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Rose-haired Tarantula

Chilean Rose Tarantula, Chilean Rose-haired Tarantula

Rose-haired Tarantula, Grammostola rosea, Chilean Rose TarantulaGrammostola roseaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Paddy Campbell
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So I have a Rose Hair that I've had for about a year and a half and she has never really ate. I think she's eaten maybe 5 crickets since we have gotten her. This... (more)  Madison H

The Chilean Rose Tarantula has been an important spider for more than thirty years!

The Rose-haired Tarantula Grammostola rosea is one of the most docile and hardy spiders being kept. It is a very durable tarantula, originating from one of the driest scrub habitats in the world, the northern Atacama Desert region. The Chilean Rose Tarantula has been a standard in the pet hobby and science classrooms all across the planet.

Chilean Rose-haired Tarantulas are moderately large, stocky beauties. They have a leg span reaching about 5 inches (12.5 cm) as adults. They are colored in a dark brown to black but then covered with a coat of reddish-orange to pink hairs over the entire body. Their various common names are derived from this subtle rose casting on the hair. Common names include Rose-haired Tarantula, Chilean Rose Tarantula, Chilean Rose-haired Tarantula, Chilean Fire Tarantula and Chilean Red-haired Tarantula.

These are fascinating spiders. Chilean Rose Tarantulas are quiet and easy to care for. They have a long lifespan with females living up to about 20 years. They require very little space and are usually active in the evening and at night. Rose-haired Tarantulas are good natured and handleable, though holding them does cause them stress so is best kept to a minimum. These traits along with being commonly available and inexpensive make them an ideal species for a beginner and the advanced hobbyist as well.

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

Rose Hair Tarantula

Scientific NameGrammostola rosea
Syns: Grammostola cala, Phrixotrichus cala, Grammostola spatulata

Habitat: Distribution/BackgroundThe Rose-haired Tarantula Grammostola rosea was described by Walckenaer in 1837. They originate from Chile in the northern Atacama Desert region, one of the driest deserts in the world. They were thought to be a burrowing species, but current observations indicate that they hunt at night and find a sheltered area above ground to web themselves into during the day. Other common names it is known by are Chilean Rose Tarantula, Chilean Rose-haired Tarantula, Chilean Fire Tarantula, and Chilean Red-haired Tarantula.

StatusThe Grammostola rosea are not on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species.

Description The Chilean Rose-hair Tarantula is a moderately large tarantula. They reach adult size in about 3 to 4 years with about a 5" (12.5 cm) leg span. This stocky beauty is dark brown to black but is covered with a coat of reddish-orange to pink hairs over its entire body. This subtle rose casting on the hair is where the name comes from.

Mature males have longer legs and are somewhat more fuzzy in appearance. The female remains stocky and bulky throughout its life. There are reports that mature males are more brightly colored than females but they can be quite variable in color. It is estimated that in captivity males may have a lifespan of up to 6 years and females up to about 20 years.

The Rose-haired Tarantula is one of the most difficult tarantulas to determine its "correct" scientific name. Not only has it gone through many name changes, it is still under discussion whether the different color forms are different varieties of this spider, or just color morphs. There are discussions about the Grammostola rosea and Grammostola cala being anatomically different and therefore two definite, different species, but this has not been confirmed. Most sources are currently reference this spider as Grammostola rosea.

Rose-haired Tarantula or Chilean Rose-haired Tarantula, in the reddish phaseGrammostola gala - reddish phase Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy Russ Gurley
Picture of a Rose-haired Tarantula or Chilean Rose-haired TarantulaGrammostola spatulata - brown phase Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough

Naming them by their color morph appears as follows:

  • Grammostola rosea - the standard
  • Grammostola cala - a reddish phase
  • Grammostola spatulata - brownish.

Food and FeedingRose-haired Tarantulas feed well on a variety of insect prey including crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, and others. They should be feed live insects once or twice a week.

HousingThe Rose-haired Tarantula thrives in a simple enclosure. Though not necessary, this Tarantula will like a scrubland type environment and will live in a shallow burrow if provided. A piece of driftwood, cork bark, or a hollow log will work well for this. Artificial or hardy live plants and other interesting decorations can also be added to the enclosure.

Temperature and humidity requirements:

This species will do best if you maintain the enclosure at 78° to 82° F. The humidity is best kept at between 60 to 80%. This can be accomplished by including and occasionally misting some sphagnum moss or orchid bark.

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 The Rose-haired Tarantula is usually active in the evening or night. They are not compatible with other spiders, even their own species, so they should be housed singly. They may be okay for a short period of time, but eventually one spider will kill the other.

Handling This is one of the most docile species available in captive collections, easily handleable, and make wonderful pets. They may rear up when agitated and will even occasionally flick urticating hairs. After a short display, they will beat a hasty retreat or more commonly will simply walk away.

High-strung specimens will often show a dark bald patch on their abdomens from flicking away urticating hairs. Once they settle into captivity, this flicking rarely occurs and with a molt the bald patch is cleaned up and the coating of reds, oranges, browns, and pinks is restored.

You can carefully pick up these tarantulas by cupping them gently with the legs folded under their bodies. Another, gentler method is to simply place a hand out flat in front of them and gently prod the tarantula's abdomen, forcing it to walk onto the hand. As they walk, simply place the other hand in front and have the spider walk across your hands.

Reproduction Rose-haired Tarantulas have been bred in captivity for many years. Mature males have longer legs and are somewhat more fuzzy in appearance. The females seem to benefit from a cooling period of a couple of months prior to mating.

