The Arizona blonde desert tarantula is, dare we say, a cute, fluffy giant spider that could be your next pet. They are native to southern Arizona and northern Mexico, with 3-4 inches long legs and a relaxed demeanor. They grow very slowly, taking years to mature to maturity. You should keep her age in mind when you decide to buy, as females can live up to 30 years.
Quick Facts about the Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantula
|Species Name:||code aphonopelma|
|Temperature:||75 to 85 degrees F|
|Color Shape:||Women: brown, men: black legs with red belly|
|Lifetime:||Female: 24-30 years old, male: 5-10 years old|
|Size:||5 to 6 inches|
|Minimum Tank Size:||5 gallons|
|Tank Setting:||Wireless secure cover with 3-inch substrate and small cover|
Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantula Overview
Because only one of 900 species of tarantulas, the Arizona blonde desert tarantula, also known as the western desert tarantula or Mexican blonde tarantula, is a great starter choice for someone who has never had a tarantula before. They are creatures that don’t mind a little handling, but mostly like to be left alone. Once you set them up with the right habitat and give them the recommended cricket diet, they will be happy and can live for a long time.
Arizona Blondes differ by the blonde fur that covers their bodies and legs. Like all tarantulas, they have eight legs with two paw-like pedipalps. These pedipalps help them catch food and eat it.
Although tarantulas are not known to be aggressive often, these giant spiders should not be handled too often, and especially not by small children. The age limit for handling tarantulas is 10 years. Don’t worry, though, because a tarantula sting is no more painful than a bee sting.
How Much Does Arizona Blond Desert Tarantula Cost?
Depending on how much you buy, one Arizona blonde tarantula will cost you around $50. Some stores will lower prices by 10% to 25% if you buy more, with no limit on the amount you can buy.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
How people usually think about tarantulas is more of a legend than how it actually is in real life. Tarantulas only attack when provoked, and even when they do, it is not very serious for humans. The venom from the tarantula is only mildly irritating, unless you are allergic to it. However, tarantulas should not be handled too often.
If you want to get over it, test your Arizona blonde mood first. You can do this by taking a brush or small straw and gently touching the tarantula. If he reacts well, you’re probably safe to pick him up.
The Arizona blonde tarantula is burrowing tarantulas, so you’ll often see them burrowing around their habitat. In their natural environment, they can dig tunnels that are 2 inches in diameter and can be very long. Don’t expect to see them much during the day, most of their digging and climbing takes place at night.
Appearance & Variety
Arizona blonde tarantulas mostly come in two varieties, one specific to women and one specific to men. Each can grow up to 6 inches in length.
The female is slightly larger than 2 inches in body length and is covered in blond hair. They are mostly blonde on the bottom of their feet and the top of their body, near the head.
Men are slightly smaller, just under two inches, with less blonde hair. In fact, their legs are mostly blackish brown with a red underside and a light brown upper body.
How to Care for an Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantula
Habitat, Tank Conditions & Settings
This tarantula requires a tank measuring about 5 to 10 gallons. A general rule of thumb is to have your tarantula habitat at least 3 times longer than their leg span. Locking caps that are not netted are essential, as moving lids can cause damage to tarantulas, and their feet can easily get caught in the netting.
You should also place a 3½-inch “hide” or shelter in your tank. You can buy one from Chewy or punch a hole through a small, upside-down flowerpot.
Due to its tendency to dig, you will need at least 4 inches of substrate (such as peat moss) at the bottom of your tank. It can stay dry as this tarantula is used to dry desert conditions. You can moisten the substrate once a week, then let it dry.
Keep your tarantula at an ambient temperature of 68-72 degrees F, about the same temperature as a comfortable home. For this reason, the enclosure does not require heating lamps. If you’re concerned about your home’s temperature dropping below that, keep a portable heater nearby that will turn on if it gets too cold.
Are Arizona’s Blond Desert Tarantula Friendly to Other Pets?
Each tarantula species must live alone, one for each habitat, unless you try to breed it. They should not be housed together as they tend to be cannibals; they have been known to kill and eat each other.
Tarantulas, including the Arizona blonde, are unlikely to be “friendly” with other pets, such as dogs or cats, because they tend to see them as a threat rather than a playmate. This means tarantulas tend to sting when forced to interact with other animals or flee.
What Feeds Your Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantula?
Spiders may eat the legs of crickets, confused flour beetles, or small crickets that have been killed twice a week. When they get bigger, you can feed them small live crickets or cockroaches. Juvenile tarantulas can be fed up to 2 medium-sized crickets per week, while adults can eat one more than that (3) per week.
Also, make sure fresh water is always available for your tarantula in a small dish.
Most of the time, this Arizona blonde tarantula is caught in the wild. This is because Arizona blonde males only breed once in their life.
If you choose to breed these tarantulas, you must first ensure that they are mature enough to breed. Keep in mind that this can take years to happen. Males mature when they stop molting, but females molt for the rest of their lives.
After two adult tarantulas mate, separate the male and female immediately. When closed together, the female will try to eat the male after mating. When you see the shape of the egg sack on the female, you can remove it and put her in her own tank to incubate the eggs.
Is the Arizona Blonde Desert Tarantula Right for You?
Tarantulas are great pets for people who want something easy to care for, long-lived and stays in the tank. Arizona blondes also don’t require special heating elements, as long as your home is at a comfortable temperature, making them easier to maintain. However, if you want something to deal with frequently, the Arizona blonde may not be for you.
Featured Image Credit: Ryan M. Bolton, Shutterstock