Pinktoe Tarantula

Pink-toed Tree Spider, Pink-toed Tarantula, Guyana Pinktoe

Family: Theraphosidae Pinktoe Tarantula, Avicularia avicularia, Pink-toed Tree Spider, Pink-toed TarantulaAvicularia aviculariaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Bill Korinek
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Hi everyone. I am doing an investigative project at college and I have chosen to use our Pink Toe. It has never been handled before and so I'm going to attmpt to... (more)  Mairead

The Pink-toed Tarantula is Energetic and friendly, making it fun to keep!

The Pinktoe Tarantula Avicularia avicularia one of the most rewarding species of tarantula to keep in captivity. It is highly prized for its color and personality. This tree spider is a beautiful furry species that is dark black to metallic gray overall with deep violet to reddish hues to the abdomen and leg hairs. But its distinctive feature are the wonder pinkish tips on each foot, giving it the names "pinktoe" and "pink-toed" tarantula.

PInktoes reach a moderate size as adults. Females can grow to about 5" (13 cm) with males being just a bit smaller, reaching about 3.5" (9 cm). They reach maturity in 2 to 3 years and are estimated to live between 4 to 8 years. They are fun to keep, because unlike most tarantulas, they can be kept in groups.

The Pink-toed Tree Spiders are docile and hardy. They are active during the day and will build extensive web tubes in their enclosure. Though they are much more docile than their close cousin the Antilles Pink Toe Tarantula they will jump, so care should be taken when handling them.

These tarantulas are favorites because they are easily handled, and entertaining if kept properly. But as with the other species of Avicularia, the Pink-toed Tarantula is a little more challenging to keep. It requires the unique combination of high humidity and plenty 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: avicularia

Scientific NameAvicularia versicolor

Habitat: Distribution/BackgroundThe Pinktoe Tarantula Avicularia avicularia was described by Linnaeus in 1758. They are found in Brazil, Trinidad, Martinique, Guyana, French Guiana, Suriname, Venezuela, and throughout the Amazon Basin. Other common names they are known by are Pink-toed Tree Spider, Pink-toed Tarantula, and Guyana Pinktoe. Most of those available currently are imported from Guyana.

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 avicularia are not on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species.

Description The Pinktoe Tarantula is a moderately sized tarantula with long dense hairs. The females reach about 5" (13 cm) and males are slightly smaller, reaching about 3.5" (9 cm). They are a beautiful furry species that is an overall dark black to metallic gray. They can also have an attractive coloration on their abdominal and leg hairs varying from a shiny purple or deep violet to reddish hues, sometimes highlighted by yellows. Their most distinguishing feature is a wonderful pink to pink-orange tip to each foot.

Mature males are long-legged and often boast a fascinating black with metallic look to its hairy carapace and abdomen. Females are a bit stockier, even for an arboreal species. They mature in 2 to 3 years and are estimated to live between 4 to 8 years.

Food and FeedingThe Pink-toed Tarantula or Pink-toed Tree Spider 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 Pink-toed Tree Spider should be kept in a large, vertically oriented enclosure. A modified aquarium or tall plastic storage tub will work well. Keep the enclosure dry and spray it lightly with water every few days. The cage should be allowed to dry out in between misting.

By keeping several live plants within the enclosure you can add to the humidity. These plants can be placed within the enclosure still in their pots or can be planted in the deep substrate. Not only do live plants provide some more humidity, they will provide excellent areas for breeding and egg-laying. Provide one or two shallow water dishes in the enclosure.

Temperature and humidity requirements:

This species will do best if you maintain the enclosure at 78° to 82° F with a humidity level of 65 to 75%.

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.

Behaviors These are fun to keep because unlike most tarantulas, they can be kept in groups if you keep them in a large enough terrarium and keep them well fed. Pink-toed Tarantulas are one of the most docile of the arboreal species. Many of the other Avicularia species are more aggressive and will race away or even bite.