Once a mature male is produced, and he makes a sperm web, he should be introduced into the female's enclosure. He will approach the female's shelter cautiously, tapping and vibrating his legs. The female will be "lured" out of her burrow or shelter and the male will typically lunge forward to use his hooks to hold the female's chelicerae and to push her into an almost upright position to give himself access to the female's epigyne for mating. The male will insert either the left pedipalp, right pedipalp, or both alternately into the female's epigyne and inject the fertilizing fluid into this area.

If fertilized, the female will produce an egg sac in the following weeks. This species produces large egg sacs, usually containing in excess of 500 babies. A mature male can be introduced to multiple females or can be reintroduced to a female to enhance the possibilities of a successful pairing. Typically, the male will die in the weeks following a successful mating.

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 Rose-haired Tarantulas are becoming more and more common as captive-hatched specimens.

For years the only specimens available were imported (and imported by the thousands). Now that Chile no longer exports animals, most Rose-hairs are captive-produced animals. Fortunately, females can produce 300 to 500 spiderlings per egg sac so only a few captive breedings can supply dozens of hobbyists with this wonderful pet spider.


Author: Russ Gurley, Clarice Brough CRS
Lastest Animal Stories on Rose-haired Tarantula

Madison H - 2015-08-18
So I have a Rose Hair that I've had for about a year and a half and she has never really ate. I think she's eaten maybe 5 crickets since we have gotten her. This never initially concerned me though because I know that they can go a while without eating. I have always kept her temperature and humidity at good levels and she always had good shape so I figured I was doing everything right. The thing is she just recently molted (her first time doing so since I have gotten her and I think her first time in a while) and she still isn't eating. I know that they don't eat directly after but it has been about 2 and a half weeks. I've offered her food hut she seems scared of it. Ever since her molt, her legs have become very spindley and her abdomen is shriveled. All she does is sit in her hide and she doesn't move. I'm worried because I'm leaving for a trip tomorrow for 5 days and I don't want anything to happen to her while I'm gone. What should I do? Why isnt she eating? And how can I make her come out of her hide?

  • Madison H - 2015-08-18
    Also I don't know if she is female or male. We got her from someone who got her from someone else, so we aren't entirely sure about her age either. I've guessed that she is probably around 4 or 5 years old. I say that she is a girl because that is what the previous owners said.
  • Madison H - 2015-08-18
    PLEASE HELP I am very worried about her
  • Clarice Brough - 2015-08-21
    Adults females will only molt about once a year at most, while adult males usually never molt. I understand your concern about your spider not eating, but they really shouldn't even be offered food for at least a week after a molt as it takes them time to recover.  At this point though, being 2 1/2 weeks, you could try offering a cricket before you go, just in case your spider wants to eat (don't leave the cricket in the enclosure if it doesn't eat). But other than that there's probably not much you can do.
  • Rachael - 2015-08-25
    Maybe the food is too big.
  • Michelle - 2015-10-10
    I am a complete novice and have been reading the page turner: The Tarantula Keeper's Guide. It states that sometimes a T will eat a cricket if you kill and gut it first. Maybe that could be something to try.
Dylan - 2015-10-04
I've had my rose hair for over 15 years she used to eat regularly and molt once a year she hasnt molted in almost 4 years now and she has rejected all food i have offered for the last year or so is she at the end of her life cycle or is this normal for older tarantulas?

  • Clarice Brough - 2015-10-04
    Females can live up to 20 years, so maybe she is getting ready to molt.
Naomi - 2013-04-26
I have owned a number of types of tarantulas including 2 rose hairs and have found 1 thing to be true with most they adapt well to (but it takes a little time)change. If you upgraded cage size or changed the decore, more or less humidity than it's use to, temp changes, anything like that will set some back. I had one that went several months without eating come to find out she wasn't happy in her old home.after a week in her new home she started to web and is eating 2 large crickets per week now. Another thing to try is mabe a smaller prey than what you are now trying to feed it. If your pet dosen't eat just remove the prey, and try again in one week. Hope this helps

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-04-27
    That is great info to know, because I didn't realize they could sometimes be so particular.
  • Cat - 2015-03-11
    How often should I be changing substrate in the cage? Should I be spraying the substrate with a mist of water... The last log I had in there seemed to Get mold on it and I worry about her... Ugh
  • Clarice Brough - 2015-03-11
    As long as the substrate is dry and clean (no decay, dead food, or mold) than it doesn't need to be changed. As far as humidity, these tarantulas don't need it too high, 60 to 80% is suggested. Rather than misting the substrate, you can put in some sphagnum moss and just mist that. If the moss gets mildew, it's easy to take out and replace.
  • Urban - 2015-03-21
    How often should I mist the substrate?
haley - 2014-11-15
my rose hair has a strange thing on her butt is a batch of hair missing

  • Cat - 2015-03-11
    Mine does too, it seems a bit like a scab... I am new at all of this. She has not eaten in weeks, seems depressed (if spiders get depressed). When I received her as a gift for Christmas I was holding her daily but then she jumped and I jumped and I got scared so I haven't held her I. A couple months. Can this affect them? Would she be better off if I found her someone that will hold her everyday, I feel so bad!
  • Clarice Brough - 2015-03-11
    They are actually happiest as visual pets. Although some tarantulas may tolerate handling (this species being one that will), they don't prefer it.
Nathan Holbrook - 2011-07-20
I am moving and cannot keep my spider. I just want to know where I might be able to sale it? Please anyone with any idea of where i can sale it please email me.

  • Gary collins - 2014-12-22
    I have one rose hair now, also 5 snakes 2 red tail boa,s ball python and a albino kink snake. Your spider will be very well cared for. Hope to here from you. Gary
Jake davis - 2014-11-29
My female rose hair just had babies so I am about to have over 500 baby Chilean rose hairs.