Lastest Animal Stories on Antilles Pink Toe Tarantula

heather - 2014-03-19
A few signs that may indicate that your pet is not acting or feeling normal are a loss of appetite, lethargy, looking overly skinny, or pacing the enclosure. OK... I'm getting all the above from my 1 1/2 yr old female... Anyone have any ideas? She's not eaten in 2 months.

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-03-20
    Sounds like she might be in a pre-molt stage. I wouldn't worry too much, as these little guys have been known to fast for 3 months or even longer before they finally molt.
  • heather - 2014-03-27
    Thanks for the reply... it helps knowing that she can live on for 3 months without food. She's sooo skinny, weak and and her nails are dull, she can no longer do anything but walk on the bottom. 3 months is coming up and no eating! I'm soo worried. but I wait. and wait. and breathe. and wait.
Reply
Christopher Riley - 2012-07-04
OK this got out of control I'm putting mine in a 5 gal fish tank. The pet shop sold mine to me also bought the recommended tatarium but my pink toe webbed it even his water bowl and the tatarium door. I got to move him to a fish tank got ? will it make a new web?

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-07-04
    Yep, they will make other webs - just comes naturally.  They do it to give themselves a protected spot and also to get food.  Sounds like yours might be going to an extreme, does she have a safe place - maybe a hollow log or something for her to hide in and feel protected?  Just a thought but I think the 5 gallon is a good idea. 
  • heather - 2014-03-14
    Humidity and circulation of air. Period. This is what makes slings live. I don't think any info past this is more important! Get a humidity/temp gauge from zoomed 8.99 each. It will save lives.
Reply
Lucy Cortes - 2011-03-12
My daughter just got a pink toed tarantula and I would like to know if it is poisonous?

  • Anonymous - 2011-04-04
    All spiders are poisonous however the poison that they some carry isn't harmful to humans.
  • PF - 2012-04-05
    You still have to watch out because, even if they are not dangerous to humans, she still can have an allergic reaction and go into an anaphylectic shock. I have 17 tarantulas and I react very badly to the uricating hairs and I have no clue if I'm seriously allergic if I get bitten. So just be carefull and enjoy your T.
  • Christopher Riley - 2012-07-04
    If your not allergic to tarantulas then they are non poisonous to you but if you get bitten they cause pain an if allergic to them you probably can die from bite just be careful stay safe
  • Dave - 2012-09-06
    There is no such thing as a poisonous spider. Spiders are venomous. Venom has to be injected to take effect, while poison must be ingested.
  • Michael Connachan - 2012-10-29
    No it is venomous.
  • Cheryl Luhrs - 2012-12-15
    ALL spiders are venomous but the New World T's venom isn't as strong as T's from the Old World. Plus, many New World T's are considered very docile, including Avic. Antilles Pink-Toes. Only thing I can say about them is they're skittish, smart, and 'fast'! They'll move so fast at getting away, you'll wonder if they aren't using a portable teleport. Your daughter picked one of my favorites...smart gal!! Grab your mouse and read some of the Gazillion reviews on the Avic. But, be careful, these creatures will get under your skin...and you'll have to have your own pet T. LOL
  • heather - 2014-03-14
    It IS poisonous! BUT like a bee sting. Not a problem. The antigen is not allergenic. Swelling and redness mostly. Enjoy them... human bites are 1000 times worse!
Reply
Kathy - 2010-09-03
I was just given an adult pink toe. Read up on it but I'm not seeing anywhere if its poisonous? I am assuming not? Anyways I have a heated aquarium its all set up with dirt and her nest up in the corner. My questions are: How do I go about handling it for the 1st time? I'm kinda scared but sooo intrigued! How can you tell how old she is?

  • heather - 2014-03-14
    Handle her. She will be fine. I was scared at first, but I now have to refrain from kissing her! Bond with her, learn from her, don't be afraid of her... Does your family dog or cat have HUGE teeth? Why is it that you are not afraid of them? Experience is the answer. Hold her and learn.
Reply
heather - 2014-03-14
My Acularia Versicolor (matinique) is pacing frantically and wasting away! No eating and constant walking and walking...any ideas? She's skinny as heck! No wrinkles in the abdomen yet, but I do have another female versicolor sling/adolescent enclosure nearby... what is the problem? Pacing and shrinking!

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-03-20
    It does sound like its nervous about something, it could be the other in close proximity, but I don't know for sure. However, they do loose weight quickly when they are nervous.
Reply

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