Handling The Pink-toed Tarantula, as an arboreal species, are very agile and active. They are quite docile if not handled roughly or pinned with their fangs near your skin. They do tend to be nervous and jittery when handled and are prone to jumping from hand to hand, hand to shoulder, or in extreme cases, from hand to floor (which can be dangerous). They will jump, so care should be taken when handling them. As with other Avicularia species, Pink Toes are also fond of shooting a small spray of fecal matter as a defense.

Reproduction As with most tarantula species, the male Pink-toed Tarantula is thinner and has long, furry legs. He is equipped with hooks on his first pair of legs. These hooks are used to grapple with the female's fangs during courtship and mating. A female remains bulky and less spindly as she grows.

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 a variety of prey on a more frequent schedule.

The Pink-toed tarantula will breed fairly readily. They lay between 50 to 200 eggs that hatch in six to eight weeks. The spiderlings are pretty good size and can easily be raised with crickets.

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 Pink-toed Tarantula was at one time the most abundant pet spider in the hobby. It has a large range and was imported by reptile dealers in large numbers for many years in the 1980s and 1990s. As importation has declined, it is now not commonly seen as an import but luckily is being bred in some numbers by hobbyists in the United States and Europe and is often available as captive-bred spiderlings.


Author: Russ Gurley, Clarice Brough CRS
Lastest Animal Stories on Pink-toed Tarantula

Mairead - 2014-09-09
Hi everyone. I am doing an investigative project at college and I have chosen to use our Pink Toe. It has never been handled before and so I'm going to attmpt to make it easier to handle. Already so many of your comments have been so helpful but I was just wondering if anyone had any personal advice they could give? I have handled tarantulas before but never tried to handle one that is not used to being handled. The Pink Toe is already an adult and so I'm not sure how this is going to play out. Please do let me know if anyone has any advice or ideas that I could iclude. Thanks!

  • Xayin - 2014-09-09
    Common Pink Toe tarantulas (Avicularia Avicularia) are very gentile. I recommend only holding the spider when it's out of its web and has a serious case of the 'walkies'. If the spider is out of its web but isn't walking around, use the same approach as you would a terrestrial T. first brush the hind legs/abdomen with a soft paint brush and if the spider doesn't react negatively, then it's in the 'mood' to be held. Then gently scoop it into your hands trying not to drop the spider. (There are several ways of picking up a tarantula, check out Youtube, you can find a lot of info about handling tarantulas there) If the spider is spooked it is likely to shoot poop and is quite likely to jump. (just a side note, the genus Avicularia are known to jump when spooked, they don't normally flick hair and they don't usually bite). With this in mind I would handle them near the ground or on top of a table. Also, Avics are arboreal spiders, so once you're holding it, it will begin to walk up your body. I have found that the arboreals I've had like to sit on the back of the shoulder, near the top of the shoulder blade, where the shirt isn't ruffled much. At any time when handling the spider it might spook for any unknown reason, don't freak out, keep your head and wait a while for the spider to 'chill', then continue handling it. I don't normally recommend handling arboreals because they are generally a lot more fragile than terrestrials. so one fall from chest height can break the spider's legs or worse rupture the spiders abdomen. I hope this helped you. Good luck in your project.
  • Paige - 2014-09-14
    I would agree with the advice the person above me gave. Also, I would keep in mind it shouldn't really matter that the tarantula isn't handled. They don't necessarily get "used" to handling. They are simple, instinct driven creatures who don't have the mental capacity to feel. That being said, I would agree to being careful because they are a bit jumpy and can get spooked easily. I held my adult not too long ago and I didn't even do anything to necessarily spook him I just breathed out a little too loud one breath, and I kid you not he scurried up my arm and was crawling on my back within like 2 seconds!! My boyfriend was there to safely grab him thankfully, but I definitely wasn't used to that! Haha but good luck I'm sure it'll be fine as long as your careful :)
  • Mairead - 2014-09-14
    Thank you so much guys! I will keep all of that in mind. I only asked as the technicians at college specifically asked me to handle it to see if it could be held by other students as I'm the only one comfortable with the tarantulas hehe. I'll let you know how it goes.
Lenette - 2009-03-03
The humidity of the Pink Toe tarantula should be between 78-82% not as low as 65% and allowing the cage to dry out between spraying can also cause problems for this animal as they need to have high humidity and temperature.
One thing that can make this a difficult pet to have in captivity is that they need to have ventiliation in the cage making it more difficult to keep humidity.
We learnt the hard way and now have success with the pink toes and have a breeding pair.

