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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.
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.
Dina - 2008-02-26 My husband and I have a rose haired tarantula, we have had her for 6 years and we love having her. Our 7 year old daughter wanted her own tarantula and she picked out her pink toe named Midnight. The pink toe is not as socialable and jumps every time we try to hold her. Our rose hair we handle quite often. The pink toe jumped from my husband's hand to land on my 4 year old son's face, to his surprise, and since he is used to our rose hair he patiently waited for daddy to take her off his face. We are hoping that the pink toe will get more comfortable with being held eventually. We love our tarantulas and they are wonderful pets.
chance - 2012-05-24 My pink toe never jumps but if you don't want him/her to jump so far when you hold him/her put your other hand in front of the t so it doesn't jump
anonymous - 2015-03-03 pink toes are really fast and difficult to handle. they will not be as sociable as a rosehair. even though they are very docile they are also very very skittish
Clarice Brough - 2015-03-04 Very true! (couldn't have said it better myself)
Curtis Sowers - 2012-08-05 I bought a pink toe 3 days ago named Titan. I let him get used to his tank and he ate 3 crickets in 2 days ,but every time I try to hold him he bites me. I am being gentle. I haven't dropped him yet but he won't stop bitting me. Please help me my email is email@example.com HELP it's so frusterating he also about 5-6 months old.
anon - 2012-08-06 Don't try to physicly pick him up, try resting yor fingers on the flat in front of him or a few fingers flat on the tree. Some like to be left till they come out from hiding, always approach him from the front. Shower his tank with water, at least every four days but don't get him wet. I use a 3rd of a cup. He miight also prefer locust. You'd be amazed what they devour in 1 meal ,
anonymous - 2015-03-03 some tarantulas just don't like being handled and pink toes are very skittish. they don't really like being handled mostly
Deano Dëë - 2015-01-31 My pink toe stopped eating nd moving so took it to th pet shop where a baught it from an d he took it out and dropped it dose this mean it wil die a think its goin to moult
eight legged love - 2015-01-31 I don't know why either, but mine is doing the same thing, it also hasn't webbed at all in the three week span I've had it, barely moves, ignores water, and is extra skiddish and scared.
Jenn Lewis - 2014-07-22 Hi My Room mates and i were handling are Pink toed Tarantula this evening and while holding her she shot out web i was just wondering if this was normal or if there might be something wrong?
Clarice Brough - 2014-08-05 Tarantulas will should 'hairs' from their abdomen when they are stressed, it is a defense mechanism and signals that they are uncomfortable.
TC Brown - 2014-08-16 I've a had my pink toe for a little while now. I've noticed that when she is handled a lot she starts to leave a few web strands. I think she does it instinctually. Like as a life line. I also noticed that when she just around one or two people she more chill. But when passed around. (You know how kids get), her hairs seem to stiffen and instead of shooting the hairs she lays down and rubs her abdomen on you. It doesnt hurt but it itches until you move her back to her cage and brush off the hairs. She very fun and agile like described she jumped a few times from my shirt to hand. Neat creature. I say handle it til she's tired and then put her away. Its a cool pet and isn't likely to bite. I let her chill on my shirt everyday.
levi - 2014-12-26 This species is known to shoot excrement when stressed.