Texas brown tarantula
Aphonopelma hentzi, the Texas brown tarantula, (also known as Oklahoma brown tarantula or Missouri tarantula), is one of the most common species of tarantula living in the southern United States today. Texas brown tarantulas can grow in excess of a four-inch leg span, and weigh more than 3 ounces as adults. The body is dark brown, though shades may vary between individual tarantulas. The colors are more distinct after a molt, as with many arthropods.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
- Infraorder: Mygalomorphae
- Family: Theraphosidae
- Genus: Aphonopelma
- Species: A. hentzi
- Binomial name: Aphonopelma hentzi
The Texas brown tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi) inhabits the deserts and grasslands of the southern states – the species is not restricted to Texas, hence its other common names Oklahoma brown tarantula and Missouri tarantula. In the wild, they lead solitary lives outside the breeding season, with baby tarantulas leaving their mother a few days after hatching.
A 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.
The Oklahoma Brown Tarantula is one of the most docile species available in captive collections. They will rear up when agitated and will even occasionally bare their fangs. After a short display, they will beat a hasty retreat or more commonly will simply walk away.
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.
They do not like to be blown upon and will jump, scurry away, and may even flick urticating hairs or bite if disturbed too much. All in all, these guys are very tame and make wonderful pets.
Tarantulas prefer dry rocky glades, where they spend their days in silk-lined burrows in abandoned rodent or reptile tunnels or in other natural cavities. Like many hunting spiders, tarantulas are nocturnal, pursuing insects such as crickets. Tarantulas prefer areas seldom frequented by people. In late summer and fall, Missourians in the southern part of the state may see these large arachnids crossing roads.
Females secure their egg cases in silken webbing attached to the inner walls of their burrows, and they guard the eggs until they hatch. Often, the young stay with the mother for about a week before dispersing. Most of our spiders live for only a single season, but tarantulas can potentially live for years. Females can live for more than thirty years, though males rarely live more than a year.
Like other spiders, Texas brown tarantulas exist on a diet of small invertebrates. In captivity, they’ll take pet crickets, grasshoppers and other live prey of a suitable size. Tarantulas don’t need fed all that often — a couple of items once or twice a week is usually enough. Note that you should never provide any food while your pet is moulting. She won’t eat it, and a live insect could badly damage her at this vulnerable time.
Texas brown tarantula images