  • mitch - 2010-02-24
    i just got a pink toe and I am concerned about keeping the humidity at the correct level(s); do you have any suggestions?
Glen & Emily - 2008-11-04
Hi, me (Glen) and the Mrs (Emily) bought our stunning Pink Toed Tarantula about 3 weeks ago. She is our 1st ever Tarantula and has taken some getting use too. She was only small when we purchased her but amazingly quick!. She seems to be eating and growing well and enjoying living in her Terarium. I think that she is getting ready to shed her skin because she has built an amazing web inside her log and has dug right down through her substrate to her heat mat that is placed in her terarium. (Any Help or info about making her life easy whilst molting would be very much appreciated). OW AND I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY THAT AS A 1ST TIMER THIS SITE AND THERE INFO HAS BEEN ABSOLUTELY AMAZINGLY HELPFUL AND DETAILED. I did alot of research about tarantulas and which 1 would be best for us and the sites we visited dont have half the info that this site has.

  • ANTHONY CRENHAW - 2013-03-24
    I just got a pink toe, and read that you have a heat pad in the tank with yours. . . So i'm wondering is it ok to put a small heat rock in the tank with mine?
Kaitlin - 2008-09-17
I just got my pink toe a few days ago and handled him for the first time yesterday.I was nervous because I thought he would jump off and land on the floor and die, but he didn't and I'm much more comfortable with him, lol. Although he seems to like to poop on me, even when hes not scared, and my teacher thinks its hillarious. But I mean he's not jumpy and loves to be held, so I hold him every chance I get because I love him. He likes his new house and has started building a web in it and I'm so happy for him. I love him, he's an amazing addition. It's cool because my science teacher is letting me keep him in the classroom so that everyone can enjoy him and hopefully become less afraid of the "terrifying" turantulas. Thanks for all the info. ~Kaitlin

  • pink=fingerz - 2010-06-04
    lol, I have a pink toe and I've read that in their defense they will usually squirt poop at you in defense and if that doesn't work they will stick irritating hairs in your arm, face, hand whichever and then if all that fails and it becomes more scared it will bite! Just watch put as they are dangerous and can cause harm maybe even death in a human/baby but only if your allergic to the venom... I can't handle mine as hes a bit aggressive and hes a giant green pink-toe species so he isn't really aggressive by nature just personality lol. =)
Amanda - 2009-11-17
My pink toed, Sorcha is very docile and friendly. I'm looking to get her a friend! I love this site, thanks for the helpful information.

nervous tarantula owner. - 2008-08-16
I just got a pink toed tarantula as a birthday gift from a friend two days ago. Never having owned a tarantula (or any insect for that matter) made me skeptical. I still am a little nervous about it, actually I just took her out of her tank/cage thing for the first time a few minutes ago. To my surprise she jumped on my head! It freaked me out so much that I screamed! She's sneaky, she'll be walking around all slow and then go into hyper speed in a second! I immediately tried to find out about it and now that I've read this I realize it's normal. But I am worried that I might hurt her by accident if she jumps or runs around all crazy all the time. She's so pretty though, and I'm learning how to handle it, even if I am still a little scared of her. I mean the poop spray? ahhh. :O I can only hope that never happens. Thanks for the info on this site...very helpful!


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